Darwins and Unitarians

From Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith

pages 18-19

In only one area did he (Charles’ father) allow [the children]some amount of leeway, and that was in religion. He raised the children as Unitarians. Unitarianism was a lenient Christian faith at the center of social reform in England. It was not very demanding about the specifics of belief. Charles’ grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, had made fun of Unitarianism, saying it was a “featherbed to catch a falling Christian.” Dr. Darwin liked to quote that saying, too. But being a Unitarian was good for many reasons. Unitarians did not stand out in society as heretics, but the faith was easy to live with if you felt uncomfortable with a more serious, stricter branch of Christianity.

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