Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Victorian Beliefs :: Free Essays Online
puritanical BeliefsIf I am asked whether I would choose to be descended from the poor animal of low intelligence and stooping gait who grins and chatters as we pass, or from a man endowed with great ability and a splendid position who should use these gifts to discredit and crush humble seekers aft(prenominal) truth, I hesitate what answer to make. Thomas Henry Huxley, 1860 (Cruse 94)As colligate by Amy Cruse in The Victorians and Their Reading, these words by Thomas Henry Huxley served as a witty retort to the degrading comments of Darwins foes. When examined closely, however, Huxleys statement can be recognized as a examination of paramount importance-- a question that defines the core of the Victorian world. Neatly engraved between the lines of Huxleys reply lies the takings of doctrine. Huxleys belief in the pursuit of truth is evident, as is his belief regarding those who would thwart such a humble pursuit. Less evident, but nonetheless present, atomic number 18 the echoe s of other important Victorian principles. As exemplified by Huxleys mention of apes, Darwins belief in The innovation of Species was a vitally important aspect of Victorian thought. Traditional concerns, most notably religious conservatism, were inextricably linked to the revolutionist ideals of Victorian science. Interestingly, the dueling beliefs in science and religion were not necessarily diametrically opposed. Instead, both the pursuits of science and religion challenged Victorians to examine their beliefs regarding the natural world, God, and the meaning of their give birth humanity. I see no good reason why the views granted in this volume should shock the religious feelings of anyone, claimed Charles Darwin in reference to The Origin of Species(Hart 1). Despite Darwins protestations of theological benignity, however, many Victorians were indeed shocked by the idea of evolution. Cardinal Manning, speaking for the Roman Catholic populous of England, for instance, denounce dDarwins hypothesis of evolution as a brutal philosophyto wit, there is no God, and the ape is our Adam(Cruse 95). Similarly, Bishop Wilberforce, at an 1860 meeting of the British Association, ridiculed T. H. Huxley about his gillyflower (94). In open contempt of The Origin of Species, Wilberforce asked Huxley, whether it was through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed descent from a venerable ape?(94). The ideas contained at bottom the covers of The Origin of Species clearly challenged the beliefs of many Victorian Christians. Contrary to the protestations of Cardinal Manning and Bishop Wilberforce, however, Darwin viewed the theory of evolution as theologically sound.