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  • Thanking God for Evolution | Thank God For Evolution
    of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World Dowd was raised a Roman Catholic but later moved to fundamentalist Pentecostalism As a student at Evangel College he was sure that Satan had taken over when he discovered that a biology text included a discussion of evolution His views changed as he conversed with colleagues he respected and with a Buddhist monk who impressed him with his Christian behavior Today he and his wife Connie Barlow a science writer travel the country preaching evolutionary theology and spirituality They have no home but drive a trailer and live where they find hospitality Evolution he says is public revelation based on scientific evidence and methods Faith by contrast is private revelation Dowd begins with the 14 billion year evolutionary process telling the story in a sacred way hearing the message of God in the unfolding The vast majority of scientists he notes including most advocates of intelligent design accept the reality of evolution He likens the universe to Russian nesting dolls or nesting centers of creativity Thus there are sub atomic particles within atoms within molecules within creatures within the earth within the universe Using this image God is the largest nesting doll the whole both transcendent greater than any one thing or creature and immanent a part of everything Thus nature does not exist for human beings human beings exist to serve nature or the whole or God Dowd thus understands human beings as growing from the process of evolution We are he says nature reflecting on itself with the power to save the earth to immunize it against disasters like comets for example and to reverse the current trend of global warming This ethic he says is what it means today to know love and serve God Although

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/834 (2016-04-30)
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  • Michael and Connie on New Dimensions | Thank God For Evolution
    Chapter Audiobook Table of Contents Study Guides FAQ Resources The Great Story Huffington Post Blog News Recent Archives Blog Recent Archives Huffington Post Blog Get Involved Evangelize Posters Flyers Donate Testimonials Subscribe Study Guides Media Audio Video Flyers Posters Schedule Store The Great Story Search Michael and Connie on New Dimensions New Dimensions Media EVOLUTIONARY SPIRITUALITY BRIDGING THE SPECTRUM OF BELIEF Guest Connie Barlow Michael DowdHost Craig Hamilton Click here to listen to the program Program Description Can evolutionary science and religious faith ultimately find common ground And moreover is it possible that evolution might not only be reconciled with religion but in fact become the very foundation of a rich new spiritual vision For Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd the answer is an unequivocal yes For the past four years Connie and Michael have been traveling continuously throughout the U S and Canada sharing their passion for what they call evolutionary spirituality with religious and secular audiences across the spectrum of belief Michael Dowd points out Understanding a new directionality to the flow of evolution as a whole is leading to an emergence of greater complexity interdependence cooperation on a larger and wider scale In addition to being life

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/835 (2016-04-30)
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  • Finding My Religion | Thank God For Evolution
    is through feelings circumstances and relationships God uses whatever technologies and communication tools we have at any given moment Before there was written language people communicated through stories So God communicated with humans through stories rituals and rites of passage When writing came into existence God could then inspire people to write things down And when science developed as a way of organizing written language then God was able to use science to communicate What do you think God is When I use the word God what I m referring to is the whole of reality seen and unseen transcendent and immanent measurable and nonmeasurable An analogy that I often use is nesting dolls you know the Russian nesting dolls That s a small doll that fits inside a larger doll inside of an even larger doll and so on Yeah There s a fundamental truth about the nature of the universe about reality itself which is like these nesting dolls What view is this It s the idea that reality consists of nested forms of creativity and intelligence That is we have subatomic particles within atoms atoms within molecules molecules within cells cells within organisms organisms within planets planets within galaxies And at every level there is an intelligence that the other levels don t have access to I mean no matter how smart my kidney cells get they re never going to fully comprehend the wisdom and intelligence of my body because they re a part of it What does that have to do with God If this idea of nested intelligence is a fundamental truth that we can agree on then what shall we name the ultimate reality the only form of intelligence that s not a subset of some larger reality or creativity Traditional names for that ultimate reality have been the Goddess or God or Allah or as the Greeks refer to it Kosmos We realize that we have different names and understandings of this ultimate reality because we re a subset of it How does science fit into that view If God is a sacred name for the whole of reality then scientists are empirical theologians that is everything we learn about the nature of reality we re learning something about the divine I want to ask you about your own personal story For a while you were an anti evolutionary fundamentalist How did that happen I was raised a Catholic but then had a born again experience when I was a teenager and that s when I became a fundamentalist I would stand outside where people were teaching about evolution and pass out pamphlets I used to argue with anybody who thought the world was more than 6 000 years old What changed your view I embraced evolution for two reasons One was that most of the faculty at Evangel University a Christian school where I was a student believed in evolution So I couldn t write them off as being demonically possessed

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/832 (2016-04-30)
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  • Are you older than dirt? Nah. But water ... | Thank God For Evolution
    the big questions such as where humans came from The Adam and Eve story helps us understand 3 000 years ago he said It speaks poetic and mythic truth but it s not evidential But now Dowd said science is catching up with religion and that not only can the two coexist they can thrive He will explain at a free workshop called Thank God for Evolution How Science and Religion Are Spurring Each Other on to Greatness from 7 to 9 15 p m Thursday at the Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater 2470 Nursery Road Evolution will usher religion into its greatness in the 21st century Dowd said Asked about Dowd s grasp of science an associate professor of geology at the University of South Florida neither embraced nor dismissed everything Dowd said about the origins of the Earth For example Dowd s hypothesis about water is sort of a strange way of looking at it but it is in the ballpark said Peter J Harries who specializes in mass extinction paleoecology and invertebrate paleontology There is a lot of debate in the scientific community about water and that no one really knows yet how it accumulated on the surface of the Earth whether it came from comets or volcanic activity Harries said He also said that no one really knows if it rained for hundreds or thousands of years as Dowd suggests He did say the Earth was probably formed about 5 billion years ago While Dowd s approach is simplistic in its essence it s true Harries said For five years Dowd 48 and his wife Connie Barlow 54 a science writer have lived on the road traveling all over the United States and Canada in a white Dodge Sprinter van they christened Angel Using a prop they call a cosmic rosary with different beads marking each event in the universe s history they give talks to religious and secular groups helping them to understand evolution in a sacred way Dowd was born in Twentynine Palms Calif and spent his teen years in Miami He attended the University of Miami for a year before joining the U S Army While in Berlin serving as a military police officer he was born again and started attending church with evangelical Christians He said pastors and church members taught him that evolution was of the devil and that it was antithetical to the word of God and would seduce people away from godly thinking and living I was willing to debate anyone who thought the world was more than 6 000 years old Dowd said But when he enrolled in Evangel University in Springfield Mo which is affiliated with the Assemblies of God he was shocked that the faculty taught evolution in biology class Slowly he began to embrace evolution He graduated with a bachelor s degree in biblical studies and philosophy He got his master s in divinity from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia which is affiliated with the

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/844 (2016-04-30)
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  • Ex-pastor feels called to promote evolution | Thank God For Evolution
    about why Christians should embrace evolution As a Pentecostal background pastor who finds salvation in accepting that the universe is 14 billion years old and who believes our behavior can be accounted for by not only the apes but also the lizards in our ancestry he s a popular oddity on the lecture circuit This week and next the author of Thank God for Evolution will be giving several talks in the area I come out of the Pentecostal charismatic style he said I m all over the place Nobody gets bored at these meetings Mr Dowd grew up Catholic but later converted to spirit filled Pentecostalism and began to speak in tongues Early on he also believed the biblical accounts of creation to be literally true and fervently rejected evolution But through the years he encountered Christians who believed that evolution and faith could be reconciled In February 1988 he recalled he attended a seminar and wept at coming to understand the scientific explanation of the universe as a sacred epic He said he knew then that his life s mission was to be an evangelist for evolution Mr Dowd employs such terms as the nested emergent nature of divine creativity in arguing that evolution does not suggest a godless universe He also says evolutionary theology offers hope for those who struggle with addiction and other problems The way forward begins with this simple truth Your greatest difficulties while your responsibility are ultimately not your fault he writes Such challenges spring from inherited proclivities that served the survival and reproductive interests of our human and pre human ancestors Later in the book he s more specific Inclinations toward excess with regard to food sex and feel good substances are deeply rooted in our reptilian brain In his book he

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/856 (2016-04-30)
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  • Welcome to the Ecozoic Era | Thank God For Evolution
    Vatican suppressed his writings which remained unpublished until after his death In the late twentieth century influenced by those earlier scientists Passionist priest Father Thomas Berry and mathematical cosmologist Brian Swimme originated the Great Story concept merging scientific understanding with a reverence for the universe In the 1970s and 1980s as director of the Riverdale Center of Religious Research in New York Berry gave a series of lectures on spirituality and ecology which were later revised and collected into The Dream of the Earth and The Great Work Dowd calls them the Great Story movement s earliest scripture It s all a question of story Berry wrote in The Dream of the Earth We are in trouble just now because we do not have a good story We are in between stories The old story the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it is no longer effective Our traditional story of the universe sustained us for a long period of time It shaped our emotional attitudes provided us with life purposes and energized action We need something that will supply in our times what was supplied formerly by our traditional religious story If we are to achieve this purpose we must begin where everything begins in human affairs with the basic story our narrative of how things came to be how they came to be as they are and how the future can be given some satisfying direction Berry has often been quoted as saying the Bible should be put on the shelf for twenty years while attention is paid to the primary sacrament the Universe itself In 1982 Berry met physicist Brian Swimme and the two began to build a movement speaking writing and gathering together artists scientists ecologists religious thinkers and educators interested in their idea of a new story In 1992 they coauthored the movement s classic telling of the Epic of Evolution called The Universe Story From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era Berry now 91 calls himself a geologian rather than a theologian He believes we are in the midst of a shift to what he calls the Ecozoic Era Scientists typically characterize new eras by a massive change usually caused by catastrophic breakdown for example the extinction of the dinosaurs which scientists call the fifth major mass extinction brought about the inception of the current Cenozoic Era In Berry s view the ecological disasters happening all around us including the sixth major mass extinction are signs that this deep time shift is happening again that a new era is about to begin or in fact has already begun But the Great Story s message is ultimately one of hope Its proponents believe that if enough people will embrace a new way of looking at the world and humanity s role in it we can become agents of a creative evolutionary process and live in a mutually enhancing relationship with all life on Earth It is a utopian vision but not an impossible one they say W e are in the midst of a revelatory experience of the universe that must be compared in its magnitude with those of the great religious revelations Swimme wrote in an essay in The Reenchantment of Science And we need only wander about telling this new story to ignite a transformation of humanity That s where Barlow and Dowd enter the story Dowd compares his own spiritual journey to St Paul s experience on the road to Damascus falling blind then seeing a new vision For years in his pre UU days as a conservative Christian pastor he had proclaimed evolution was of the devil and the root of most social problems He would argue with anybody who d listen passing out tracts boycotting classes and demonstrating at events where evolution was discussed Then in 1988 as pastor of a church in western Massachusetts he took a class on The New Catholic Mysticism with poet Albert LaChance who had studied with Berry and Swimme Dowd has written about hearing the Great Story for the first time I began to tremble Goosebumps broke out all over my arms and legs Then I heard that unmistakably familiar voice of Great Heart my Lord say to me Michael your calling and destiny is to evangelize the world with this good news The science based story of an emerging universe and the Bible are not in conflict They are mutually enriching Show others how this is so and live it For more than a decade Dowd awaited further instruction continuing as a pastor until leaving fellowship with the United Church of Christ in 1995 In his free time he studied the Great Story meeting with Berry and others in the movement Then in 2000 he got a second message A friend had invited him to a Pentecostal charismatic service near his childhood home in Poughkeepsie New York During the service he recalls she said she had a word from the Lord for me My son I have called thee home to reveal thy true mission Step out boldly with thy beloved and fear not For I will bless thy steps and thy ministry more abundantly than thou canst imagine While the King James English amused Dowd he was intrigued by the phrase with thy beloved He thought to himself You d better get moving dude You don t even have a girlfriend Several months later at a talk given by Swimme in New York City Dowd met Connie Barlow and the pair discovered their shared passion for spreading the Great Story In seven months they were married Like their message the couple embodies the marriage of science and religion The author of Green Space Green Time and The Ghosts of Evolution Barlow calls herself a classic humanist who operated from her analytical left brain Then in the 1980s she came across Huxley s Religion Without Revelation which used a language of reverence to describe

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/833 (2016-04-30)
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  • Thank God For Evolution
    Media Audio Video Flyers Posters Schedule Store The Great Story Search A publishing event of rare significance this exhilarating book moves us at last beyond false separations of science and religion With true evangelical fervor it liberates both heart and mind in service to the great adventure of our time the rediscovery of our mutual belonging and our kinship with all life With breathtaking clarity Michael Dowd not only treats

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/961 (2016-04-30)
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  • The Evidential Reformation: Humanity Comes of Age | Thank God For Evolution
    faced the frightening truth that ancient understandings were not in fact the best maps of what is real This challening process is still facing much of the world as traditional religous beliefs are increasingly found to be obsolete when interpreted literally Some individuals were thrilled at the prospect of participating in this threshold event of valuing measurable observation rationality and collectively encouraged skepticism and testing as the preferred means for discerning what s real and what s important In the 19th century these natural philosophers became known as scientists The two institutions responsible for ensuring that the self interest of individuals and groups are aligned namely governance and religion were impacted differently by the rise of modern science Democratic forms of governance were the first to embrace evidence as authoritative Religions are only now beginning to catch up and to not only experience the terror but also taste the thrill of what the Evidential Reformation offers Like any rite of passage once one voluntarily steps through the threshold there is no integrous and healthy way of going back So of course there are shrill voices of protest and deep institutional inertia But ultimately this shift will happen One by one segment by segment the great religions of the world will pass through the threshold else they will wither and the new generations will leave them entirely behind Idolatry of the Written Word as Today s Greatest Impediment What the Evidential Reformation offers for religion is centrally this Science reveals God s word for humanity today that is what s real and what s important or how things are and which things matter far more accurately than the Bible or Qur an could ever hope to And Moses Jesus the Apostle Paul and the Prophet Mohammad would surely be among the first to applaud this trend were they alive today Yet until faith leaders become a whole lot bolder in proclaiming to their flocks the goodness and necessity of this shift religious people will remain blind and deaf to what God Reality personified is revealing today through scientific historic and cross cultural evidence And that means that God Reality will continue using the New Atheists to mock unchanging religious beliefs and those who espouse such beliefs The main hindrance to religious people wholeheartedly embracing evidence as divine communication divine guidance i e how Reality reveals itself has been what I have long been characterizing as idolatry of the written word also here Idolatry of the written word occurred anywhere in the world where ancient oral stories which surely evolved for millennia as conditions and needs changed became frozen into unchanging scripture scripture that was then deemed as the foundational even the sole locus for discerning priorities values right thinking and right behavior This shift from oral storytelling to unchanging scripture as the way wisdom morality and a sense of the sacred supreme value is generationally passed forward set the stage albeit centuries later for a profound and now exponentially expanding mismatch

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2143 (2016-04-30)
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