With evidence from contemporary astrophysics, biology, anthropology, and evolutionary psychology, "Thank God for Evolution" lays out a compelling argument for how religion and science can be mutually enriching forces. Illustrations throughout.
The Reverend Michael Dowd is Americaandrsquo;s evolutionary evangelist. He and his wife, Connie Barlow, an acclaimed science writer, have traveled the country sharing their sacred view of cosmic, biological, and human evolution. Equally at home in both conservative and liberal settings, and uniquely gifted at building bridges between religious and nonreligious people, Rev. Dowd is passionate about sharing the fourteen-billion-year epic of evolution in ways that uplift and expand heart, mind, and soul. During the 1980s and 90s, Dowd was pastor of three United Church of Christ congregations, and has worked with diverse religious leaders across the country on environmental initiatives, peace and justice issues, and social reform. He holds a Master of Divinity degree. Rev. Dowd has served on the boards of the North American Conference on Christianity and Ecology; the Ohio Conference United Church of Christ (UCC) Integrity of Creation, Justice, and Peace task force; and the Hudson Valley Sustainable Communities Network. He has also served on the steering committees of the International Network of Biblical Storytellers and the UCC Network for Environmental and Economic Responsibility.
Thank God for Evolution Preface
Prologue: Personal Journey
The Marriage of Science and Religion
Itinerant Evolutionary Evangelism
From "Adam and Eve" to Usand Beyond
Science and Religion Spurring Each Other to Greatness
Part I. The Holy Trajectory Of Evolution
Chapter 1. Our Big Picture Understanding of Reality
Stories Within Stories
What Is the Great Story?
From Shape-Shifting Story to Unchanging Scripture
Chapter 2. Evolution Is Not Meaningless Blind Chance
Interpreting Our Immense Journey
The Mythopoeic Drive
Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle
The Role of Strife
The Role of Cooperation
The Role of Initiative
Chapter 3. Evolution and the Revival of the Human Spirit
The Universe Can Be Trusted
You Are Part of the Universe
Accept What Is and Be in Integrity
Grow in Evolutionary Integrity
Trusting the Universe Means Welcoming Challenges
Part II. Reality Is Speaking
Chapter 4. Private and Public Revelation
The Birth and Maturation of Public Revelation
Flat-Earth Faith Versus Evolutionary Faith
Toward an Evolutionary Christianity
Facts Are God's Native Tongue
Chapter 5. The Nested Emergent Nature of Divine Creativity
Thank God for the Hubble Telescope!
We Are Made of Stardust
The Gifts of Death
Litany: "The Gifts of Death"
Chapter 6. Words Create Worlds
Experiencing God Versus Thinking About God
The Split Between Religion and Science
From Clockwork "It" to Creative "Thou"
Day and Night Language
Chapter 7. What Do We Mean by the Word "God"?
No Less Than a Holy Name for the Whole
Prayer in a Nestedly Creative Cosmos
A Personal, Undeniable God
God or the Universe: What's in a Name?
The Role of Humanity in an Evolving Universe
Being "Faithful to God"
Part III. The Gospel According To Evolution
Chapter 8. Growing an Evolutionary Faith
Genesis in Context
Don't Throw Out the Apple
Chapter 9. REALizing "The Fall" and "Original Sin"
Lessons from Evolutionary Brain Science
Lessons from Evolutionary Psychology
Resurrecting "The Fall"
Your Brain's Creation Story
Reclaiming "Original Sin"
Chapter 10. REALizing "Personal Salvation"
The Challenges of Our Lizard Legacy
Furry Li'l Mammal to the Rescue
Thank God for Our Higher Porpoise!
Discerning Your Calling Exercise
Salvation Through Evolutionary Integrity
The DNA of Deep Integrity
Christ-like Evolutionary Integrity
REALizing "Saving Faith"
REALizing "the Gospel"
Part IV. Evolutionary Spirituality
Chapter 11. Evolutionary Integrity Practices
Taming Our Money Mind
Taming Our Lizard Legacy
Growing in Trust: Nurturing Humility and Faith
REALizing "Love Your Enemies"
Growing in Authenticity: REALizing "Remove the Plank"
Growing in Compassion/Responsibility: REALizing "Judge Not"
Growing in Gratitude: REALizing "Love God and Your Neighbor"
Chapter 12. Evolving Our Most Intimate Relationships
Touch and Tenderness
Playfulness and Humor
Meaningful Songs and Rituals
Synergy and Service
Chapter 13. Transformed by the Renewal of Your Mind
Deep Integrity Affirmations
Imagination Matters! Upgrading Your Mental Software
Part V. A "God-Glorifying" Future
Chapter 14. Collective Sin and Salvation
Wrongdoing in a Nestedly Emergent Universe
Collective Sin in an Age of Information
Cofronting Institutional Sin
Chapter 15. The Wisdom of Life's Collective Intelligence
On Earth As It Is in Heaven
Collective Deep Integrity
Conversation and Creative Emergence
Co-Intelligent Social Technologies
The Core Commons
Cultivating Discernment Within the Whole
Co-creating Our Evolutionary Spiritualities
Chapter 16. Knowing the Past Reveals Our Way Forward
The Cosmic Century Timeline
Aligning Self-Interest with the Well-being of the Whole
Who and What Are We, Really? And Why Are We Here?
Our Sense of Self and Our Role in the Body of Life
Chapter 17. Beyond Sustainability: An Inspiring Vision
Major Challenges in the Next 250 Years
Long-term and Short-term Positive Trends
Likely Good News in the Next 250 Years
Chapter 18. Our Evolving Understanding of "God's Will"
Responding to Critics Who Reject Religion Because of Scripture
Transcending Biblical Values and Scriptural Morality
REALizing "Holy Scripture" and "Divine Revelation"
Public Revelation: "The Ever-Renewing Testament"
REALizing Godly Morality and Ethics
Wider Critics of Care, Compassion, and Commitment
REALizing "Jesus as God's Way, Truth, and Life"
Appendix A. "Good and Bad Reasons for Believing" by Richard Dawkins
Appendix B. Realizing the Miraculous
Miracles Through the Ages
REALizing "the Virgin Birth"
REALizing "Christ's Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven"
Who's Who and Sources of Quotations