Friday, December 4, 2009

Thank God for Evolution?

A friend recently loaned me a book by Michael Dowd titled Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Evolution Will Transform Your Life and Our World. The endorsement on the cover reads, “The science vs. religion debate is over.”

Admittedly, I have not read the entire book. My interest waned early into the text. What I have read left me with several impressions:

Dowd’s book claims to find a middle ground where both religion and evolution are seen to contribute to our understanding of origins. However, one does not need to read very far to see that this is a patronizing look at religious belief while praising the intellectual superiority of those who have articulated scientific truth (read: evolution). In explaining the focus of Part 1, Dowd observes that in this section, “we shall consider what evolution is, what it is not, and why human societies require a mythic and meaningful context…We cannot thrive without myth – that is, without meaningful stories that freely use poetry and metaphor to communicate what we individually and collectively experience to be true” (italics mine). Note that there are things we collectively “experience to be true.” Certainly, religious experience could not actually be true!

Skillfully, Dowd praises the “science” of evolution while relegating religion to an evolutionary need to find meaning in life. Religion is a satisfying way of quenching an instinctive need for meaning. The door is left open that, with some evolutionary good fortune, we will grow out of this.

As Christians, we anchor our faith, not in a need to define meaningful existence, but in a God who is Creator and Redeemer. This God has revealed Himself in an inspired book, the Bible.

A system that omits a Creator from the equation can in no way be compatible with the belief of God as Creator. Dowd’s attempt to straddle the fence adds little to the continuing controversy.


Michael Dowd said...

I humbly suggest you keep reading. If you've not yet read Chapters 9-12, for example, you've missed the gold.

Blessings, in Christ,

~ Michael

Michael Dowd said...

Ron, you may enjoy the last sermon I preached before settling down for a few months of chemotherapy. It's titled "Humanity Grows Up: From Beliefs to Knowledge". It builds on Part II of my book "Reality is Speaking" but goes in new directions. I realize, of course, that you are much more conservative than I am. I would still be surprised if you did not find real value in this sermon. At least, that is my prayer.

Here's the link:

May God continue to use you and your ministry to bless others, and may you and your loved ones have a joyous, blessed Advent-Christmas season.


~ Michael

Ron Starcher said...

Thank you for taking the time to respond. Obviously, I am more conservative than you, theologically, anyway. I am sorry to hear about your chemotherapy treatment. I will pray that all goes well for you.

I will make sure to read chs. 9-12, as well as the sermon you suggested.

I am still trying to get the sense of how religion can make sense in a world with no Creator. As Dostoevsky said, "If there is no God, nothing matters. If there is a God, nothing else matters.

By the way, you gotta like Darwin pic.