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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.
Yudhijit Bhattacharjee writes in the Times article that "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."
And what is fantastic is to see this in action, as Bhattacharjee finds one of Dowd's congregants who experiences religious liberation through this idea of moral weakness as a byproduct of evolution. Bhattacharjee writes, "after Bob Miller, an 81-year-old man, heard Dowd’s sermon at a Unitarian church in Pensacola, Fla., he felt his guilt over a string of affairs from four decades ago melting away. “I could never quite understand why I had behaved that way,” says Miller, who was climbing the corporate ladder when his infidelities began, leading to the breakup of his marriage. When Dowd began talking about viewing moral lapses against the backdrop of evolution, “suddenly a light went on inside my head,” Miller says."
Amazing. Anyway, Dowd has a robust website--thankgodforevolution.com-- and a book and he's on the road, so if you're interested, check it out. He might blow your mind!