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Thank God for Evolution! by Michael Dowd

from Michael Blume, 08. July 2009, 06:02
Ever heard this call? Christian theologian and itinerant preacher Michael Dowd and his wife, evolutionary biologist Connie Barlow, are espousing exactly that across religious and secular institutions in the US. And Dowd's respective book, endorsed by renowned voices from religions and sciences including some nobel prize winners, turns out to be a successful story.

Thank God for Evolution! by Michael Dowd

Evolutionary Christianity

What Dowd is presenting is a "marriage" between science and religion. In this perspective, science is understood as God's "public relevation", which should be sought and cherished by believers and nonbelievers alike. Religiosity is acknowledged as part of Human Nature inducing personal experiences which should be turned into peace- and meaningful forms of engagement. To Dowd, the Universe unfolding through billions of years is a sacred "Great Story", i.e. showing that all living beings are formed out of stardust. To Dowd, the grand evolution of ever-new live is also telling us about the necessity of death - a fundamental truth he finds in Jesus' way, too.

Here I found the (self-confident and humourus) book-trailer:

Classic topics of religious traditions gain new aspects from this evolutionary perspective: For example, the narrations about the Expulsion from Paradise and "Original Sin" are understood by Dowd as powerful symbols of a scientific relevations (that is here: evolutionary psychology): That we Homo Sapiens got brains whose structures evolved under very different circumstances, bestowing all of us with unique sets of "sinful" impulses as Greed, unfaithful Lust, Aggression etc. Evolutionary Spirituality would thus be understood as learning to cope with our Natural and Cultural heritage in order to be able to live in integrity. Dowd sincerely hopes to bridge the gaps leading to the infamous "Culture Wars" between scientific and religious strata during the last century. And from the perspective of the scientific study of religion, the personal reviews of TGFE in are indeed very interesting!

Refreshing theology

From the background of my scientific field - empirical and biological studies in the evolution of human religiosity - I feel not inclined to judge theologies. But I might say that Dowd and Barlow are offering a refreshing new perspective to debates which have stagnated far too long. What's more, it might offer an alternative to fundamentalist creationism and Intelligent Design (as discussed in the clip below). Extreme people on either sides might resist the bridge-building-effort - but the rest of us might enjoy an (at least!) surprising and encouraging read!

See also: The German debate about "Dankt Gott für die Evolution!"

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Natur des Glaubens: Was bedeutet Evolution für Sie?
Biology of Religion: Evolution and the Personification of the Universe
Biology of Religion: Evolutionary Theism on the Rise!?
Biology of Religion: Beauty in Evolution? Enjoying the Story of Life
Biology of Religion: Evolution of Religion - Darwin Year Book Review
Natur des Glaubens: Der Gottesinstinkt - Evolutionäre Religionsforschung in Deutsch


  1. Corneel correction
    09.07.2009 | 13:30

    You got away with it before, but not this time:
    Genus name should be capitalised, species name not. Also, both should be italicized: Homo sapiens

    Thank you.

  2. Michael Blume Thank God for the Correction! ;-)
    09.07.2009 | 20:33

    And if we ever have the chance to meet, our first drinks have to go on my bill, Corneel! :-)

    Best greetings to you and all Homo sapiens, respective Homo religiosus around! :-)


  3. Corneel Free drinks. Yea!
    10.07.2009 | 13:02

    Michael said:
    And if we ever have the chance to meet, our first drinks have to go on my bill, Corneel!

    Haha, I am looking forward to that :-)

  4. Michael Dowd Thanks, Michael!
    20.07.2009 | 04:22

    Thanks for such a positive review of my book and Connie's and my evo-evangelistic ministry, Michael!

    FYI...I was just interviewed on Fox & Friends this morning. Here's a link to the video clip:

    Co-evolutionary blessings,

    ~ Michael

  5. Michael Blume You are welcome! :-)
    26.07.2009 | 09:43

    Dear Michael,

    thanks for your kind post!

    Working from an evolutionary perspective, I was positively surprised to read your book. It was fascinating to see that theologicians don't have to take science defensively, but could embrace it without giving up their religious identity.

    And I am glad to say that the German post on "Thank God for evolution" has already been read several hundred times.
    See here:

    All the best to you, Connie and the science-religion bridgebuilding, preaching and teaching you are doing together!

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