Sunday, February 22, 2009

Houston, we have a sermon

by Michael Dowd

Today, Michael Dowd presented a special Sunday sermon at Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church in Houston, Texas. Click “Podcast” link below to listen.

Listen to podcast...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Charles Darwin!

by Michael Dowd
February 12th is Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday. While reflecting on the life and legacy of this great scientist and devoted husband and father, I’ve been struck by how an evolutionary understanding of the universe has, in fact, REALized my religious faith. I now enjoy all the benefits and blessings of religion from a place of knowledge rather than belief. When I look to the past, I am filled with awe and gratitude. When I look around me in the present, I feel love, compassion, and a desire to do everything I can to ensure a healthy world. And when I look to the future, including a future without me, I feel a deep and all-embracing trust.

Thanks to the role that Charles Darwin and countless other evolutionaries have played in enriching my faith and guiding my path, today I have no resentments, no secrets, and no unfinished business. More, I am able to ‘follow my bliss’ full-time with Connie Barlow, my perfect mission partner. If there’s a heaven on this side of death, surely this is it.

I hope you enjoy this second issue of The EVOLUTIONARY TIMES.

Listen to podcast...

Dowd Discovered

by Paul West

The next time you’re passing by your local newsstand, make sure and pick up a copy of the March 2009 issue of Discover magazine that asks the question, “Are we still evolving?” and refers to the role of America’s Evolutionary Evangelist, Michael Dowd.

“Harnessed to a supernatural dimension, the belief in evolution could itself evolve into a kind of religion. Witness the case of one Michael Dowd, an itinerant minister who calls himself an “evolutionary evangelist” and preaches the “holy trajectory” of evolution. “I thank God for the entire 14-billion-year epic of cosmic, biological, and human emergence,” he notes on his Web site. “Ironically, evolution gives us a more intimate and personal relationship with God because God is no longer far off, unnatural, and impotent. And it gives us a way of thinking about religion that helps us understand how and why religions are different, and how we can cooperate together. Both of these are, to my mind, really Good News.”

In imbuing science with a sense of personal meaning, Dowd resembles Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the Jesuit priest and paleontologist who envisioned humankind and the universe evolving in the direction of a divine, infinitely complex consciousness he called the Omega Point. But the two remain an extremely rare breed: devout believers in science whose teleological claims flout the rigors of scientific verification. Unlike Dowd and Teilhard de Chardin, Wilson espouses a strictly secular enthusiasm. However much they may disagree about the ends, though, these very different Darwinian thinkers agree on the means.

“Organisms evolve, and at the end of the day, we are organisms,” Wilson says. “You just can’t deny that.”

Read the full article on

Evolution as Meaningful, Inspiring Fact

by Michael Dowd

Yesterday I was interviewed on radio by an 'intelligent design' creationist who kept insisting, "There is absolutely no evidence for evolution!" I was amazed that this person was either unaware or dismissive of our collective best understandings of cosmic, Earth, geological, biological, and human history. Before the interview ended, I determined to write this blog post that offers links to some of the best and most highly regarded web pages and books on the creation-evolution debate. The first set below (mostly wikipedia pages) should be considered essential reading. The second set identifies some of the top books in the field. Beneath that, I have also included my favorite resources that show:

1. How factual knowledge gained through the full range of evolutionary sciences can legitimately and easily be interpreted as religiously inspiring—and why, at this time in history, it is so urgent and fruitful to do so;

2. How the arrow of cosmic complexity upon which the vast majority of the world's scientists agree can be viewed in spiritually nourishing and deeply empowering ways (teleologically or non-teleologically); and

3. Why it is wildly erroneous to believe that ancient mythic texts, an unnatural judge, or otherworldly carrots and sticks are necessary (or even helpful) for superior moral development and healthy societies.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Above the Clouds

by Loren Acton, NASA Astronaut

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked after my “astronaut” talks is some version of the following, “How was your view of God and religion changed by your flight?” My boring response is that my reaction was basically neutral. I returned with pretty much the same views, beliefs, and hang-ups as I had at launch. My particular hang-up was a continuing and profound disconnect between, on the one hand, what I’d been taught about God at home, in church, and at Bible school and, on the other, my convictions about values like fairness, justice, and love — as well as my life-long learning and experience in the scientific way of thinking.

Looking at Planet Earth and out into the Universe from space is truly an awesome experience. It is fantastic to be there as a knowledgeable observer, to appreciate the origin of this world and its place in the universe. Looking down on the clouds at night, lightning storms provide a never-to-be-forgotten show while in the day the storm clouds trace the great weather systems that make life as we live it possible. As a child I was led to believe that Heaven was somewhere, somehow up there above the clouds. The actual above-the-clouds experience is a whole lot better than myths of harps and streets of gold!

It is neat to understand that the same laws of nature that keep the moon in orbit about the earth and the earth about the sun are maintaining our space shuttle in its orbit of the earth. Thanks to our remarkable brains and a gradual intensification of learning, humankind has breathtaking knowledge of how things fit together, understandings unavailable to our richest and smartest forebears. The scientific method and the technology that it has engendered provide new, testable, and verifiable answers to questions of, for example, evolution and cosmology — questions of profound interest and importance, which in our ancestors’ day were strictly the province of priests and shamans.

I’m grateful that, thanks to Thank GOD for EVOLUTION and the concept that God is the universe, I am at last able to reconcile in a sensible way my life experience with God as expressed in the “night language” of friends and loved ones of many faiths around the world. It is really a wonderful thing to be able to use the word “God” without an internal grimace. If you, also, experience a disconnect between your spiritual life and your experiential life, I encourage you to try thinking about God and the universe in this positive and helpful way.

Evolution Weekend

  1. by Michael Zimmerman, The Clergy Letter Project

The fourth annual Evolution Weekend will be celebrated February 13-15, 2009. As of today, more than 1,000 congregations from many denominations and representing 15 countries are scheduled to participate.

Organized under the auspices of The Clergy Letter Project, an organization of more than 13,000 clergy and scientists from all corners of the globe, Evolution Weekend is an opportunity to accomplish a number of important goals:
  1. The yearly event has significantly raised the quality of the discourse about the relationship between religion and science. Rather than simply hearing such absurd statements as “If you believe in evolution, you’re going to hell,” participants have been able to discuss the positive ways that religion and science may play complementary roles in society;
  2. Like The Clergy Letter itself, Evolution Weekend strikingly makes the case that clergy from a host of religions and denominations, and from all around the world, have absolutely no trouble reconciling their deeply held religious beliefs with the tenets of modern science in general and evolution in particular; and
  3. Evolution Weekend conclusively demonstrates that the public battle taking place in statehouses and in front of local school boards, in the media and from some pulpits, is not one between religion and science but, rather is a battle between different religious ideologies. In this respect, Evolution Weekend participants are combating those who would have us believe that their particular brand of fundamentalism is the norm. Instead, Evolution Weekend participants are celebrating the fact that our understanding of religion and faith is both broader and deeper than what some would have us believe. They are also showing that we have room for people of many different faith traditions.

Evolution Weekend has been designed as a non-centralized celebration. Each participating congregation constructs an event that makes the most sense within that congregation’s local context. Over the years, some congregations have heard sermons delivered on the broad topic of the compatibility of religion and science (and you can read more than 100 of them on The Clergy Letter Project’s web pages while others have had a lunch discussion. Still other congregations have invited speakers to address them while others have watched pertinent DVDs. The important point is that in every case, the quality of the dialogue about the relationship between religion and science has been elevated.

Some have attacked the event by claiming that the intent has been to raise Darwin to the status of a saint and to pray to him. Nothing could be further from the truth. The event is more about Darwin’s ideas than about Darwin the individual. It is about demonstrating that the choice some demand be made between religion and science is a false dichotomy.

Others have said that the title of the event, Evolution Weekend, is too confrontational. They have indicated that their congregations would participate if the name were changed to something like Religion and Science Weekend. This is probably an accurate assessment. However, there are very important reasons why the name remains Evolution Weekend, even while the message is quite broad. Simply put, the most public battle between religion and science regularly occurs over the teaching of evolution. Because some believe that evolution is incompatible with their religious beliefs, they have regularly attempted to remove evolution from schools or to demand that some alternative, non-scientific view be taught alongside evolution. It is time for all of us to reclaim evolution, to promote the fact that evolution is absolutely central to all of biology and to many of the other sciences as well. To rename Evolution Weekend something else would be to miss this critical opportunity to help promote scientific literacy.

Despite these criticisms, support for Evolution Weekend continues to grow dramatically. Recently, for example, The Clergy Letter Project and Evolution Weekend have been formally endorsed by the United Methodist Church and by the Southeast Florida Diocese of the Episcopal Church.

If your congregation would like to participate in Evolution Weekend 2009, simply send an e-mail note with the name and location of your congregation to Michael Zimmerman. You’ll immediately be added to the growing list of participants

If you’re a member of the Christian clergy in the United States, you might want to add your signature to The Clergy Letter. Or if you’re an American rabbi, you might want to add your signature to The Rabbi Letter. Or, if you’re a scientist willing to work with clergy to answer scientific questions, you might want to add your name and expertise to The Clergy Letter Project’s list of scientific consultants. To do any of these things, just send a note to Michael Zimmerman.

Please help make Evolution Weekend 2009 the biggest and best yet.

Listen to report on
Michael Zimmerman is the founder and director of The Clergy Letter Project. Additionally, he is the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of biology at Butler University in Indianapolis.

Evolutionary Youth: the Great Story and the Next Generation

Generation Waking Up: Coming of Age at the Crossroads of Civilization 

by Joshua Gorman
"At the leading edge of our generation is a revolutionary new consciousness arising from the convergence of our deepest spiritual wisdom and cutting-edge scientific discoveries.  We are waking up to a breathtaking new cosmological vision revealing that Life is an unfolding evolutionary process of increasing complexity, creativity, and consciousness.  Wherein the past humans imagined that the world was born in one miraculous instance of creation, today we understand that Creation is a living and dynamic process that travels through the trail of Time, one that thus far has a 13 billion year history stretching from the Big Bang to our emerging 21st century Global Mind.

As we begin to fully comprehend this incredible new Story of Life and our human place within it, we are confronting the inescapable fact that we live in a participatory Universe, one that demands our active and conscious participation in bringing forth a positive future for all.  Never before has a generation had such a clear and compelling vision of where we have come from and where we are going.  As large numbers of our generation grasp onto this Big Picture of Life and are transformed by the greatest Story of all Time, we are being filled with a newfound passion for action and world-engagement."

Read this entire article in Kosmos journal...

Great Story Stuff for Kids!

created & compiled by Connie Barlow 
Learning the science-based STORY OF 14 BILLION YEARS of cosmic, planetary, life, and human evolution in fun and meaningful ways can be transformative for kids. Curriculum materials are available on a number of Great Story themes at All of the materials are intended for use by parents and teachers who wish to integrate a science-based understanding of the world and the cosmos with whatever spiritual or philosophical worldview the child is being raised within. These worldviews include liberal forms of Christianity and other religions of the Bible, humanism, paganism, religious naturalism, Buddhism, and more.

Learn more...

If you would like to contribute to this section or suggest a resource to be spotlighted, please contact

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Projects for "The Year of Evolution"

by Connie Barlow and Jon Cleland-Host
In mid January, Connie Barlow, Jon Cleland-Host, Michael Dowd, Joshua Gorman, and Tom Atlee all contributed brief summaries of ongoing and future projects among us that merit attention during this "Year of Evolution" (the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 150th of his On the Origin of Species).  Next we brainstormed on each project during a two-hour conference call.  Connie then compiled the short summaries into a pdf and posted them online.

A total of 26 projects are listed in that document.  Several are now complete and others are underway.  Most time-sensitive were two proposed by Jon-Cleland Host: "Darwin Day Worship Materials" and "Darwin Day Letters to
Editors."  Both were instigated by Jon, with additions and editing by Connie.  Both were completed on time, and an email was sent to a thousand Unitarian Universalist clergy and lay leaders to alert them to these resources in advance of Darwin Day, February 12.

If you are curious as to what we are up to, check out this link.  Only two or three of the 26 projects will require funding to pursue.  The rest we are just doing for the love of it.  Perhaps you, too, will be inspired to find a way to contribute your talents toward some service or project in this "Year of Evolution."

Download PDF...


We are excited to announce the initial launch of, an online community platform and companion website to This site will serve as a meeting ground where people of all religious traditions, scientific backgrounds, philosophies, and spiritual paths can come together to help create a movement and culture that celebrates meaningful interpretations of a science-based, evolutionary worldview. You will have the opportunity to post your ideas, questions, projects, and stories to the community discussion board, and to become part of a dynamic community of inspired individuals and organizations committed to a sacred and meaningful future. From Baptists to Buddhists to Big Bang theorists and beyond, all are encouraged to engage in fresh conversations about matters of ultimate concern and to learn how to apply this work to their own lives.
Join the community now at!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Traditional Religion's God Problem

by Michael Dowd

A holy view of evolution solves traditional religion's God problem.

What is 'traditional religion's God problem'? Simply this: If taken together and interpreted literally, the world's religious scriptures portray God in ways that we all know in our hearts cannot possibly be true. For example, all of us (even atheists!) know that God cannot possibly be schizophrenic, nor a tribal-cosmic terrorist. Yet that is precisely the view that the world's sacred texts collectively offer. That's traditional religion's God problem.

Please know that I am not exaggerating or overstating the case, and I'm certainly not dissing religion! It is an easily verifiable fact that if you look at the world's religious literature as a whole, God supposedly says and does lots of contradictory, mutually exclusive things. Some traditions say "God is like this, He said this, and He did that." Others say, "NO, God is like this, He (or She) said this, and did that." If all these tales are true, God is either schizophrenic or suffers from multiple personality disorder. Saying "our stories are true and all others are myth" doesn't make the problem go away for humanity as a whole. And it gets worse before it gets better...


Integrity: An Invitation to Religious Leaders

by Michael Dowd

I am writing and posting this blog shortly after President Obama's inauguration. It is intended to introduce a concept that has been growing inside me for several years and that aches to be launched for others to help shape. For now, I shall call this meme global integrity:

Global integrity is right relationship at and with all nested levels, from the personal to the planetary, valuing the past, benefitting the future.

I believe that promotion of this concept could play a crucial role in moving through the crises now facing our nation (and the world). It establishes an easy-to-understand frame for discerning helpful actions when problems would otherwise seem too big or complex. Global integrity, as I define it here, has a distinctly religious cast. Hence my invitation to religious leaders to join me in discerning what role religion can play in helping our new president and a newly hopeful citizenry in transitioning through this crisis.

Surely I am not alone is sensing that a brilliant, dedicated, and charismatic president absolutely depends on our help. It is only a matter of time before Mr. Obama explicitly calls upon religious leaders to undertake the task of restoring the moral and ethical fiber of individuals and institutions in our nation -- but this time with respect to failings that led to the financial/economic crisis we are now in and the ecological crisis that looms.

Integrity is not just about politicians' private parts or the private lives of citizens; it's about our survival as a species. If religious leaders were to make this shift in focus, we would most surely discover that differences in beliefs and many of the seemingly irresolvable contentions of the past few decades fade into the background. Instead, religious leaders of vastly different faiths and political leanings will find substantial common ground. The common ground, I suggest, is integrity. If religious institutions do not step into the task of vigorously working for more integrous relations and systems at all levels within society, then who will?


Free Chapter

by Editors

If you’ve heard about Thank GOD for EVOLUTION, but haven’t gotten a copy yet, we would like to invite you to download a free chapter and see what the buzz is about.

Thank GOD for EVOLUTION brings together believers and non-believers on both sides of the generations-old debate by showing how evolution is not meaningless blind chance; rather, it is the sacred story that embraces and includes all religions. As a Christian minister, Dowd addresses the concerns that many Christians have about evolution and offers insights that ring true to people of any spiritual tradition, or none at all.

For Dowd, “studying evolution is like following cosmic breadcrumbs home.” Drawing on the full range of cosmological, geological, biological, and human-related sciences, Thank GOD for EVOLUTION presents the history of the universe as an epic drama in which the generations alive today have a crucial role to play. It offers a shift in public perception on a scale not experienced since the Copernican Revolution or the Protestant and Catholic Reformations. By acknowledging the global, collaborative scientific endeavor as public revelation, we can newly appreciate the timeless insights within the private revelations of the world’s enduring religious traditions.

Moreover, Dowd shows how the discoveries of science—notably, evolutionary brain science and evolutionary psychology—offer astonishing gifts for understanding and overcoming the challenges in our personal lives and relationships. This, he declares is “the gospel according to evolution.”

Download Here...

Sign Up. Speak Out.

by Paul West

Public awareness about evolutionary spirituality is growing, and people everywhere are engaging in a new conversation about Creation. Rev. Dowd is regularly invited to speak to media across America and around the world about why he thanks God for evolution, and why he and Connie have committed their lives to teaching and preaching the ‘Gospel of Evolution.’

We would like to invite you to join the conversation and become one our movement’s media evolutionaries. Most major media outlets offer online opportunities to discuss personal views about the news. Reports regarding evolution are real conversation starters in many communities across the country, especially when they include the unorthodox perspective of an ordained, former fundamentalist who now evangelizes evolution as theology—and not just theory.

Here’s the opportunity.

Sign up as a media evolutionary, and help give voice to the millions in the middle who embrace both science and spirituality. We’ll email you whenever we find online opportunities for you to join—or even start—conversations in response to reports about Michael, his ministry, and our evolutionary movement. We won’t write anything additional for you to read. We’ll just send direct links to news response blogs where you can contribute as inspired.

Why bother?
Communication is key if we want to build lasting bridges between embattled fundamentalists on both sides of the debate over Darwin vs. Design. It’s been an either/or dialogue for decades, and now it’s time to hear from more both/and voices. According to annual polls, there are millions of us who see no conflict between faith and facts, religion and reason. Let’s speak up and share how seeing the world through evolutionary eyes has deepened our faith and renewed our religious experience.

Without an evolutionary understanding of who we are, where we came from, and where are going, we are doomed to remain divided and destined to fail as species. The gospel—or good news—of evolution is that the choice to evolve is now ours. We are no longer victims of a meaningless, mechanistic Universe or an angry, judgmental God. By living in evolutionary integrity, we are joining hands with the Universal forces that forged us from a barren, rock into life as we know it. Now, that’s good news to share!

Thanks for considering our invitation. We hope you’ll join the conversation!

Name: ------Email: ------

How and Why I'm a Pentecostal Evangelical

by Michael Dowd

Journalists and newscasters sometimes describe me as an 'evangelical minister' or ‘Pentecostal preacher', even though I speak far more often in moderate and liberal churches (and in secular settings) than I do in evangelical and Pentecostal venues. Not surprisingly, both religious liberals and conservatives genuinely ask, "In what sense do you consider yourself a Pentecostal evangelical?"

For thirty years I've proudly called myself a Pentecostal, though my political and theological views are by no means right-wing, and for the past two decades I've tended to say "evolutionary Pentecostal", for clarification. My experience in Pentecostal and evangelical contexts has been positive—indeed, salvific—and continues to nourish my life and work. I was raised Roman Catholic but struggled with sex, drug, and alcohol-related issues in my teens, during the mid 1970s. Soon after my 20th birthday, I had a born again experience and went on to graduate from an Assemblies of God college and a Baptist seminary. I pastored three churches in the 1980s and 90s and have been an itinerant evolutionary evangelist for the past seven years. Speaking in tongues (see below for my naturalized interpretation) has been a vital part of my spiritual practice for decades.

The primary reason I unabashedly call myself an evolutionary Pentecostal, however, is this: The core tenets of the evangelical-Pentecostal tradition accurately reflect the nature of the Universe and the human condition so long as they are REALized—that is, made real. And, yes, as I shall explain below, it is easy for an evolutionary evangelical to translate our basic statements of faith in natural, science-based (demythologized), and profoundly life-giving ways . . .

1. The faithfulness of God and the authority of God's word
2. The necessity of Christ and the centrality of the cross
3. The need for conversion
4. The call to live the gospel in word and deed


Responses to TGFE from Religious Leaders

A meta-religious movement is underway...

Religious luminaries from across the spectrum have resounding praised the evolutionary theology presented in Thank GOD for EVOLUTION. We’ve heard from Roman Catholics, Protestants, Quakers, Evangelicals, Unitarian Universalists, New Thought Leaders, Jews, Budhhists, Religious Naturalists, and more.

The Great Story/Big History: "To Educate the Human Potential"

by Michael Dowd

Last night Connie and I finished listening to David Christian's masterful 48 lecture (30 minutes each) Teaching Company course: Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity. As I enthusiastically shared in my last post: BIG HISTORY: THE TEACHING COMPANY, no one paints the big picture of cosmic, Earth, biological, and human history ("the Great Story") in all its scientific splendor more beautifully and powerfully than Professor Christian does in this course. (If you only do one thing for yourself educationally this year, I recommend this course above anything else!) Upon completion, I immediately thought of Maria Montessori's 1948 book, To Educate the Human Potential, which Thomas Berry turned me on to twenty years ago. In my opinion, Montessori's greatest gift to humanity (expressed wonderfully in this book) is this vital understanding:

When the Great Story—the epic of evolution, or universe story—is the foundation of education, students can excitedly learn who they are, where they came from, where things are headed, and how all scientific and educational disciplines fit into a coherent whole. More, their imaginations are sparked and they begin to wonder what role they themselves will play in the ongoing story—that is, what their own 'cosmic task' will be and thus how they too will leave their mark upon the world. What could possibly be more important? In Maria's own words...

Since it has been seen to be necessary to give so much to the child, let us give him a vision of the whole universe....


Metaphorical gods vs. Reality/God: Part 1

by Michael Dowd

I recently received an email from a woman who came to one of my programs, purchased some of our materials, and later had a few of her family members listen to a recording of a sermon of mine. She wrote:

"I wonder if you can answer a question. I had my son and at another time my son-in-law listen to your presentation and they came to the same conclusion: they both said that you reduced God down to a metaphor. Can you tell me that is not so?"

My response: Yes, this is not so! But the fact that two young men had pretty much the same reaction to my sermon suggests to me that either,

A. I'm not very good yet at assisting people in distinguishing imaginary gods from the real Creator, or

B. We as a species have a long way to go before we truly get the difference between trivial and realistic notions of the divine.


Metaphorical gods vs. Reality/God: Part 2

by Michael Dowd
The universe is real, not imaginary. We all know this. How is it, then, that in recent centuries and for many believers and nonbelievers alike, God as the Creator of the Universe has become less real than the Universe?

What I mean by "real" is precisely as a dictionary would define it—that is, "existing or occurring as fact; actual rather than imaginary, ideal, or fictitious." Here is another definition of real, drawn from the same webpage ( "being an actual thing; having objective existence; not imaginary." Thus my question: Is God today less real than the Universe?

In my previous blog post I offered that there is a radical and vital difference between objectively real answers to big-picture questions and anything we might subjectively say about how these issues impinge upon our lives—that is, how we interpret the meaning(s) of factual discoveries. Big-picture questions that seek factual and interpretive understandings would include: 'How did we get here?' 'How were we made?' 'Who is my brother, my sister, my neighbor?' 'Tell me about my ancestors?' 'Why is there death?' 'What can I trust?' 'What should I care about?' 'Where do I find hope and guidance?'

Below are 18 ways to begin thinking through this core distinction between what is objectively true and subjectively meaningful—applied to the questions and perspectives through which we make meaning of the world and find purpose, value, guidance, comfort, trust, and a satisfying sense of place and mission.


Even Rocks Evolve!

by Michael Dowd

All too often I hear evolution being dismissed by scriptural literalists as "Darwin's theory," or "just a theory." For them, understanding of the natural processes of evolution seems to be stuck at the scientific evidence available during the famous Scopes Trial in the 1920s. That is, for them the evolutionary paradigm pertains only to biology - specifically, how the vast diversity of species emerged out of less complex, less diverse forms.

But today, the term 'evolution' applies to far, far more. Consider this historical sequence:


Responses to Our Public Presentations

by Michael Dowd

Since the beginning of our full-time itinerant evo-evangelistic work, in early 2002, Connie and I have addressed more than a thousand religious and non-religious audiences across North America. We are both humbled and thrilled at how the Evolution Theology (Evo-Theo) message we have been called to communicate resonates with the vast majority of those to whom we've presented, from Catholics and Quakers, to Baptists and Buddhists, to UUs and gurus. We are also grateful for the generous, enthusiastic comments of Nobel laureates and other science and religion luminaries who read Thank God for Evolution (TGFE) and offered their feedback and endorsements. I wrote about responses from science leaders a few weeks ago and about responses from religous leaders yesterday. What follows is a sampling of responses to our sermons, seminars, and other public presentations, from teachers in various secular and religious contexts, as well as from religious leaders and congregants across the theological spectrum, grouped by religous orientation.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Public School Battles Continue

by Michael Dowd

"AUSTIN - In a major defeat for social conservatives, a sharply divided State Board of Education voted Thursday to abandon a longtime state requirement that high school science teachers cover what some critics consider to be "weaknesses" in the theory of evolution." Dallas Morning News, 22 January 2009

Louisiana (here, too) and Mississippi also have important decisions pending that will influence the teaching of science in public schools.

No matter how these particulars unfold, my prediction is this:

"Until the majority of churches in America preach evolution enthusiastically from the pulpit and teach evolution in inspiring ways in religious education classes, we will never see an end to the science and religion war in America."

For those parents and pastors who truly do believe that exposure to the evolutionary sciences will lead children to question their faith, and especially if a loss of that particular faith (say, scriptural literalism) consigns the child to suffering for eternity in Hell, then of course the war shall continue, even as particular battles are won and lost.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Connie's Corner: WHAT’S NEW on The Great Story website

  • by Connie Barlow

Leading up to Darwin’s 200th birthday, I have posted a number of new pages on
  • Photo-essay of a pilgrimage I made in 1994 to Charles Darwin’s home in England
  • Photo-essay of a pilgrimage Michael Dowd and I made this month to NASA’s Apollo Flight Center in Houston. The actual room where the Apollo missions were directed is now a historical monument. We regard it as a “Sacred Site of the Epic of Evolution”.
  • because the Apollo missions provided the world with the first photographs of the whole Earth from space — that is, the first opportunity for Earth itself (via the human psyche) to admire Earth’s great beauty.
  • Summary list of the 26 projects and proposals that they (and collaborating colleagues) are engaged in that would promote a sacred and practical understanding of evolution in many different venues.
  • Suggestions for and links to Worship Materials for Evolution Sunday, contributed by Unitarian Universalist lay leader (and scientist) Jon Cleland-host.
  • Essay by Connie Barlow that summarizes her work and philosophy in in bringing the Epic of Evolution into religious education for children.
  • A short proposal written by Connie Barlow to stimulate the funding and creation of a website to foster musician and videographer collaborations to produce a new form of music video to assist contemplation and sing-along at worship services of liberal churches, on the themes of evolution and ecology, from an interfaith perspective.
  • PDF of the landmark essay, “The Sacred Emergence of Nature,” by Ursula Goodenough and Terry Deacon. There is no better way to enter the new paradigm of emergent evolution — both the science of it and the religious implications.
  • Online access for purchasing a new CD of songs for praise worship and evolutionary revivals. The CD is by The Cosmic All Stars, with original songs by Keith Mesecher.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Best 2007-2008 Blog Posts & Interviews

by Michael Dowd

One of the delightful challenges that Connie and I face in our Great Story-telling ministry is trying to speak meaningfully to a wide variety of religious and non-religous groups. What follows are what I and others consider to be my best blog posts written during the past year and a half (since I began blogging), and the best interviews with me or us.