Rev. Michael Dowd blames anti-science fundamentalists for U.S. inaction on climate crisis
03 | 04 14 16:59
- Pro-science pastor speaks at rallies and churches along cross-country Climate March
- Bestselling Christian author claims that God has been speaking through science for centuries
- Evolutionary evangelist says fundamentalist beliefs will create ‘hell on Earth’
Rev. Michael Dowd, author of the bestselling book Thank God for Evolution and Evolutionary Christianity podcasts, is preaching a prophetic warning at rallies and churches along an eight-month, cross-country Climate March currently underway.
In a fiery new sermon series, Rev. Dowd – a former fundamentalist with degrees from Evangel University and Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (now Palmer Seminary) – confronts anti-science voices within the church who deny climate science and portray environmental protection as anti-Christian.
“Reality is God and evidence is scripture,” preaches Dowd. “Irresponsible ‘end times’ thinking is condemning our children and grandchildren to rising sea levels and a literal hell on Earth. If humanity doesn’t come into right relationship with Reality soon, we will perish.”
According to Dowd, anti-science fundamentalists are “false prophets” who are leading the church and the world astray and “disgracing God and gospel.” Dowd claims that if Jesus were alive today he would “rebuke” the Religious Right for turning its back on Reality and ignoring truth that God has been revealing through science for centuries.
“Nothing could be more Christian than challenging the religious establishment when it is on the wrong side of history and loving future generations enough to put their needs ahead of our own,” proclaims Dowd. “Nothing could be less Christian than condemning our grandchildren to hell and high water.”
According to recent polls, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary 46% of Americans still cling to the idea that we live on a ‘young earth’ and 41% believe that we are in the ‘end times’, creating a critical mass of voters whose representatives are blocking urgent legislation on climate change.
Citing an expose by People for the American Way, Rev. Dowd accuses far-right-wing groups, such as The Cornwall Alliance, Focus on the Family, and Answers in Genesis, of confusing Christians about climate science and forming “an unholy alliance with corporate polluters.”
“It doesn’t matter how often we go to church or how many miracles we believe in,” says Dowd. “When we betray future generations to satisfy our own short-sighted, self-centered interests, that’s evil.”
Dowd sharply criticizes spending nearly $1 billion in public money to fund religious schools that teach students to reject the discoveries of modern biology, geology, and cosmology as threats to religious faith. He cites fundamentalist attacks on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos series as an example of the war that some Christian leaders are waging against science.
In Dowd’s America, scientific discoveries would be preached as gospel from every pulpit. His evolutionary theology is based on seeing facts as the most important way that God is revealing truth to humanity today.
“We can cut our ancestors some slack,” offers Dowd. “They didn’t know better, but we do.”
Dowd makes the case that humanity has known about extinction for only 200 years, ice ages for 130 years, other galaxies for 80 years, supernovas for 60 years, continental drift for 50 years, and climate change for just 30 years. All of this, in Dowd’s book, is divine revelation.
Dowd asserts that centuries of idolizing the Bible have blinded the church to what God has been revealing to humanity through evidence since Galileo. It has also deafened believers to dire warnings from climate scientists, such as the urgent report released this month from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as well as the unusually prophetic “What We Know” campaign from The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the largest and most respected science organization in the world.
“Nature’s laws are God’s laws; we ignore them at our peril. We learn about nature’s laws through science, not the Bible. The future is calling us to greatness, and humanity must now answer the call.”
About Rev. Michael Dowd
The Reverend Michael Dowd is a Big History evangelist and bestselling author whose work has been featured in The New York Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Newsweek, Wired, Skeptic, Discover, and on CNN, ABC News, and Fox News.
His bridge-building book, Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World, was endorsed by 6 Nobel Prize-winning scientists, noted skeptics, and religious leaders across the spectrum.
Rev. Dowd has dedicated his life to proclaiming the inspiring, “soul nourishing” side of cosmic, biological, and human evolution. During the 1980s and 90s, he pastored three United Church of Christ congregations, worked with conservative and liberal religious leaders across America on environmental issues, and managed government-funded Sustainable Lifestyle Campaigns on both coasts. His 1990 book, EarthSpirit: A Handbook for Nurturing an Ecological Christianity, was the first to look appreciatively at biblical faith in light of what Dowd calls, “The Evidential Reformation.”
A dozen years ago Rev. Dowd and his wife, Connie Barlow, a science writer and evolutionary educator, gave away their earthly possessions and hit the road on a mission to evangelize “the sacred side of science and an honorable relationship to the future.” Since 2002 they have been traveling North America in a van they call “Angel,” branded with the Jesus and Darwin fishes kissing. The itinerant couple has shared their cosmic gospel with 1,800 audiences across America, from Catholics to Baptists to Buddhists to Unitarians and beyond.
In 2010 Rev. Dowd released a series of Evolutionary Christianity podcasts in which he interviewed 38 esteemed Christian scientists, theologians, and ministers, all of whom see evidence as divine revelation and publicly embrace an evolutionary, ecological worldview.
At home in both conservative and liberal settings and gifted at building bridges between religious and nonreligious people, Rev. Dowd is passionate about sharing the 14-billion-year history of everyone and everything in ways that offer both practical guidance and inspiration.
In 2009 he delivered a distinguished lecture at both the United Nations and Caltech, titled, “Evolution and the Global Integrity Crisis,” and in 2012 he delivered a TEDx talk, drawing on evolutionary psychology and brain science, titled, “Why We Struggle and Suffer.”
Rev. Dowd will be preaching at rallies and churches along the route of The Great March for Climate Action, from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., from now until mid-November 2014.
For more on Rev. Dowd’s ministry, including photos, videos and background information, please visit: