A handwritten letter in which English naturalist Charles Darwin confesses that he does not believe in Bible as a divine revelation or Jesus Christ as the son of God has fetched a whopping $197,000 at an auction here.
The letter which went under the hammer at Bonhams on September 21 sold for $197,000 — more than twice its estimate of $90,000. The subject of Darwin’s religiosity had long been a cause of vehement debate.
Darwin himself largely refrained from public comment, probably to respect the feelings of his friends and family.
Darwin’s letter is a reply to a young barrister named Francis McDermott. McDermott wrote to Darwin on November 23, 1880, with an unusual request. “If I am to have pleasure in reading your books I must feel that at the end I shall not have lost my faith in the New Testament,” he wrote.
“My reason in writing to you therefore is to ask you to give me a Yes or No to the question Do you believe in the New Testament...” McDermott wrote. McDermott continues by promising not to publicise Darwin’s reply in the “theological papers”.