Decline Of Religion In The 19th Century

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Outline the origins of Darwinism and its impact on the decline of religion in the 19th century

Charles Darwin’s ideas challenged traditional European views of religion, morality and human behaviours in the 19th century, which advanced society but caused social, political and religious chaos. His theories of evolution by natural selection contradicted the teachings of the church and encouraged us to rethink our place in the world. The idea that humans shared a common ancestor with apes challenged the foundations of Western civilisation and ultimately led to the decline of the power and leverage that the church had held until the 19th century.

Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England. He was fifth of six children in a middleclass family, where
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Darwin also worried that his theory of evolution may encourage radicals like the Chartists who hated the common view that everyone had their place in life, decided by god. In 1837 he outlined ideas of comparative anthropology, which from his knowledge of different religious beliefs around the world as well as at various times in history, and came to the view that scriptures were unreliable and contradictory. Upon this Charles Darwin was not isolated because he built up a group of friends, fellow scientists and breeders known as the Down house network. They helped him gather the body of evidence he needed to support his theory. They were also trusted colleagues to whom he could gradually expose his developing ideas. 1859 saw the publication of the book, which sparked immense controversy; causing uproar among creationists. Darwin’s theory also resonated with various movements at the time and became a key fixture of pop culture, cartoonist’s parodied humans with animal traits. This served to popularise his theories in both threatening and unthreatening
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