Hardy lived a great part of his life in the 19th century. That was an age where the development of Darwin's theory of species had shaken the faith and belief in God of many Christians. As a result, new materialistic and atheist ideas were developed supporting the ideas of Darwin in denying the role of God in the process of Creation. Indeed, the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species swept over England as a flood that paved the way for many liberal thinkers who rejected traditional religion in favour of materialism. Such developments placed religion as one of the most significant variables in 19th century English life.
In literature, religion and religious debates contributed significantly to the thematic formation of 19th century
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Eliot and many other writers, often called Victorian Radicals, expressed in their novels the rejection of supernatural elements of Christian belief and the Day of Judgment and argued that the hereafter can never be a justification for present sufferings (Oulton, 2002). Interestingly, such novelists replaced many of the established Christian beliefs with alternative ones which are liberal. One obvious example is the replacement of Christian immortality with subjective immortality. Radical novelists of the 19th century canvassed the idea that a man is redeemed for the good deeds he does in his life by retaining a good image in the memory of his friends after his death, as against the traditional belief of Christians in an immortal life after death. In the same way, many Radical novelists replaced the Christian belief in Paradise as a final resort for people who do good deeds in their life, with material success. These two examples are quite marked in the novels of Thomas Hardy, George Eliot, and many others.
Many novelists and writers, on the other hand, took on the burden of proving the existence of God. Some of them were liberal thinkers who tried to reconcile the scientific advances of the age and their traditional Christian beliefs. They believed in the power of the novel as an effective means for providing religious