Michael Dowd: Pro-Future Evangelist

Michael Dowd | Pro-Future Evangelist

Evolutionary Evangelist Michael Dowd visits Ogden Unitarian Universalist Church

Standard Examiner

A large dinosaur skeleton (Diplodocus longus) was one of the biggest animals ever to have walked on earth, some 150 million years ago.


OGDEN — A message recently brought to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden by a Evolutionary Evangelist Michael Dowd was an urgent and possibly dire one.

Environmental consequences of biblical portions, Dowd said, could be our future if people don’t start acknowledging the importance of taking care of the environment.

“Millions of people don’t care about climate change because they believe Jesus is coming, but if we want to continue existing as a people, we cannot continue using the air, soil, and water around us as a garbage can,” Dowd said. He carries the nickname Reverend Reality.


Rev. Michael Dowd warns of coming climate disaster

Kokomo Tribune

By Roshana Ariel

Nationally recognized author and pastor preaches climate-change message in Kokomo.


Global drought. Rising oceans. Mass extinction.

Rev. Michael Dowd said it’s all on the horizon unless political and religious leaders take immediate action to start curbing global warming.

That’s not the kind of message you’d likely expect to hear from a minister. But, then again, Dowd isn’t your run-of-the-mill pastor.

For the last 12 years, the nationally recognized author, speaker and pastor with United Church of Christ has traveled the country preaching a message the majority of his fellow believers deny – evolution happened, the planet is billions of years old, and climate change is very, very real.


Evidence-based religion

Salina Journal

By Roshana Ariel

‘Science is at least in part informed worship,’ Carl Sagan once said.

I just saw a new TEDx talk by the Rev. Michael Dowd, a self-proclaimed evolutionary theologian and Big History evangelist.

I got to know Dowd when I served as his assistant a couple of years ago at a conference in California called Integral Spiritual Experience, where he was the keynote speaker. He’s the author of "Thank God for Evolution."

Dowd’s latest talk is called "Reality Reconciles Science and Religion" (find it on you tube.com by putting the title in the search box).

Many years ago, Dowd was a pastor of the regular Christian variety. Maybe that’s why he appeals to me: I still am drawn to the evangelical enthusiasm and sense of the sacred that he exudes. Dowd graduated from Palmer Theological Seminary at Evangel University and was a United Church of Christ minister. He still considers himself a Christian but has a different take on God.

"What we call reality," he says, "the ancients called God ... or the gods."


How to Use the Bible to Save the Planet

Mother Jones

By Chris Mooney

Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" embraces a brand of faith-based environmentalism that's increasingly popular with young religious believers.

For a brief moment in Darren Aronofsky's hit religious epic film Noah, we see the great Flood from space. From that vantage point, it looks much like an atmospheric event of the sort that a NASA satellite might photograph, so we can all share it on Facebook. So what does biblical cataclysm look like from orbit? Beautifully, and yet terrifyingly, the entire Earth appears to be draped in a quilt of hurricanes, each cyclone nestled alongside the next.

"There is a huge statement in the film, a strong message about the coming flood from global warming," Aronofsky told
The New Yorker in an extensive profile. The film also contains a depiction of the Big Bang (something doubted by 51 percent of Americans, according to a recent survey), fins-to-limbs evolution, and the very clear implication that the biblical "days" of the creation were only metaphorical days, not literal, 24-hour ones.


Former pastor speaks of union of religion, science transforming world

Intelligencer Journal / Lancaster New Era

By Ad Crable

Michael Dowd remembers the days when he used to show up at events where evolution was the topic and hand out religious tracts railing at anyone who dared believe the Earth was more than 6,000 years old.

Today, the former United Church of Christ minister is a self-described "evolutionary evangelist" -- and one of the most visible ambassadors of a belief that embracing the reality of a constantly evolving universe is a sacred path to uniting all religions into a spirit of cooperation while offering hope for the future here on Earth.

"Evolution is how God is speaking to us today," he said.


We All Live in Darwin's World

Discover Magazine

by Karen Wright

You could call Helen Fisher a Darwinian matchmaker. The acclaimed anthropologist from Rutgers University is also a best-selling author of books on love and the chief scientific adviser to an online dating service called Chemistry.com. This service utilizes a questionnaire that Fisher developed after years of research on the science of romantic attraction. It reveals which of four broad, biologically based personality types an applicant displays and helps identify partners with compatible brain chemistry. In designing the questionnaire, Fisher relied on the principles of evolutionary psychology, a field inspired by Charles Darwin’s insights. She has even used those principles to size up Darwin himself. (He is a “negotiator,” “imaginative and theoretical,” “unassuming, agreeable, and intuitive”—but also married, alas, and dead.)

Fisher’s work is just one of the innumerable offshoots of Darwin’s grand theory of life. In the 150 years since the publication of On the Origin of Species, it seems no sphere of human thought or activity has been left untouched by Darwinian analysis. Evolutionary theory has infiltrated the social sciences, where it has been used to explain human politics and spending habits. It has transformed computer science, inspiring problem-solving algorithms that adapt and change like living things. It is cited by a leading theoretical physicist who proposes that evolution helped shape the laws governing the cosmos. A renowned neuroscientist sees ideas of selection as describing the honing of connections among brain cells. Literary critics analyze the plots, themes, and characters of novels according to Darwinian precepts. Even religion, the sector most famously at odds with Darwin, now claims an evolutionary evangelist.


Evolution-Loving Evangelical Comes To Houston

Houston Press

by Olivia Flores Alvarez

It's been 200 years since the birth of Darwin, and 150 years since the publication of his book, On the Origin of Species, so we guess it's about time that religion and science stopped fighting and figured out some common ground.

The Reverend Michael Dowd, an ordained evangelical preacher, and his wife Connie Barlow, an atheist, are doing their part to make that happen. They travel the country with The Gospel of Evolution Roadshow (it's really just Dowd and his wife in a camper), preaching the marriage of science and faith, God and technology, and they've made it to Houston.

Dowd says you can't truly have one without the other and he's got a pretty good argument as to why.


Where Darwin meets Genesis

Chicago Daily Herald

By Marni Pyke

In 1925, the Scopes monkey trial generated headlines, hoopla and hate between proponents of teaching Charles Darwin's theory of evolution in schools and those who called it blasphemous.

It wouldn't be the last time questions of faith have divided the body politic as overtones of religion in this year's presidential contest show.

The Rev. Michael Dowd wants to change that.


Evolutionary Evangelist

Washington Post

by Claire Hoffman

I was just about to toss my New York Times Magazine this morning when this article on Darwinists for Jesus fell open. It's about evolutionary evangelist Michael Dowd who, with his wife, has been traveling the nation and preaching on the sacredness of evolution. I love stories like this, that show the ways that religious thinking can adapt and synthesize to totally modern theories.


Darwinists for Jesus

New York Times Magazine

by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee

In 1981, Michael Dowd would have counted himself among the millions of conservative Christians who blame Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and the idea of a godless, purposeless universe for the moral decline of society. That year, as a freshman at Evangel University in Springfield, Mo., Dowd felt a rush of indignant anger in biology class when the professor held up a textbook that taught evolution. As he stormed out of the classroom, Dowd could not have imagined that he would come to view evolution as a spiritually inspiring idea that religion must embrace.

In the years that followed, Dowd shed his more conservative views and served as a pastor in the liberal United Church of Christ. Today he calls himself an evolutionary evangelist. For the last six years, he has traveled across North America with his wife, Connie Barlow, in a van that displays an image of two fish kissing each other — one labeled Jesus, the other Darwin — explaining to conservative and liberal congregations why understanding and accepting evolution will bring them closer to spiritual fulfillment. The religious advantage to embracing the evolutionary worldview, Dowd says, is that it explains our frailties, our addictions, our infidelities and other moral deficiencies as byproducts of adaptation over billions of years. And that, he says, has a potentially liberating effect: never mind guilt; once we understand our sinful ways, we can get past them and play a conscious role in the evolution of humanity.


Do the evolution

Ventura County Reporter

By Joan Trossman Bien

The Rev. Michael Dowd began life as a born-again evangelical believing Darwinian biology to be the work of the devil. Now, he preaches the gospel of science.

The Rev. Michael Dowd is making the rounds in Ventura County this week, delivering speeches and workshops at churches in Ojai and Ventura. The topic of his considerable passion: evolution.

For Dowd, a trip through the cosmos ends at your front door. Actually, Dowd and his scientist-author wife, Connie Barlow, don’t really have their own front door. They have lived on the road for six years, preaching the excitement of science as religious inspiration. They roam North America appearing at venues both secular and sectarian, attempting to convince their audience that each individual person is the result of 14 billion years of evolution.

Dowd did not come to this intersection of science and religion in a predictable way. He says he had an epiphany when he was in the Army.


Science meets belief as couple put evolution in a sacred context

San Diego Union Tribune

By Sandi Dolbee

Rev. Dowd in San DiegoSome say you can tell a lot about people from the cars they drive. The Rev. Michael Dowd drives a camper van with drawings of two fish, one labeled “Jesus” and the other “Darwin,” who are kissing each other with red hearts above them.

For nearly six years, Dowd, a former United Church of Christ minister, and his wife, science writer Connie Barlow, have traveled the country preaching the gospel of evolution with evangelistic zeal.

It's time to declare an end to the war between science and faith, he argues. He says the facts are indisputable: Earth and its inhabitants evolved over billions of years. But that's OK, he adds, because God, or whatever name you want to give to a higher power, was and is still involved.

“Imagine a realm of nothingness,” says Dowd, invoking an image of the beginning of time. “God is the essence of that everything. Everything that emerges is not emerging outside of God, but within God.”


Can God Love Darwin, Too?


By Sharon Begley

Evolutionists Fight the ‘Godless’ Rap

There may be some battlefields where the gospel's "blessed are the peacemakers" holds true. But despite the work of a growing number of scholars and millions of dollars in foundation funding to find harmony between science and faith, evolution still isn't one of them. Just ask biologist Richard Colling. A professor at Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois and a lifelong member of the evangelical Church of the Nazarene, Colling wrote a 2004 book called "Random Designer" because—as he said in a letter to students and colleagues this year—"I want you to know the truth that God is bigger, far more profound and vastly more creative than you may have known." Moreover, he said, God "cares enough about creation to harness even the forces of [Darwinian] randomness."