The New Evangelism: Michael Dowd's Evolutionary Christianity [Excerpts]
Who is Michael Dowd? He calls himself an evangelist. Not surprisingly, he can be found in churches preaching. But Dowd's gospel is not one where sin is rebellion against God, but rejection of Darwin.
With faith-evolution controversies running unabated, Dowd's Darwin-for-all-occasions may seem a hard sell. Yet Dowd's effusive friendliness and seeming openness are swaying many his direction. His sales technique even wins over atheists and Christian evangelicals.
Since 2002, the self-described "evolutionary evangelist" has been on the road across America in a marathon of speaking engagements held mainly at schools and church groups. In addition, Dowd has four main websites, three books, and has spoken at the United Nations for their Values Caucus, a group dedicated to provide an "open forum . . . in order to allow a new culture to emerge."
But Dowd's background emerges from the old culture. Growing up Roman Catholic, he says he became a born-again Christian while serving in the army in 1979. He accepted that evolution was mostly harmful bunk until a few professors at Evangel University (conservative, Pentecostal) convinced him otherwise. From there, he went to seminary and then signed on with the liberal United Church of Christ for nine years.
While still with the UCC, he fully embraced evolutionary mysticism in 1988. Within an hour of starting a course on "The New Catholic Mysticism," Dowd says he was weeping and seeing the "scientific story of the Universe" as a "sacred epic." "I knew I would spend the rest of my life sharing this perspective as great news," he adds. In fact, Dowd's worldview moved from Christian monotheism to religious naturalism.
[Dowd said] "God is not a person; God is a personification of one or more deeply significant dimensions of reality."
"'Getting right with God' means coming into right relationship with our planet and all its gloriously diverse species and cultures."
"I foresee a time when religious leaders get their guidance and inspiration from humanity's common creation story (Darwinian evolution) and teach and preach the discoveries of science as God's word. When that day comes, our faith traditions will thrive and many of us will look back and exclaim, 'Thank God for the New Atheists'."
[TBC: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen" (Romans:1:22-25).]