On April 26, 1882, a four-horse funeral carriage carried Charles Darwin to Westminster Abbey in London. Darwin lies just a few feet from the burial place of Sir Isaac Newton in an area of the Abbey known as Scientists’ Corner. Emma, his wife, refused to attend the funeral activities planned by Parlimentary decree.
Like Westminster Abbey, Darwin beliefs changed over his lifetime. Four-years before his death in 1878, when challenged by a sermon published by the popular theologian E. B. Pusey, Darwin responded in a letter to N.H. Ridley: “Many years ago, when I was collecting facts for the ‘Origin’, my belief in what is called a personal God was as firm as that of Dr. Pusey himself.” Notice Darwin’s verb choice in the sentence: “was” not “is”.
Even though christened as a child at the Church of St Chad’s, graduated from Christ’s College of Cambridge University, and buried at Westminster Abbey, Darwin is thought of as an agnostic today based on his own words. In his autobiography, Darwin wrote – “The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic.”