Conservation a Sacred Duty: Julian Huxley

In 1957 Julian Huxley supported conservationism in these words: “The enjoyment of the beauty and strange variety of the natural world …is one of the indispensable modes of human fulfillment …involving something essentially religious or sacred…To exterminate a living species, be it lion or lammergeier, to desecrate the landscape, to wipe out wildflowers or birds over great tracts of country, is to diminish the wonder, the interest, and the beauty of nature”:

New Bottles for New Wine


A Definition of Religion

In the current debate over the federal government’s proposed freedom of religion bill, people have been asking “how do you even define religion?”.

Here is Julian Huxley’s definition, proposed in 1924:

“Religion is the response of human personality to the outer universe of experience”.

Observers at the time liked this definition. The “Dismal Dean”of St Pauls, W. R. Inge, pronounced it to be one of the best he knew. It may be too wise and inclusive for lawyers and politicians!

Humans in an Alien Universe?

In 1923 the famous biologist Julian Huxley wrote of humans and their hopes that they did not stand isolated, “a feeble candle flickering with pathetic bravado in the midst of an appalling and alien universe, but are the culmination and condensation of a long age of travail that has gone before. Here biology becomes of profound importance to religion, for here it gives to man firm ground for his faith, and tangible assurance that the belief which is in him is not in vain, not mere delusion”

“The Outlook in Biology”, 1923.