…Moreover, men were beginning to have some understanding of the complex interactions in nature, of the contribution to the animal and vegetable “balance” of even the noxious and disagreeable. To pursue in any detail the pleasing evidences of divine purpose and harmony in the Newtonian heavens required some rather abstruse mathematics; to trace the same evidences in each leaf, stamen and insect was well within the scope of any country clergyman with a pair of good legs and a collecting basket. To follow the workings of nature was to explore the mind of its Creator and to receive renewed assurances of His benevolence. The proudly displayed “collection” was almost the equivalent of a Bible laid open on a table. God was sought, not in mystical exercises in one’s chamber- that would have been “enthusiasm,” which was both morbid and ungentlemanly- but at the bottoms of ponds and in the middle of hedges.
“Natural Theology,” as it was called, was the mainstay of Rational Christianity. Natural history became something of a craze in the first half of the nineteenth-century and works on it outsold popular novels. When The Origin of Species appeared in 1859, it went quickly through three editions and found a readership which, despite the many vulgar errors that grew up about what Darwin had said, was far better prepared, both by the trend of contemporary theology and by the taste for natural history, to appreciate arguments relating to the nature of species, plant life, and animal behavior, and also the effects of selective breeding, than the reading public would be today. Bug hunting was the Trojan Horse of Victorian agnosticism.
(see link at end)…In Himmler’s Crusade: The Nazi Expedition to Find the Origins of the Aryan Race (Wiley, 2003), Christopher Hale writes of how Darwin, who had no interest in the occult, had a powerful impact on its development and was revered by Madame Blavatsky who claimed to have translated his works in Russian while in Africa. Not true, but Darwin’s ideas which had so dismayed the Church when they first appeared, were rapidly absorbed by occult thinkers.” Hale notes how Hitler’s confidants, Nazi occultists Heinrich Himmler and Rudolf Hess, combined an “interest in Social Darwinism” with their “bogus history of an Aryan Master Race.”
In Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement with the Occult (Continuum, 2002), Peter Levenda likewise credits Madame Blavatsky:
Taking her cue from Darwin, she popularized the notion of a spiritual struggle between various “races,” and of the inherent superiority of the “Aryan” race, hypothetically the latest in the line of spiritual evolution….The rationale behind many later Nazi projects can be traced back — through the writing of von List, von Sebottendorff, and von Liebenfels — to ideas popularized by Blavatsky. He crystallizes the point: “Human evolution is Darwin’s engine, one Blavatsky would ride to the end of the line. In a sense, Origin of Species and The Descent of Man launched the craziness of the 20th century.”
Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/kingdomofpriests/2010/03/darwin-at-the-mountains-of-madness-evolution-the-occult.html#ixzz2Ekf2UwLM