Meet Darwin "I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother, and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine."
- Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin (February 12, 1809-April 19, 1882) is one of the most influential men of the last one thousand years. His Theory of Evolution not only influenced the way many scientists interpret man and the universe, but launched a social revolution which served to justify various forms of racism, eugenics, abortion, population control, Marxism, and atheism.
Though he began as a medical student and later a student of divinity at the university, Darwin would eventually reject the authority of Scripture, and ultimately Christianity itself, in exchange for his own reliance on the supremacy of human reason. His journey from professed Christianity to a rejection of the Gospel and acceptance of a faith in scientism, followed a path of many years which was at first influenced by the natural theology of his day, later by his observations in the field, and later still by his own bitterness over the death of his ten-year-old daughter Annie. By the end of his life, Darwin viewed the message of the Gospel as a "damnable doctrine." Contrary to the claims of some "urban legends," there is no evidence that Darwin converted before his death.
Darwin entered the University of Cambridge with the goal of studying for the clergy. As a student of divinity, he was immersed in "natural theology", a popular nineteenth-century religious philosophy that separated the moral teachings of Scripture from the historical and scientific testimonies of Holy Writ. Many of Darwin's professors hoped to retain a vestige of Christian morality in their doctrine while simultaneously rejecting the authority of Scripture, especially its account of origins. At seminary, Darwin's growing distrust for the Genesis account of origins was encouraged, and he was directed to various scientific theories which taught that the earth was millions of years old, that the Genesis Flood was a myth, and that earth history was really the result of gradual uniformitarian processes over vast periods of time.
Although he had no formal scientific training, Darwin was recommended to Captain Robert Fitzroy as the ship's naturalist and as an able companion for the two-year journey of the H.M.S. Beagle around the world. Darwin had never been trained as a scientist and, while on the Galapagos Islands, he botched his efforts to properly identify and catalog the birds he collected for scientific investigation. It would be left for trained scientists years later to decipher and to help Darwin interpret what he had discovered.
But it was during Darwin's voyage aboard the H.M.S. Beagle to the mysterious islands of the Galapagos that he began to formulate his theory of origins by evolution through natural selection. Darwin kept many of his views private for two decades, after which he wrote what would become his celebrated magnum opus, On the Origin of Species, published one hundred and fifty years ago. In this book, Darwin said nothing of human origins. He was keenly aware that to do so would invite harsh criticism; so he waited for the scientific community to embrace his views on general evolution before launching his book The Descent of Man in 1871.
During his journey to the Galapagos, Darwin prefaced his research with a false dichotomy: If the Bible is true, why would God create kinds of animals in remote locations of the earth which look similar to but are not exactly the same as animals in other locations? Perhaps a more reasonable explanation, Darwin concluded, was that God never created separate kinds, but that life forms evolved from common ancestors.
Today, Creationists point out that Darwin's dilemma was based on a straw-man: the idea that the Bible taught that God created animals like finches and placed them on islands like the Galapagos where they remained permanently fixed. Instead, the Bible taught that all land animals and birds on the earth today are offspring of the handful that survived the Genesis Flood. These animals dispersed throughout the world. Consistent with the rich potential for variation within each kind that God had designed within the animals, many adapted, changed, and formed new species within the same original kinds.
Darwin died in 1882, but his theories have lived on, forming the foundation of the humanist and modern worldview popularized in the twentieth century. Darwin would directly, in the case of men like Thomas Huxley, and indirectly, in the case of others, disciple a new breed of agnostic and atheist scientists and social theoreticians intent on removing the revelation of the Creator from the study of the creation. His theory would become a significant influence in the thinking of individuals ranging from Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, to Adolf Hitler, whose "final solution" justified mass genocide on the grounds of Darwinian social theory.