Why pastor Michael Dowd evangelizes on evolution

The Oklahoman

By Carla Hinton

The Rev. Michael Dowd is excited about the theory of evolution, part of a "sacred story."

Charles Darwin's theory that today's species evolved from more primitive ones continues to draw opposition from many Christian faith groups because it conflicts with their beliefs that God is the creator of life as told in the biblical Book of Genesis. However, Dowd, an ordained minister with the United Church of Christ, travels the country speaking about the ways science and religion peacefully intersect when it comes to evolution.

Dowd recently spoke at First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City on the topic of his new book, "Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World."

He said reality is revealing itself in ways it was unable to do in the past.

Evolution, he said, is a reality the Apostle Paul, the Reformation's Martin Luther, Islam's Prophet Muhammad and other religious leaders couldn't have known without telescopes and microscopes.

"Prior to an evolutionary understanding, a scientific understanding, it was just difficult to explain how the world came to be, how the Atlantic Ocean was formed, how the moon came into being," Dowd said.

He said he is passionate about the concept of evolution for three reasons:

A sacred understanding of evolution builds bridges between science and religion.

"It bridges head and heart." Dowd said religious differences can be more easily understood when seen through the lens of evolution and can help explain why some cultures speak of "Father, Lord and warrior" and others speak of "mother" and "goddess."

Evolution gives man guidance as a species, and as individuals and families.

"Who would have a first-century dentist fill their children's teeth? Yet there are people letting first-century theologians fill their children's minds," Dowd said. "I'm not putting down church or religion, I'm lifting up science as revelatory."

Evolution gives

mankind a sense of realistic hope.

"It's not praying to Jesus, the cosmic janitor who comes in and cleans up the messes we've made," he said.

The Rev. Mark Christian, pastor of First Unitarian Church, said he knew his congregation would welcome a chance to hear from the self-described "evolutionary evangelist."

"I think he helps those of us who find that the traditional metaphors and language no longer resonate," Christian said. "He gives us a way to move forward with God in a way that is not in opposition to the scientific and philosophical things that we know to be true."

Dowd's last Oklahoma engagement on his "Thank God for Evolution" tour is set for tonight at First Unitarian