The high-as-a-kite mystical inclinations of “Christian evolutionary” Michael Dowd

The American theologian Michael Dowd some years ago wrote a book with the yummy title: Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World. This book seems to be intended at a more evangelical audience that normally abhorrs evolutionary theory. Dowd tries to convince them not only that evolutionary theory poses no threat to Christian faith, but can even be seen as an underpinning of God’s plans with the world. Evolution is what one would expect from a world created by God. Since that book came out, Dowd seems to have lost contact with the real world, as I see it. He has lifted off into the clouds of New Age spirituality, and thereafter took a plunge into the ocean of self-help stuff…

Many of his self-help projects can to be found on this website: http://michaeldowd.org/. It says that you can register for free – but thereafter, if you want to look at something, you’ll have to pay for it. Most of his projects are under the umbrella of the New Agy title evolving wisdom.

Most recently I received an e-mail from Dowd about one of his most recent self-help projects. Or, since it was an e-mail that probably thousands of people received, read it for yourself:

Dear Taede,

As a Christian evolutionary with a keen interest in
bridge-building, I occasionally become aware of spiritually
nourishing and intellectually yummy offerings that I want the
entire Evolutionary Christianity community to know about, such as
the following.

Leslie Hershberger is a dear friend, colleague and gifted teacher.
Her new 12-week “Coming Home” web course, presented in partnership
with Integral Life and Ken Wilber, will appeal to conservative and
liberal Christians alike, especially those with a heart for
ever-evolving, integrative approaches to faith.

Leslie invites us to look deep inside (and around) ourselves at our
individual and cultural stories. She challenges assumptions, asks
provocative questions, and offers a fresh context to expand our
sense of Evolutionary Christianity. She also offers contemplative
practices to attune our hearts and minds and help us participate in
the radical, self-emptying love of the Lord.

The way we create meaning evolves, based on our ever evolving
individual and cultural lenses. Leslie uses Ken Wilber’s Integral
framework to invite Christians of all backgrounds to expand their
understanding and experience of faith. She offers a variety of rich
spiritual practices and insights that, as she says, “are hidden in
plain sight.”

Moving deeper into this inquiry, she asks us to reflect upon Jesus’
simple, but penetrating question, “Who do YOU say that I am?” Our
response will bring forth everything we have loved and still love
about Christian community and practice in the current conditions of
our life.

Leslie’s 12-week web course is designed as a self-directed
curriculum and includes teachings by Leslie, individual meditation
practices, loads of ancillary readings, and videos and audios by
some of the most noted progressive Christian teachers.
I invite you to check out Leslie’s course offering here:

Coming Home: An Integral Christian Practicum

Co-evolutionary love and blessings,
Michael

What on earth is this? Is this what the field of science and religion is about? This has nothing to do with the scholarly work that I am engaged in. Indeed, Dowd’s ideas may even prove detrimental to the field, because of the New Agy self-help aura that surrounds it, and I’m not even considering the fact that Dowd tries to make quite a buck out of it.

Indeed, the move that Dowd seems to have taken is to my mind an example of where American Christianity often goes awry, where originally good intentions and goodwill are eventually corrupted by capitalist visions of flowing streams of gold. It’s American self-help religion. Science and religion has nothing to do with it. Indeed, if science and religion wants to be taken seriously in academia, scholars working in this field are advised to stay away from Dowd and his likes…