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Charles Darwin: A Modern Judas?

Essay by review  •  January 8, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,445 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,087 Views

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Abstract

At one point in Charles Darwin's life he was studying to become a clergyman. This paper will examine the path his life took that led him from belief to disbelief. Where the Bible requires faith to accept some of its teachings, Darwin's fact-seeking, scientific mind took over. Eventually he could only believe what he saw with his eyes and in the end turns his back on God. He became a modern-day Judas.

Bumper stickers can tell you a lot about the owner of the car you're following. One day I was behind a mini van that had two stickers on it. One said "I ? Allah" while the other wanted you to vote in John Kerry as President. From that I deduced that the woman driving was a Muslim and a Democrat. Other bumper stickers tell you what sports team the driver likes or that you're driving too close if you can read their bumper stickers. Just the other day I was behind a car with several bumper stickers that caught my attention: "I bet Jesus would use his turn signals;" "When the rapture happens, can I have your car?"--and in the middle of the back of their car they had this symbol:

From those stickers I deduced that this driver was not a Christian and that he or she had no problem ridiculing Christianity. The fish symbol represents Christianity, but in the mode above it represents evolution. And we have Charles Darwin to thank for that. Darwin, who at one point was working to become a clergyman, turned his back on his faith by going against what the Bible says about the beginning of all life. Was Darwin a modern-day Judas? One who betrayed his faith for a little money or perhaps even for a little notoriety?

An article in the April 15, 2006, Grand Rapids Press says that we should cut Judas some slack because if he didn't betray Jesus then Scripture would not have been fulfilled (Honey, 2006). So for 30 pieces of silver Judas turned Jesus over to be crucified. In the New Testament book of Matthew we find out what happened to Judas after he betrayed Jesus. Starting in verse 3 it says: "he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 'I have sinned,' he said, 'for I have betrayed innocent blood'" Matthew 27:3-4 (New International Version). Then he went and hanged himself. He knew the seriousness of what he had done. Yes, the betrayal had to happen so that Scripture would be fulfilled, as Mr. Honey pointed out in his Grand Rapids Press article, but Judas also paid a price for that betrayal.

What led up to Darwin's betrayal of the Scriptures and God he believed in as a young person? His mother died in 1817 when he was just 8 years old and the following year he was sent to boarding school. However, that boarding school was only a mile from home so he would often run home for visits. In his autobiography he says, "I remember in the early part of my school life that I often had to run very quickly to be in time, and from being a fleet runner was generally successful; but when in doubt I prayed earnestly to God to help me, and I well remember that I attributed my success to the prayers and not to my quick running, and marveled how generally I was aided" (Darwin, 2003).

Darwin's father later sent him to Edinburgh to become a physician. However, that was not Darwin's desire so it was then decided that he should become a clergyman. He liked the idea of becoming a country clergyman and "read with care 'Pearson on the Creed,' and a few other books on divinity; and as I did not then in the least doubt the strict and literal truth of every word in the Bible, I soon persuaded myself that our Creed must be fully accepted" (Darwin, 2003). As he is writing his autobiography in his older years, after penning "Origin of Species", he reflects on this by saying, "Considering how fiercely I have been attacked by the orthodox, it seems ludicrous that I once intended to be a clergymen" (Darwin, 2003).

Darwin had no formal education as a scientist but his fascination with the natural world led him to his own studies. In 1831 he was given the opportunity to begin a voyage around the world as a naturalist on a ship called Beagle. Darwin says "The voyage of the 'Beagle' has been by far the most important event in my life, and has determined my whole career.... I owe to the voyage the first real training or education of my mind" (Darwin, 2003).

In the introduction to "The Origin of Species" Darwin says: "When on board H.M.S. Beagle, as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the inhabitants of South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent. These facts seemed to me to throw some light on the origin of species -- that mystery of mysteries, as it has been called by one of our greatest philosophers" (The Talk.Origins Archive, 2006).

Chris Cosans, in his article "Was Darwin a Creationist?", says that "the Origin gives an account of how species arose, discusses the origins of life itself, and makes literary references to Genesis at frequent intervals. Darwin contrasts his theory with the naпve creationist view that God created each species separately" (Cosans, 2005). Basically what Darwin did was replace God's creation with what he called natural selection. His theory attempted to explain how adaptations in species could happen and how they became in tune with their environment (Wright, 2003).

Martin Gardner gives us insight

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