Darwin’s shift to atheism was gradual, peaceful, and imperturbable. He quoted, “Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct." For the remainder of his life, he managed to maintain confidence in his religious views, while also maintaining confidence in his marital love. However, written records show that it was not a passive issue between Charles and Emma. Upon realizing that her husband had become fully atheistic, Emma sent a letter which within stated, “May not the habit of scientific pursuits of believing nothing till it is proved, influence your mind too much in other things which cannot be proved in the same way, and which if true are likely to be above our comprehension." Emma seems to be begging her husband not to turn against their faith, and though Charles never doubted his own atheistic views, it is clear that he struggled with their differing opinions. In response to his wife’s letter, Charles stated, “When I am dead, know that many times, I have kissed and cried over this.”
Therefore, it should be noted that Charles Darwin was not invincible to the marital strains (experienced by many in society) resulting from contrasting views on religion.
It should also be noted that this situation could represent the sacrifices that a man in the Victorian era would have been required to make in the name of science.
*All quotes from: Barlow Nora, The Autobiography of Darwin Charles, 1809-1882, WW Norton & Company, New York 1958