RECORD: Anon. 1882. Darwin's religion. The Narracoorte Herald (15 December): 3.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe. RN1

NOTE: See the record for this item in the Freeman Bibliographical Database by entering its Identifier here. In almost all the many contemporary and later reprints of this letter, the name of the recipient, N. D. Doedes was omitted.

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DARWIN'S RELIGION. —The "religious" papers, and to a lesser extent the secular press, in England continue the controversy about Mr. Charles Darwin's religion. One publishes the following letter which was written by the illustrious naturalist in 1873 to Mr. N. D. Doedes, a Dutch gentlemen: "It is impossible to answer your question briefly; I am not sure that I can do so, even if I wrote at some length. But I may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me our chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide. I am aware that if we admit a first cause the mind still craves to know whence it came and how it arose. Nor can I overlook the difficulty from the immense amount of suffering through the world. I am, also, induced to defer to a certain extent to the judgment of the many able men who have fully believed in God; but, here again, I see how poor an argument this is. The safest conclusion seems to be, that the whole subject is beyond the scope of man's intellect; but man can do his duty."

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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

File last updated 25 September, 2022