by William E. Phipps
Trinity Press International, 2002
Phipps relies on Darwin’s own journals and correspondence to depict his “circuitous journey of faith.”
“Anti-evolutionary writers tend to depict Charles Darwin as a godless infidel who was bent on disproving biblical events and supplanting religion with a new god-science. But in Darwin’s Religious Odyssey, philosophy professor William Phipps takes great pains to demonstrate that Darwin’s religious worldview, well, evolved; he began as an orthodox Anglican priest-in-training and wound up as a self-tortured but not irreligious skeptic. The book’s greatest strength is its reliance on Darwin’s own journals and correspondence to depict his “circuitous journey of faith.” One 1860s letter shows the naturalist’s dilemma: ‘With respect to the theological view of the question: this is always painful to me. I am bewildered. I had no intention to write atheistically. But I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world…. On the other hand, I cannot anyhow be contented to view this wonderful universe and especially the nature of man, and to conclude that everything is the result of brute force.'”
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