Archive for the ‘George Eliot’ Category

George Eliot’s Deconversion

July 25, 2009

In 1838, aged 19, George Eliot wrote to her evangelical governess about her hero Wilberforce and prayed: “Oh that I might be made as useful in my lowly and obscure station as he was in the exalted one assigned to him.”

In another letter she confessed that she would not be sorry if the only music she ever heard again was the music of church worship.

Three years later she rejected Christianity in a conversion which was almost as cataclymic as those which had brought others to vital religion…Her overriding objection to it was that by emphasising the will and acts of an omnipotent deity, it extinguished the possibilities of human love and service…(she went on) ‘trying to lead a selfless and moral life without divine assistance.

Ian Bradley, The Call to Seriousness, p.19