Charles Darwin's God letter set for auction in New York



2015-09-08 09:00:13

A letter written by Charles Darwin concerning his own religious beliefs is heading to auction in New York later this month.

The Bonhams History of Science and Technology auction will include the hand-written letter by Darwin, the celebrated natural biologist whose theory of evolution changed the way we understand life on Earth.

His 1859 book On the Origin of Species offered a scientific theory which was in direct contradiction to the idea of Creationism put forward by the Bible.

The letter on offer at Bonhams was written in direct reply to a letter sent to Darwin in November 1880, by a young barrister named Francis McDermott who posed him a theological question.

He wrote, in part, ""...If I am to have pleasure in reading your books I must feel that at the end I shall not have lost my faith in the New Testament. My reason in writing to you therefore is to ask you to give me a Yes or No to the question Do you believe in the New Testament...."

Darwin's response was swift and to the point:

"Dear Sir,

I am sorry to have to inform you that I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation & therefore not in Jesus Christ as the son of God.

Yours faithfully

Ch. Darwin"

Although he had previously studied theology at University, Darwin had always found himself drawn to science and his curiosity led him aboard the five-year voyage on the HMS Beagle which helped cement his theories of natural selection.

Darwin's religious faith or lack thereof caused controvery throughout his life, and caused him to write "It has ... been always my object to avoid writing on religion, and I have confined myself to science."

The letter on offer was written in confidence, and remained unseen for over a century. Offering a valuable insight into the beliefs of one of history's greatest scientists, the letter is expected to fetch $70,000-$90,000 when it crosses the block on September 21.


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