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A Message From Rev. Michael Dowd
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This book is intended for the broadest of audiences. The ideas have been evolving within and beyond me during five years of living and working entirely on the road, as a once traditionally religious and now exuberantly born-again evolutionary evangelist. From gothic cathedrals to cozy livingrooms, from gatherings of evangelical students to meetings of campus freethinkers, from university departments of religion and the social sciences to high school classrooms and homeschooling events, from rousing praise worship to quiet prayer circles, from local talk-radio to National Public Radio: in all these venues and more, I have found diverse peoples hungering for the ideas you will encounter here. No matter who you are, and no matter what your beliefs or background, I promise that reading this book will expand the horizon of what you see as possible for yourself, for your relationships, and for our world.
To those who have rejected evolution…
I promise that the secular version of evolution you have rejected is not the version of evolution presented in these pages. Indeed, if the understanding of our collective past and the vision of our common destiny outlined here do not inspire you to be more faithful in all your relationships, to find new ways to bless others and the world, and to awaken eagerly each morning to a life filled with meaning and purpose, then please continue to reject evolution!
To those who accept evolution begrudgingly (like death and taxes)…
I promise that this book will provide you with an experience of science, and evolution specifically, that will fire your imagination, touch your heart, and lead you to a place of deep gratitude, awe, and reverence. You will also find here effective ways to talk about evolution to any friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors who are biblical literalists or young-earth creationists.
To devoutly committed Christians…
Whether you are Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Evangelical, Anabaptist, or New Thought, and whether you consider yourself conservative, moderate, or liberal, my promise to you is that the God-glorifying evolutionary perspective offered here will enrich your faith and inspire you in ways that believers in the past could only dream of.
To Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and other non-Christians…
I promise that it will be easy to apply most of what you find here to your own life and faith. I also promise that if you explore the meaning of your tradition’s insights within an evolutionary context, as I attempt to do with Christian doctrine, you will provide an invaluable service to your religion and our world.
To agnostics, humanists, atheists, and freethinkers…
I promise that you will find nothing here that you cannot wholeheartedly embrace as being grounded in a rationally sound, mainstream scientific understanding of the Universe. I also promise that the vision of “evolutionary spirituality” presented here will benefit you and your loved ones without your needing to believe in anything otherworldly.
To those who embrace an eclectic spirituality…
I promise that this perspective will enrich your appreciation of the traditions and practices that nourish you most deeply, while helping you find new excitement in each. It will also help you communicate and relate to others who hold very different religious or philosophical worldviews.
To those who aren’t really sure what they believe…
I promise that this holy evolutionary understanding will not only help you make sense of the world; it will also provide a rock-solid moral and ethical foundation for a life of passion and deep meaning in the midst of inevitable difficulties.
To those who struggle with addiction or codependence…
I promise that if you say “Yes!” to the path of evolutionary integrity offered in this book, you will gain a profound understanding of yourself and others. The framework presented here is fully compatible with 12-step and other recovery programs. In coming to appreciate the deep roots of human instincts, you will see new possibilities for living the life of your dreams, while benefiting others, and you will experience a freedom and peace that “passes all understanding.”
Finally, to those with loved ones who have been unable to embrace science because of their religious faith, and those with loved ones who have been unable to embrace religion because of their scientific worldview…
I promise that sharing this book will make a difference in your relationship. Discussing Thank God for Evolution with those you deeply care about will open new doors of possibility between you and provide common ground where none existed before. This book is a perfect gift, not to convert others to your way of thinking but to converse with them deeply and heartfully about those things that matter most.
Request for Feedback
In the course of reading this book, if anything opens up for you—if you were helped or inspired in some way, or if you found something particularly meaningful—I would love to hear from you. Any and all suggestions for improvement are also welcomed. If you feel one of my promises was not kept, or was overstated, please tell me about that too. Email your response here: Feedback@ThankGodForEvolution.com.