Charles Darwin began life baptized as an Anglican and very much influenced by his mother’s religious view Unitarianism. As he grew up he came to view himself as becoming a country clergyman. He came to accept after much careful reading of contemporary books on divinity that the Bible was the literal truth, and that it must be spread and fully accepted.
The events that led to Charles Darwin’s departure from faith began with the departure of the H. M. S. Beagle from Plymouth Harbor in December of 1831. During this voyage he meticulously kept notes of each day’s visits and his observations of animal and plant life, despite recurring bouts of illnesses, from which he would suffer the rest of his life. It was during this voyage that he also read Charles Lyell’s “Principles of Geology” which presented the concept of an old Earth in direct contradiction to Biblical teachings. Charles Darwin later credited Charles Lyell as his impetus for all his endeavors in science.
As a result of his readings Darwin came to view the Old Testament as no more reliable than the beliefs of any barbarian. When he began to write up his scientific investigations he faced a choice: he could either present them in a fashion to support Genesis, or in terms of naturalism (undirected natural causes are solely responsible for the origin and development of life), consistent with Charles Lyell’s old Earth theory. The result of his decision led to Darwin’s “Origin of the Species”.
Eventually, as the result of his increased understanding and acceptance of science, he came to disbelieve in the divinity and doctrine of Christianity. This was neither a quick nor easy journey for Darwin, and it left him devastated.
There have been many attempts to invalidate Evolutionary Theory. Many of these attempts originated from those who would prefer to believe the story of Genesis in the Bible. Darwin’s theory has withstood the test of time in the 150 plus years since it’s publication. “Indeed, many scientific advances, in a range of scientific disciplines including physics, geology, chemistry, and molecular biology, have supported, refined, and expanded evolutionary theory far beyond anything Darwin could have imagined.” Attempts to invalidate Darwin’s work even pursued him to his grave, as many claimed he made a deathbed conversion. There is no proof that such a conversion ever occurred, on the contrary there is much evidence to the contrary.
Born on the 12th of February of 1809 Darwin made an impact of immeasurable importance to science. His impact was not so much the originality of his work, there were others who also envisioned evolution. Darwin’s work is exceptional because of the evidence he presented as a result of his observations. This vision of a dynamic world of evolving organisms is why this man’s birthdate should be revered.
As has been said “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution”.