A Skepchick Goes to Church and Drops To Her Knees
Well first of all, it was a Unitarian Universalism church so I did not burn up when I walked inside. Second of all, I did not really drop to my knees, but I did get emotionally choked up.
So you may be thinking, what could possibly make me want to go to any church at all to hear a sermon? Well the answer is simple: SCIENCE!
Reverend Michael Dowd gave a presentation called “Evolution and the Global Integrity Crisis.” Dowd is the author of “Thank God For Evolution.” He and his wife, atheist science writer, Connie Barlow are full time “Evolutionary Evangelists.” They live in a van traveling across the United States preaching the good news of evolution.
The talk itself was fantastic! He spoke of evolution with pure wonder and emotion, which was in a way that I have never heard the theory portrayed. He reached both my emotion and intellect.
The interesting thing about this evangelist is that he isn’t into supernaturalism. He argues that supernatural beliefs are pre-natural explanations of things that humans don’t understand. Dowd says that any ‘God’ that can be believed in or not, is a trivial concept. He says that God is the “all embracing, all transcending Wholeness of Reality.”
Here are some other interesting things Dowd has to say about God/Reality:
This is a kind of naturalistic pantheism. Naturalistic pantheism holds that nature is what religions are referring to when they talk about God. I’ve heard some atheists say that we shouldn’t use God talk because we don’t need it. That’s like saying we shouldn’t write poetry or songs. What if God talk helps some people move away from supernaturalism? As I’ve written here before, I agree with Michael Shermer that we need to make our tent much bigger. Maybe not all skeptics want or need mythic language, but I think there are many people who might just be helped by Michael Dowd’s message of peace between science and religion.
Carl Sagan once said, “A religion that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by traditional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.” Maybe Michael and his wife Connie are on to something?
Yes, the universal facts of life were enough to pull me away from fundamental Christianity, but that does not mean it’s enough for everyone. Don’t we owe it to humanity to consider people’s emotions? This god talk or “night language” that Dowd refers to in his book, helps facilitate the needs of those who wish to remain emotionally attached to their faith’s tradition while they leave behind the dangers of supernaturalism.