The Gospel of Evolution

Staten Island Advance

By Leslie Palma-Simoncek

Ever heard of Evolution Theology? Me neither, but the Rev. Michael Dowd, an ordained minister, and his wife, Connie Barlow, a science writer, travel around the country teaching their "Gospel of Evolution." They will be in Manhattan Tuesday at 7 p.m. at All Souls Church, 1157 Lexington Ave. at 80th Street. I can't go, but if anyone out there does, please let me know what they said.

The couple present evolution as theology, not theory, and science as divine revelation. Their message has earned them the moniker America's Evolutionary Evangelists, according to their Web site.

"Trying to understand reality without an evolutionary worldview is like trying to understand infection without microscopes or the structure of the Universe without telescopes," said Rev. Dowd, former pastor of Baptist and United Church of Christ congregations.

"It's not merely difficult, it's impossible. These are not the End Times for humanity, they are just the beginning! Earth is billions of years old, and we only emerged a few million years ago, a geological blink of an eye. Fossils were not put here to test our faith; they were left behind by a divine creative process that made everything we experience around us and within us. Fossils teach us faith by showing proof positive of the grace that has guided us safely through deep time to the present moment.

Dowd is the author "THANK GOD FOR EVOLUTION: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World." John Mather, a NASA senior astrophysicist and a 2006 Nobel laureate in physics had this to say about the book: "The universe took 13.7 billion years to produce this amazing book."

Certainly Rev. Dowd is not alone in believing that faith and evolution do not have to cancel each other out. More than 11,000 ministers have signed on to The Clergy Letter Project, which states: "We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as 'one theory among others' is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God's good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator."