'Creatheist' reconciles evolution, religion

Northwest Florida Daily News

The Rev. Michael Dowd says science can prove other stories correct

Sample ImageNICEVILLE — The Rev. Michael Dowd is on a mission to reconcile science and religion.     “Who would let a first-century dentist fill our children’s teeth?” Dowd asked Tuesday. “But we’re letting first-century theologians fill our children’s heads every day.”     A self-proclaimed evolutionary evangelist, Dowd recently released “Thank God for Evolution!”, which states that understanding evolution can actually enhance faith.

Dowd shared his philosophies as a “creatheist” with students, faculty and residents at Okaloosa-Walton College’s Mattie Kelley Arts Center.     For the past 5 1/2 years, Dowd and his wife have crisscrossed North America to share their gospel.     “We believe evolution will usher religion into its greatness in the 21st century,” he said. Dowd began his religious training as a Christian anti-evolutionary fundamentalist, but a chance encounter with a Christian Buddhist changed his heart and mind.     “My head said ‘get him saved,’ but my heart said ‘get him to mentor you,’ ” Dowd said after his presentation.     Throughout the 14 billion-year history of the cosmos, Dowd said God — the nature of ultimate reality — has revealed new truths all the time.     People today often rely on ancient civilization’s view of the world, when humans now have more self-awareness.     Whether using lambs, kingdoms or lotus flowers, religious traditions have used environmental factors as explanations and to offer moral directives, Dowd said.“The Bible reveals infallibly how early Christians and Jews saw their world,” Dowd said.     However, evolution, is “a science–based story that makes all the other stories right,” he said.     Dowd hopes more people will learn and understand evolution as a part of religion.     The only way conservatives will understand or should accept evolution is if it is explained or understood as sacred and holy, Dowd said.     Dowd sees most people unifying faith and science in the future.     “Without evolutionary Christians, evolutionary Muslims and evolutionary Jews in the Middle East, we’re never going to have lasting peace,” he said.     Many audience members were impressed with Dowd’s impassioned speech.     “I tend to agree,” said Collegiate High School senior Justin Amesbury.     Christina Larson, an adjunct professor at the University of West Florida, said Dowd’s message was inspiring.     “He’s one of the most powerful speakers I have ever heard and it gives me great hope, especially for the youth,” Larson said.     Concerned about the derisiveness in the world, Jeanette Debs, whose husband is pastor of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Valparaiso, agreed.     “I think it’s very hopeful,” she said.