When he was a child, his runs to church brought about this comment in his journal
"I often had to run very quickly to be on time, and from being a fleet runner was generally successful; but when in doubt I prayed earnestly to God to help me, and I well remember that I attributed my success to the prayers and not to my quick running, and marvelled how generally I was aided."
Later, at the thought more about being a clergy, these conclusions were drawn
"I liked the thought of being a country clergyman. Accordingly I read with care Pearson on the Creed and a few other books on divinity; and as I did not then in the least doubt the strict and literal truth of every word in the Bible, I soon persuaded myself that our Creed must be fully accepted."
His use of "persuasion" and not logic (though I would personally say I believe the Bible is to be taken literally in It's doctrines, and can withstand and uphold all logic) must not have built the foundation for his later awakening to the realization that he did not see how there could be a god. He knew not, but disillusioned himself.
In his studies at Christ's Church in Cambridge, these too he readily confessed
“I could have written out the whole of the 'Evidences' with perfect correctness, but not of course in the clear language of Paley,” and, “I do not think I hardly ever admired a book more than Paley's 'Natural Theology.' I could almost formerly have said it by heart.”
In a letter of condolence to a friend, he wrote of
“so pure and holy a comfort as the Bible affords,” opposed to “how useless the sympathy of all friends must appear.”
“I can hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so, the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother, and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.”
Because of his later writing, he must have either not understood the core of Christian belief in the first place, or forgotten it. Any slightly educated Christian or Religious theologists would know that this description of Christianity as a whole is an argument upon opinion, and not that of examining what the faith stands for, then contradicting with his belief otherwise.
....This argument would be a valid one, if all men of all races had the same inward conviction of the existence of one God; but we know this is very far from being the case. Therefore I cannot see that such inward convictions and feelings are of any weight as evidence of what really exists...."
His statement that "...this argument would be a valid one, if all men of all races had the same inward conviction of the existence of one God; but we know this is very far from being the case. Therefore I cannot see that such inward convictions and feelings are of any weight as evidence of what really exists...." is a valid one. However, he is using a very general sense of "we know this very far from the case" is not. We also see that his observation of the whole human race may be quite lacking. We see that all humans have the same cravings, and same diversity. We look for love and acceptance, have a general knowledge of good and evil, and all choose to worship something. Whether ourselves, another human, nature, other objects or places, or simply the unknown. Either we all worship a "god", or we go into self-denial, as recorded by today's phsycologists, and exhibit un-natural symptoms. We see this throughout history. Perhaps Darwin misperceived.
Merriam Websters online dictionary, top line, describes "god" as "the supreme or ultimate reality". Going on to the others.
a : 1: The Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe b Christian Science : the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind
2: a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically : one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality
3: a person or thing of supreme value
4: a powerful ruler
We see that Darwin may be relating to any one of these descriptions. The Grecian and Roman gods were not all-powerful. These gods were a conglomeration of those of the nations around them, and openly fabricated myths and fantastic stories of imagination and perversity, closely tied to mankind's own fantastic fantasies and perversity. Could he mean this kind of "god", or all "gods" in general?
Now we see that this story of this "ape" man, Darwin can either be a gigantic triumph for "humanity", who had formerly believed in an absolute truth and a standard of morality (a subject in which Darwin constantly contradicted himself), or a tragic diversion from the truth which has misguided and disfigured the world. Now to choose...
More to come... "The bottom line - all or nothing"
Other resources include