Michael Dowd: Pro-Future Evangelist

Michael Dowd | Pro-Future Evangelist



Radio Appearances

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Radio Ecoshock

Are Christian fundamentalists derailing climate action? We need to tackle a gnarly problem with Rev Michael Dowd: the marriage of big oil and coal money to large fundamentalist churches in the United States. It appears climate denying preachers are a roadblock to climate action in America.

Radio Ecoshock
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The Reverend Michael Dowd is a popular author and itinerant preacher. Dowd’s religious journey took an unconventional turn, leading him to pursue a life of what he calls religious naturalism.


More from the conversation with Reverend Michael Dowd.

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National Catholic Reporter

Three recent books take seriously the story science tells us about where we are and how we got here on Earth. NCR columnist Rich Heffern talks with the authors to discuss the implications for religion of modern science's account of an unimaginably vast universe of 500 billion galaxies and the evolution of humans that took place over millions of years.

Michael Dowd and his wife, Connie Barlow, who is a science writer, call themselves "evolution's evangelists." They travel the country giving talks, workshops and retreats on the religious implications of the theory of evolution. Devoted to exploring ways of finding unity between science and faith, "evolution evangelist" Michael Dowd says Darwin 's idea is God's gift to theology, and that this evolution can be integrated with religion in holy and meaningful ways.

National Catholic Reporter
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There's a new evangelist on the road in the bible belt of America, but whereas Michael Dowd once believed in creationism he's now an evangelist for Darwin - and he's not abandoned his Christian faith. Indeed his new book is entitled "Thank God for Evolution" and in it he claims that the marriage of science and religion will transform your life and our world. When Roger spoke to Mr Dowd he put it to him there was a time when he believed evolution was "of the devil". What had happened?
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Two fish kissing. It could be the stuff of a kindergarten drawing, or a greeting card. But this particular pair of fish is something else. It represents the marriage of two very potent symbols. One stands for Christianity. The other is for Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. The man who envisioned them puckering up is Michael Dowd. He has served as the pastor of three United Church of Christ congregations. He is the author of Thank God for Evolution - How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World. Host Mary Hines talks with Rev. Dowd about his evolutionary ministry.

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Point of Inquiry

The Reverend Michael Dowd, along with his wife, science writer Connie Barlow, have lived permanently on the road for years, sharing a "sacred view of evolution" with religious and secular audiences of all ages. His new book is Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World.

In this interview with D.J. Grothe, Michael Dowd discusses his new book Thank God for Evolution, which is a religious defense of the central organizing theory of modern biology. He reveals the agenda of the book, and the reception it has received from both the scientific and the religious communities. He explains his religious background, and how he has adopted a thoroughly "naturalized" religion that he calls "Religion 2.0," compatible with and integrated with evolution, which rejects the supernatural or the "unnatural." He details why he has become an "evangelist for evolution" and why the "gospel of evolution" has been so popular for both the religious and the secular audiences he has spoken to over the last six and a half years. He expounds his "evolution theology," and how the traditionally religious can embrace the facts of evolution, which he considers the most important religious act they can commit.

Part 1
Point of Inquiry

In this conversation with D.J. Grothe, Michael Dowd reveals how his kind of Christianity is different from most others who would call themselves Christian, and argues that all religions are evolving in the direction of naturalism. He argues that evolution must be mythologized in order to save our species. He explains how he reinterprets orthodox Christian doctrines such as "personal salvation," "the centrality of the cross," and "original sin" in ways that are compatible with scientific ways of thinking, and recounts how understanding evolutionary brain science helps reinterpret certain notions of sexual "sin." He addresses the criticism that that there is no good reason to use religious language to speak about science and evolution. And he expresses why his evolution evangelism is so important: that evolution be embraced and that it would be able to "do its magic," listing the seven reasons how evolution can transform lives and change the world.

Part 2
Point of Inquiry
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New Hampshire Public Radio

You’ve likely heard that today is the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Charles Darwin was also born 200 years ago today. Two extremely influential men of the 19th century and beyond. Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species was published 150 years ago, establishing evolutionary descent as the dominant scientific explanation for natural diversity. But it’s still bitterly debated. A new Gallup poll shows that only 39 percent of Americans say they "believe in the theory of evolution." Some religious faiths decry evolution for contradicting the story of Creation as outlined in the book of Genesis in the Bible.

That’s what the Reverend Michael Dowd grew up believing as a Roman Catholic. In 1979, Reverend Dowd converted to a Christian fundamentalist worldview. For several years he denounced Darwin and helped distribute anti-evolutionary tracts. But over the course of a decade he came to believe that evolution is, in his words, “the great story of 14 billion years of divine grace and creativity. ” Since 2002 he and his wife, science writer Connie Barlow, took to the road to preaching that gospel.

His new book is called Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World. He joins us to talk about the relationship between Jesus and Darwin.

New Hampshire Public Radio
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The Peter Collins Show

One on one with Rev. Michael Dowd author of Thank GOD for EVOLUTION. Michael Dowd is interesting and inspiring. He evolved from the Assemblies of God to the Baptists to the more progressive United Church of Christ, and was a pastor at churches in Massachusetts, Michigan and Ohio. For 7 years, he has been an itinerant preacher, travelling the US to build bridges between people of different faiths and disparate world views. Peter and Michael talk about creationism and evolution, PBC's problems with organized religions, fundamentalist extremism and conflicts between Christians, Muslims and Jews, and religious opposition to same-sex marriage.

Peter Collins
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The Infidel Guy Show

"Michael Dowd is a Pentecostal preacher and "evolutionary evangelist". He is an advocate of what he terms Evolution Theology, the position that science and religious faith are not mutually exclusive, but that instead the scientific process is a tool for understanding reality, and at the heart of that reality is evolution.

Infidel Guy
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The Leading Edge

Rev. Michael Dowd, an ordained Christian minister and former Baptist and United Church of Christ pastor, joins host Mindy Audlin to discuss the “Gospel of Evolution,” a program that presents evolution as theology, not theory. He and his wife are the creators of www.thegreatstory.org, a website that will support all people to become increasingly conscious participants in the Great Story of our emergent Universe.

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Interfaith Voices

A Christian – cnce an Anti-evolutionary Fundamentalist – now hears the message of God in the unfolding evolutionary process of the Universe. Dowd was raised a Roman Catholic, but later moved to fundamentalist Pentecostalism. As a student at Evangel College, he was sure that Satan had taken over when he discovered that a biology text included a discussion of evolution. His views changed as he conversed with colleagues he respected and with a Buddhist monk who impressed him with his “Christian” behavior.

Today, he and his wife, Connie Barlow (a science writer), travel the country preaching evolutionary theology and spirituality. They have no home, but drive a trailer and live where they find hospitality.

Evolution, he says, is “public revelation,” based on scientific evidence and methods. Faith, by contrast, is “private revelation.” Dowd begins with the 14 billion year evolutionary process, telling the story in a sacred way, hearing the message of God in the unfolding. The vast majority of scientists, he notes – including most advocates of “intelligent design” – accept the reality of evolution.

He likens the universe to Russian “nesting dolls,” or “nesting centers of creativity.” Thus, there are sub-atomic particles within atoms, within molecules, within creatures, within the earth, within the universe. Using this image, God is the largest “nesting doll,” the “whole” – both transcendent – greater than any one thing or creature – and immanent, a part of everything. Thus, nature does not exist for human beings; human beings exist to serve nature or the “whole” or “God.”

Dowd thus understands human beings as growing from the process of evolution. We are, he says, nature reflecting on itself with the power to save the earth, to immunize it against disasters (like comets, for example) and to reverse the current trend of global warming. This ethic, he says, is what it means today to “know, love and serve God.”

Although Dowd is himself a Christian, he says that this message is universal, and will, in fact, transform all religious traditions.

Dowd and his wife talk to groups across the United States as diverse as atheists, conservative evangelicals, Unitarians, Jews, mainline Protestants, Catholics, Hindus, and others – and they find that 80-90% of their audiences relate positively to this message.

Is he optimistic that the spread of evolutionary spirituality reverse the tide of climate change? It will bring great changes, he believes, but will not likely prevent all catastrophes. But these catastrophes, he believes, will call all religious traditions to greatness, transcending boundaries as they seek solutions.

Interfaith Radio
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Conversation of the Century

Barbara Marx Hubbard's first Conversation of the Century is with her dear friend and colleague, Michael Dowd, who is one of the greatest communicators of the evolutionary potential of Life.

I highly recommend Michael’s new book, Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World. No less than five Nobel prize-winners have written glowing reviews for Michael’s unique take on evolution. But throw into the mix that Reverend Michael Dowd was once a conservative evangelical who protested the teaching of evolution and things get quite interesting! This is vital reading for all of us.

Barbara Marx Hubbard
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New Dimensions Radio

It's been a long, long time since a prophet handed down a sacred revelation to humankind. But that doesn't mean God has stopped talking to us. According to Reverend Michael Dowd, God now speaks to us through science, and facts are His native tongue. With a worldview that bridges the divide between science and theology, Reverend Dowd sees each new discovery as a message from Spirit, and evolution as a beautiful unfolding of sacred creation itself. He calls that world view "evolution theology," and describes it as "a way of seeing the universe's story as sacred.

When we use the word evolution, what we mean is the history of cosmos, earth, life, and humanity as one sacred story, one meaningful myth-not 'myth' as an untrue story but as a narrative that puts us in accord with the universe, or helps us feel our connection to the whole." In this provocative dialogue he demonstrates how we can see ourselves in the context of space and time-nested within the whole of the universe on a continuum of evolving species-in order to gain new understanding of our failings as well as our divinity.

New Dimensions
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Ozarks Public Radio News

Where do we come from and how did we get here? These are questions people have pondered for centuries. One man has written a book on how two seemingly opposite views can become one. KSMU’s Erika Brame spoke with the author and one of his critics.
East Tennessee Report
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East Tennessee Report

As a former pastor, Michael Dowd is a great interviewee. As the interviewer, all I had to do was ask a few simple questions, reset who the guest was at regular intervals and make sure the show ended on time. Dowd, the author of "Thank God for Evolution", could have easily filled the half-hour without me.

To say that I was extremely enthusiastic about the topic would be an understatement. The idea of The Great Story, or Evolutionary Epic, fascinates me. I have long believed in both the concept of creation and the facts of evolution. Simply put, six of God's days equal about 14 billion of our years.

At the end of the interview that aired this morning, I felt that there was still plenty of ground to cover. I asked Michael if he could stay for another thirty-minute show, which will air next Sunday. I should have used this technique to extend my interviews with Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass, which always seem to end too soon. Since I enjoyed the conversation so much, I thought you might too. Here are both shows, for your podcasting pleasure.

Michael Dowd was in town to speak at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church last Tuesday. He and his wife have no permanent address. They live on the road, traveling from one speaking engagement to the next. That's one way to get to all 50 states.

Part 1
East Tennessee Report

Part 2
East Tennessee Report

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