Tapestry of Faith: Faith Like a River: A Program on Unitarian Universalist History for Adults

Alternate Activity 2: Heritage of Heresy - Bisbee and Tuttle on the Universalist Frontier

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Queue the four-part video Heritage of Heresy.
  • Test computer equipment, projector and speakers.

Description of Activity

Give this background information, by reading it aloud or paraphrasing:

When Charles Darwin published his Origin of the Species in 1859, it set off a firestorm in religious circles as the idea of direct, Divine creation was challenged by theories of evolution by natural selection. The initial response from both Universalists and Unitarians was negative, but by the turn of the twentieth century sympathy was growing for the idea-as historian Ernest Cassara writes, even a "joyful acceptance."

Watch the videos about the debate between Herman Bisbee and James Tuttle concerning the validity of Darwin's theory and of the Bible as sources of religious truth. After watching, invite questions and comment.