The Rev. Michael Dowd gave up most of his earthly possessions six years ago and began traveling the country by van with his wife, published science writer Connie Barlow.
Their mission: to create a mobile ministry that teaches evolution as theology, not theory.
Dowd’s form of evangelism asserts that facts are God’s language – the latest form of revelation from a higher being.
He explains these ideas in his book “Thank God for Evolution,” which the Viking-Penguin publishing group recently purchased the rights to.
Dowd brought his cosmic view of the gospel to Bastyr University for a six-hour workshop on April 19.
The Reporter spoke with him prior to his visit.
How would you summarize your theory of evolutionary theology?
The whole evolution-theology movement is about is taking the best understanding that we have about the nature of the universe and communicating it in the most inspiring and religiously-nourishing way possible.
Why does evolution theology work?
People tend to think everybody’s going to embrace their views of reality. That’s not the way things work. There are going to be Christians, and Muslims, and Buddhists and Jews, but within the next 50 years, I think most of them will interpret their core insights in light of an evolutionary-theological world view. I believe evolution will usher religion into its greatness in the 21st Century.
You used to be an anti-evolution fundamentalist. What was the turning point?
I accepted evolution when I was involved in Pentecostal Charismatic Christianity through the Assemblies of God from 1978 to ‘84. I accepted it, but didn’t embrace it.
In 1988, I was introduced to ideas of Thomas Berry and Brian Sweeney, both of whom are Catholics. The way that they told this epic of evolution was so inspiring to me, so life-changing in a real way. It helped me see myself and my relationship to my religious tradition differently. I understood why some of the core elements of my old faith were actually larger and more meaningful.
Why weren’t you able to embrace evolution earlier?
With the preaching and teaching I was exposed to, there was a perspective that God’s revelation was only in the Bible. Given that idea, some of the things that science has been saying about the nature of reality don’t necessarily jibe with the Biblical understanding. As long as I had this idea that the best understandings of God were incased in the Bible and everything else was secular, then it became really grey. I later realized that grace and guidance and revelation are ongoing.
God didn’t stop communicating truth back when people thought the world was flat and religious insights were recorded on animal skins.
Do you believe in Christ as God?
I experience Christ as God. It’s gone beyond belief. I grew up as a Catholic, and I’ve had a personal relationship with Christ ever since, but where I used to call myself a “religious believer,” I now call myself a “religious knower.” I don’t merely believe in God, I know God.
Does evil exist
Yes. I’ve experienced it and participated in it, like everyone else.
For me, evil is not something that I need to believe in or not. It’s a fact – a reality that all of