We know that Charles Darwin slowly changed from being religious to agnostic as a result of his research into how species originated. In an interview, Antony Thomas, the 73-year old British filmmaker who produced the documentary Questioning Darwin that looked at the worldview of creationists, says that during the making of the film, he too changed his views from believer to agnostic.
Thomas, who describes himself — as Darwin did — as an agnostic, said 20 years ago he prayed every day. But during the two years he shot the film, his exploration of Darwin’s diaries and personal correspondence, in which he spelled out his movement away from belief in a loving God, caused him to shift, too.
During his five years aboard HMS Beagle — a voyage that laid the groundwork for “On the Origin of Species,” his masterpiece on his theory of evolution — Darwin confronted, for the first time, the problem of reconciling suffering and death with the Christian idea of a benevolent, all-powerful, all-knowing God.
“I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us,” Darwin wrote in a letter. “There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae (wasp) with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice.”
Thomas said he has come to the same conclusion. “How could this be possible if we also have the idea of a loving creator?” he said. “That is really how I feel about things.”
Thomas says that in pursuing his portrayal of creationists, he did find himself in agreement with them on one point.
Yet in a twist, Thomas has come to identify with some of the creationists in his film. They, he said — like Darwin — realized they could not reconcile the randomness and cruelty of millions of years of evolution and survival of the fittest with the God of Genesis. But unlike Darwin and Thomas, they choose God over evolution.
A belief in both god and evolution by natural selection are incompatible and forces one to choose one or the other. Creationists choose god whatever the evidence might say. As one person in the film says, if the Bible should happen to say that 2+2=5, he will believe that and try to work everything else around it.