The Emergence of Evolutionary Christianity

Kissing fish

UPDATE: See here for "The Advent of Evolutionary Christianity" free teleseries, featuring all the luminaries listed below.

Evolutionary Christianity refers to those who identify with the Christian tradition while also celebrating big history, the epic of evolution (what some of us call "the Great Story"), as humanity's common creation myth.  Collectively and individually, our position on the science vs. religion controversy tends toward reconciliation or synthesis.  Evolutionary Christianity points broadly to those who value faith and reason, heart and head, scripture and science.  Whatever our differences, theologically, metaphysically, or in any other way, we all have a global heart—that is, we are all committed to a just, healthy, sustainably life-giving future for humanity and the larger body of life.  I think it's safe to say that we also all have deep-time eyes and a mind informed by evidence.  In future blog posts I'll elaborate on each of these:

• Deep-time eyes
• A global heart
• A mind informed by evidence

This piece I wrote five years ago, posted on the Religious Tolerance website, and this blog post I wrote last March, are pretty good introductions to my own approach to Evolutionary Christianity.  (My colleagues and friends in this movement, see below, would see and say things differently, I am sure.  I don't pretend to speak for them, nor for the movement as a whole.) 

By far the best introduction to what I mean by "deep-time eyes, a global heart, and a mind informed by evidence" is my 75-minute program, "Evolutionize Your Life: Heaven Is Coming Home to Reality"—which is the main program I'm now delivering to religious and non-religious audiences of all kinds: from Catholics to Evangelicals to Unitarians to Humanists.  (I offered an early incarnation of this program to the United Nations Values Caucus last April, where it was also well received.)  But, again, I stress that this is what I am excited about and how I interpret what has been revealed through evidence.  My colleagues below may, and most likely do, have a different understanding.  I do not see those differences as a problem to be solved, however, but, rather, as a potential solution to our problems.

Here are some of the people that I, personally, consider leaders in the emerging Evolutionary Christianity movement (some actually fall into more than one catagory and this is most certainly not an exhaustive list!):

Nobel laureates: Charles H. Townes, William D. Phillips
Templeton prize-winnersJohn Polkinghorne, Ian Barbour
Roman Catholic: John F. Haught, Kenneth R. Miller
Mainline Protestant: John Sheby Spong, Matthew Fox
Process Theology: John Cobb, Philip Clayton
Evangelical: Owen Gingerich, Karl Giberson, Denis Lamoureux, Edward B. (Ted) Davis
Emerging Church: Brian McLaren, Sally Morgenthaler, Spencer Burke, Doug Pagitt
Integral ChristianityTom Thresher, Ross Hostetter
Progressive: Ian Lawton, Fred Plumer, Jim Burklo
Evolutionary Christian Mysticism: Bruce Sanguin, Kevin Kelly
Sisters of Earth: Mary Southard, Gail Worcelo
Epic of Evolution: Diarmuid Omurchu, Michael Morwood


Michael Dowd is the author of Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World (Viking/Plume: 2009), which was endorsed by 6 Nobel laureates and other science luminaries, including noted skeptics, and by religious leaders across the spectrum.  He and his wife, Connie Barlow, an acclaimed science writer, have traveled North America non-stop since 2002, and have addressed more than a thousand religious and secular audiences.  They show how the science-based epic of physical, biological, and cultural evolution (our common creation story) can be interpreted in ways that inspire people to cooperate across religious and political differences in service of a just and thriving future for all.  They also show how an understanding of human nature given by evolutionary psychology and neurobiology can help each of us live with greater integrity and passion for life.