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Two reporters reviewed a book which argues evolution is a God-guided process, but from two different perspectives
Michael Dowd's new book "Thank God for Evolution!" is meant for one specific demographic: humans. It intelligently explores the amalgamation of creationist thought and an evolutionary world view, all from the (mostly) objective angle of Dowd, who is a protestant reverend.
What really drove home Dowd's meaning came before he even touched any scientific evidence or mind-bogglingly fresh concepts (although those are not far behind) was a letter of sorts. It is the simple promise he makes to his readers, blunt yet meaningful, before they even begin the book.
Dowd addresses each type of reader personally, spanning from fundamental Christians to humanists to Muslims to those who "begrudgingly accept evolution" and everyone in between.
He pledges to each that they can embrace his book in a way that will expand their relationships over a broad perspective. Quite a promise, especially with only one book and so many different humans.
The book, however, lives up to its word and does not try to convince spiritual conversion but rather consideration of a "public revelation" or scientifically rational thought; the origin of life has been a 14-billion-year journey that we have only begun to understand.
Dowd explains that humans are "mythopoeic beings," meaning we are naturally driven to make sense of our existence and what happened before us. The book asserts "each of us tends to recall the events of our own life in ways that render the whole into something meaningful."
Divine meaning, according to Dowd, does not have to exclude all scientific theory, especially when it comes to evolution and the way humans came into existence. Understanding concepts such as the Big Bang and convergent evolution creates a reverence for the universe we live in, similar to theories of Christian biologist Charles Darwin.
Rather than placing humans as masters of their own fate, Dowd calls us "partners, groping our way forward in faith...trusting the universe, trusting reality, trusting time."
There is a type of cognitive dissonance in the educated Christian's mind regarding the creation story and what they know to be true about the world. On one hand, the scriptures are the word of God and "All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching..." (2 Timothy 3:16). On the other hand, the story of Adam and Eve is so absurdly out of touch with scientific knowledge that we must use the brains God gave us to rationally understand and fulfill our mythopoeic drive.
What Dowd explains in his book is that incorporating evolution into a spiritual life "reinvigorates scriptures" instead of disproves them because of the scientific integrity they will acquire in our minds.
The book is not meant to unhinge the core religious beliefs of Christians, but to put people in harmony with the realities of how intentional and beautiful the universe has been (and continues to be) evolving over the past 14 billion years.
As a Christian, I encourage fellow believers to read this book with an open mind and with the perspective that learning and expanding ourselves is what God intended for us. But seriously, read this book lest you be in the dust of an inevitable religious revelation.
To those who are not spiritual or who are searching, I encourage you to also pick up this book in an unassuming way, considering it to be an intelligent discussion you deserve to hear and that deserves your attention.
To anyone who decides to read this rather heavy book, "Thank God for Evolution!" will disturb parts of your mind that haven't been disturbed before.
This is not a tacky attempt to convince non-believers to convert to some cookie-cutter version of fundamental Christianity, nor is it a politically correct argument (or any type of argument for that matter). If viewed objectively, it can be a well-researched and sound dialogue intended toward any universe-dwelling, mythopoeically-driven being.