Howells cast off his Swedenborgian creed in his youth and became a social liberal and a sentimental Theist. We can see this in his poem "Lost Beliefs."
“I'm an Atheist,” says Angier. “I don't believe in God, Gods, Godlets or any sort of higher power beyond the universe itself.... I'm convinced that the world as we see it was shaped by … evolution through natural selection.”