Michael Dowd: Pro-Future Evangelist

Christian evangelist calls on believers to accept evolution | Michael Dowd | Celebrating Reality

Christian evangelist calls on believers to accept evolution

Origin of Species turns 150; Plume publishes Thank GOD for EVOLUTION

Michael Dowd
As museums and universities the world over prepare to celebrate the 150th anniversary of On the Origin of Species this fall, evangelist Michael Dowd is on a mission to help fellow Christians accept evolution.

Dubbed an ‘evolutionary evangelist’ by Discover magazine, Michael Dowd is a traveling preacher with an unorthodox message: “Evolution is God’s will and humanity’s salvation, and contrary to popular belief, Armageddon and the Apocalypse are not inevitable.”

His new book Thank GOD for EVOLUTION–published in paperback this summer by Plume–celebrates science as sacred and has been publicly praised by religious leaders from priests to rabbis, and prominent scientists, including 6 Nobel Prize winners–a NASA senior astrophysicist among them.

Like the founder of his faith, Dowd preaches that the mythical Kingdom of Heaven really is at hand for those who have eyes to see. For him, that means “evolutionary eyes.” It’s a point of view that many true believers initially find blasphemous, but Dowd’s version of evolution is unlike anything most Christians have heard preached from a pulpit. As a former fundamentalist, Dowd says that he understands why Christians demonize Darwin.

“It’s no wonder that Bible-believing born again Christians have roundly and rightfully, in my opinion, rejected evolution,” shares Dowd. “Who wants to forsake their faith and family for a meaningless, mechanistic, Godless existence with no hope of Heaven? I sure didn’t, and no amount of evidence was going to change my mind. Then, I had a road to Damascus experience. The most Christ-like man that I had ever met, a Buddhist-come-Catholic monk, opened my eyes to a holy way of seeing the 13.7 billion year epic of evolution. For the first time in my life, my head and heart were in harmony. I knew then and there that I would devote my ministry to evangelizing evolution, not just as theory, but as a new theology, a way to really walk with God.”

Rev. Dowd radically reinterprets core Christian concepts in the context of current best science.

“We wouldn’t let a first century dentist fill our children’s teeth, so why are we letting theologians from the same period fill their heads? The world isn’t flat. The sun and stars do not revolved around us. And yes, we evolved over billions of years. Isn’t it glorious!” exclaims Dowd.

Among his many unorthodox interpretations, Dowd preaches that the concept Original Sin was never literally about a woman in a garden tempted by a snake to eat forbidden fruit. Instead, he says that it points to the reality of inherited instincts around safety, sex and status that served the survival of our ancestors at an earlier stage in our evolution, but are woefully mismatched for modern times.

While Dowd doesn’t preach fire and brimstone, he is quick to connect the consequences of an overheating planet to the concept of Hell, and America’s inaction on this issue to the apathy of a generation of believers who are waiting on the world to end.

“It’s not a surprise that America is not leading the world in our response to climate change when polls show that one in three of us believe that these are the end times anyway,” explains Dowd. “So, why bother?”

Following in the footsteps of his tradition’s founder, Dowd travels town to town teaching and preaching the gospel, only his good news is billions of years old. He calls it “the sacred story of everyone and everything.” Openly thumping Origin of Species, Dowd passionately shares how, other than Jesus, no one has brought him closer to God than Charles Darwin.

Several times a week, Dowd’s sermons and seminars take awestruck audiences on a whirlwind 90-minute tour through billions of years, from the Big Bang to the human brain. He enthusiastically evangelizes how he sees God in all of it and where religion fits into the big picture.

Rev. Dowd represents a new breed of believer. For Dowd, fossils strengthen his faith, not test it. He calls them “proof positive of the amazing grace that has guided us through deep time to the present moment.”

“For evolutionary Christians, everything is sacred,” shares Dowd. “All land is holy land. All water is holy water. We are all God’s children, and no one is getting left behind. Come heaven or hell, we’re in this together.”

Raised Roman Catholic, Michael served in the military, graduated at the top of his class from an evangelical college, earned a master of divinity degree, and pastored three churches. As a Christian college student, he would argue with anyone who thought that the world more than 6,000 years old and withdrew from a science course that taught evolution.

During nearly eight years of living on the road with his wife Connie Barlow, an acclaimed author of several noted science books on evolution, the couple have spoken to over a thousand religious and secular audiences, from Catholic schools to college campuses.

Dowd’s radical reinterpretation of religion is liberating literalists on the left, right and center of the divisive decades-long debate over Darwin vs. Design.

“Evolution is about much, much more that whether we emerged from a long lineage of mammals and monkeys,” explains Dowd. “While we may share 98 percent of our DNA with chimpansees, I’m focused on the role that evolution will play in shaping our future,. Evolution offers us the real promise of Heaven on Earth, and that’s a belief that I can shout ‘Amen!’ to.”

Thank GOD for EVOLUTION was published in paperback by Plume in Summer 2009. To receive a review copy, reply to this email with your mailing address and replace the subject line with “REVIEW COPY REQUEST.”

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