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Religion and Spirituality

Despite the claimed reverence for puritan ideals, the Victorian era brought numerous challenges to Christianity, including the growing trends of materialism, rationalism, communism, and "higher criticism" of the Bible. The theory of evolution proposed by Charles Darwin also struck at core truths of Christianity: that man was created by God, created in God's image, and responsible for his sinful actions.

At the same time, the Victorian era produced faithful ministers, missionaries, theologians and authors who upheld Christian truths. For example, Charles Finney, a lawyer turned prominent evangelist of the worldwide revivals of 1824 to 1832, authored a wealth of sermons, theological treatises and hymns during the Victorian period. Charles Spurgeon and D.L. Moody ministered in England and America, leaving a plethora of writings as well. William Booth and his wife Catherine founded the Salvation Army, an organization focused on reaching the neediest of their English society with the hope of Jesus Christ. Victorian missionaries of the era included Amy Carmichael, who left her native England at age 22 for India; David Livingstone, an explorer, cartographer, and abolitionist who served in Africa; George Mueller, a German missionary who devoted his evangelistic ministry to English orphans; and Hudson Taylor, who became the first missionary to China.