Reverend Michael Dowd and his wife Connie Barlow are nomadic evolutionary evangelists who have been on the road since 2002, speaking to more than 2,000 audiences. In their reality, evolution and religion are not in conflict; both can happily sit next to each other on the same pew. A primary goal of their mission is teaching folks about sustainability. For them, right relationship to reality is what ultimately matters. We must be in right relationship with the soil, water, and life of this planet. If we don’t get right with reality, we’re going to perish.
Their Grace Limits webpage provides links to an impressive collection of information on sustainability, including books, essays, and videos. Dowd has read a number of books and essays aloud, recording them as MP3 files (with the authors’ permission). They are available to download, free of charge. Some of the books he has recorded include Overshoot by William Catton, The Green History of Religion by Anand Veeraraj, Afterburn by Richard Heinberg, The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant, Learning to Die in the Anthropocene by Roy Scranton, and four books by John Michael Greer.
A root issue is the rejection of science — separation from reality. Among fundamentalist Christians, 76 percent do not believe in evolution, 58 percent do not believe in climate change, and 77 percent deny that the universe is billions of years old. According to 41 percent, we’re now living in the End Times, so there is no point in worrying about the health of creation. The future doesn’t matter. Religious youth are abandoning faith in record numbers. Rates of teen pregnancy, obesity, spouse abuse, and porn addiction are highest in the most religiously conservative, Bible-centered parts of America.
I was impressed by how far Dowd’s thinking was from the perplexing theology I struggled with in my youth. For example, Reality Reconciles Science and Religion is an 18-minute TEDx talk he gave in 2014. He tells us that he is an evolutionary theologian, or a big history evangelist. He teaches the gospel of right relationship with reality — especially factual realism. Reality is my god. Evidence is my scripture. Big history is my creation story. Ecology is my theology. Integrity is my salvation. Ensuring a just and healthy future is my mission (for the entire family of life).
Michael Dowd’s home page is HERE.
Connie Barlow’s home page is HERE.
HERE is info on Dowd’s book, Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World.