Charles Darwin would be turning over in his grave.
(If that is where he still is.)
The National Catholic Register reports Laura Keynes — great-great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin — is now attending the Catholic church. She has even gone a step further and joined Catholic Voices which defends the Catholic church in the media.
Laura is not only a direct descendant of Darwin, but also has John Maynard Keynes (a famous economist) as a great-great uncle. Keeping with the family education tradition, Laura has a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford.
However, Laura’s return to church clearly breaks with another long-established family tradition rooted in their great-great-great grandfather’s theory man evolved from apes.
What caused Laura to turn to God?
Laura’s return to God was a journey and there were a number of factors at work. Here are a couple things that guided her journey:
While Laura was attending University, the “God debate” — led by atheist John Dawkins — was in full swing. Laura read materials on both sides of the debate, fully expecting to move from her then agnostic position to that of a full-blown atheist. Instead, the debate moved her towards God, as she saw a convincing intellectual position for God’s existence.
Secondly, she saw something disturbing in the atheist movement. In an interview with the National Catholic Register, she said:
“One of the things that made me wary of ‘new atheism’ was the strange mix of angry emotion I encountered there: anger at the thought of God; anger at any restrictions on behavior; anger at thwarted will; pride in the exertion of will; pride in feeling intellectually superior; contempt for anyone who reveals human vulnerability in asking for the grace of God. It’s important to remember that where there’s anger, there’s often pain. I see a lot of pain there. I think it stems from clinging to the idea that we’re in control, that we have autonomy.”
Her family’s reaction
Not surprisingly there has been a reaction among family and friends on her return to church. Most can’t believe she did it and some try to engage her in arguments on the existence of God. In an interview with the Catholic Herald, she recalled overhearing family members discussing her conversion and one said, “But she seemed like such an intelligent girl.”
Well with a doctorate in philosophy she was and by turning to God she is.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10 NASV)
- If only Charles Darwin could see his descendants now: National Catholic Register
- Descendant of Charles Darwin becomes a Catholic apologist: Catholic Herald