While many people assumed Charles Darwin to be an atheist or agnostic, a letter has surfaced, and been confirmed, documenting Darwin’s beliefs.
A young barrister named Francis McDermott wrote to Darwin on November 23, 1880, with a very unusual request: “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.” McDermott promised never to publicize Darwin’s reply in “theological papers.”
The next day Darwin responded: “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.”
McDermott kept his word. He never published the letter. It now has surfaced, however, and been confirmed as authentic.