Charles Darwin saw agreement between religions as adding credibility to Faith!
Late in his life Darwin was encouraged to write up a biographical record about the course of his life and the development of his
ideas. Darwin agreed to this
suggestion and the opening paragraph of the resulting Autobiography
reveals something of Darwin's frame of mind at the time of writing:-
A German editor having written to me to ask for an account
of the development of my mind and character with some sketch of
my autobiography, I have thought that the attempt would amuse me,
and might possibly interest my children or their children. I know
that it would have interested me greatly to have read even so
short and dull a sketch of the mind of my grandfather written by
himself, and what he thought and did and how he worked. I have
attempted to write the following account of myself, as if I were
a dead man in another world looking back at my own life. Nor I
have I found that difficult, for life is nearly over with me. I
have taken no pains about my style of writing.
The Faith versus Reason Debate
Darwin's Autobiography as first published in 1887, five years after Darwin's death, had been edited by one of his sons in efforts to
protect family respectability to exclude
certain passages principally relating to God.
Darwin on God and Religious Beliefs
The original version actually contains a section
explicity devoted to a consideration of Religious Beliefs which
contains the following sentences:-
At present the most usual argument for the existence of an
intelligent God is drawn from deep inward conviction and feelings
which are experienced by most persons. But it cannot be doubted that Hindoos, Mahomadans and others might
argue in the same manner and with equal force in favour of the existence of one God, or of many Gods, or
as with the Buddhists of no God....
Formerly I was led by feelings such as those just referred to, (although I do not think that the religious sentiment
was ever strongly developed in me), to the firm conviction of the existence of God, and of the immortality of the
...This argument would be a valid one, if all men of all
races had the same inward conviction of the existence of one God;
but we know this is very far from being the case. Therefore I
cannot see that such inward convictions and feelings are of any
weight as evidence of what really exists....
Thus the founding figure of Darwinism and Modern Evolutionary Theory conceded that
agreement between Faiths has a decided relevance in terms of making Faith more credible!
Thomas Henry Huxley, was an eminent scientific contemporary of Charles Darwin
who accepted the broad evolutionary direction of
Darwin's theories to the point of becoming a far more strident champion than
Darwin himself of the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection and is known to posterity as having been "Darwin's Bulldog".
The descendants of Thomas Henry Huxley have had a noteable
record of achievement. One of his grand children, Julian Huxley, became the first Director-General of
the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation - (UNESCO).
Aldous Huxley, brother to Julian Huxley, is perhaps best known for his futuristic novel "Brave New World" but
he also investigated into the range of agreement between the teachings of the major World Religions!
In a celebrated book entitled "The Perennial Philosophy", (first published in 1945 and continuously in print thereafter), where
such agreement between the Faiths of Mankind was considered Aldous Huxley wrote:-
..."the nature of this one Reality is such that it cannot be directly or immediately apprehended except by those who have chosen to fulfill certain conditions, making themselves loving,
pure in heart, and poor in spirit."...
[The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley, page 7].
Aldous Huxley &
Many commentators, (including Aldous Huxley), have claimed to have discerned a "Perennial Philosophy" of central agreement about "Divine Truths" between
the Great Religions of the World across the ages!!!
The Perennial Philosophy
More than twenty-five centuries have passed since that which has been called the Perennial Philosophy was first committed to writing;
and in the course of those centuries it has found expression, now partial, now complete, now in this form, now in that, again and again...
...the Perennial Philosophy has spoken almost all the languages of Asia and Europe and has made use of the terminology and traditions of every one of the higher religions. But under all this confusion of tongues and myths, of local histories and particularist doctrines, there remains a Highest Common Factor, which is the Perennial Philosophy in what may be called its chemically pure state...
[Taken from an introduction, written in 1944 by Aldous Huxley, to an English language translation of the
Bhagavad-Gita, or Song of God, which is the principal holy book of the Hindu faith].
Wisdom Quotes from Christian Sources
A selection of wisdom quotes that demonstrate the profound depth of the insights that are recognised
by Christian authorities
are set out below. They are sourced from the Bible and
also from the works of Thomas a Kempis whose "Of the Imitation of Christ" ranks as the second
most widely read Christian text after the Bible itself.
- A Disdain for Materialism
Some have Me in their mouths, but little in their
There are others who, being enlightened in their understanding
and purified in their affection, always breathe after things
eternal, are unwilling to hear of earthly things, and grieve to
be subject to the necessities of nature; and such as these
perceive what the Spirit of Truth speaketh in them.
For it teacheth them to despise the things of the earth and to
love heavenly things; to disregard the world, and all the day and
night to aspire after heaven.
Thomas a Kempis
- A Distrust of Intellect
- Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain
deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the
world, and not after Christ.
- Spiritual Insights are possible!
- It is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have
entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared
for them that love him. But God has revealed them unto us by his
Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things
...the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of
God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them,
because they are spiritually discerned.
- Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and
every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that
loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
- Purity of Heart
- Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my
presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own
salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in
you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things
without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and
harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a
crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the
- Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even
Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
And whomsoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that
shall humble himself shall be exalted.
- Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear,
slow to speak, and slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh
not the righteousness of God.
Wisdom Quotes from Inter-Faith Sources
These spiritual insights quotations demonstrate the recognition of individual important Spiritual
one of the world religions in the case of each "Truth":-
- A Disdain for Materialism
- Chuang Tzu put on cotton clothes with patches in them, and
arranging his girdle and tying on his shoes,
(i.e. to keep them from falling off),
went to see the prince of Wei.
"How miserable you look, Sir!" Cried the prince. "It is poverty,
not misery", replied Chuang Tzu. "A man who has TAO cannot be
miserable. Ragged clothes and old boots make poverty, not
Chuang Tzu - (Taoism)
- A Distrust of Intellect
- Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment; Cleverness is mere
opinion, bewilderment intuition.
Rumi - (Islam)
- Spiritual Insights are possible!
- This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye
henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of
their mind. Having the understanding darkened, being alienated
from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them,
because of the blindness of their heart:
St. Paul - (Christianity)
- He that does everything for Me, whose supreme object I am, who
worships Me, being free from attachment and without hatred to any
creature, this man, Arjuna!, comes to Me.
Bhagavad Gita - (Hinduism)
- Purity of Heart
- The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more
and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as
darkness: they know not at what they stumble.
Solomon - (Judaism)
- Would you become a pilgrim on the road of love? The first
condition is that you make yourself humble as dust and ashes.
Ansari of Herat - (Islam)
- Let a man overcome anger by love, let him overcome evil by good;
let him overcome the greedy by liberality, the liar by truth!
Speak the truth, do not yield to anger; give, if thou art asked
for little; by these three steps thou wilt go near the gods.
Dhammapada - (Buddhism)
By all accounts Charles Darwin was inclined to shy away from controversy but nevertheless pursued his
idea of evolution privately with quiet determination. In this regard he mixed with farmers and pigeon-fanciers whilst
maintaining a wide correspondence with those involved in the science of Natural History and in the collection of
biological specimens in the far-flung corners of the Earth.
This seems to mark him out as being both open-minded and approachable and, if Charles Darwin were alive today, we at Age-of-the-Sage
would be urgently seeking to interest him
in our discovery of an extensive range of close agreement between the
Core Spiritual Teachings of ALL the major World Religions.
The current availability of sympathetic translations of World Faith texts allows deeper studies into Comparative Religion to
be undertaken than was perhaps possible in Darwin's day.
The fact that there is such close agreement in
Innermost Spiritual Teachings between the Major World Religions must surely have a bearing on the Faith vs Reason Debate lending credence to the
saying "God is One: Religions many" depite the general erosion in religious beliefs and the lessening of
acceptance of the Existence of any God that has occured, particularly in the "West", since the
appearance of Darwin's "The Origin of Species".
We feel justified in maintaining that our collection of Spiritual Insights Quotations - showing as it does extensive agreement
in relation to core spiritual truths between the major world religions - has a particular claim to public
attention in relation to the Faith versus Reason Debate!
Please click on
these links to review
quotations about "Central" Spiritual Insights
drawn from sources as indicated :-
There may well be other faiths (not least Sikhism) that
should properly be included in any definitive consideration of
Mysticism in World Religions !!!