Rev. Michael Dowd addresses ‘Religion as if Survival Mattered’

Head-and-shoulders view, Rev. Michael Dowd

Rev. Michael Dowd

Rev. Michael Dowd will present a free program: “Faithful to the Future: Religion as if Survival Mattered (Pro-Future is Good, Anti-Future is Evil: Religious Humanism, Evolving Faith, Active Hope),” 3 to 5 p.m. this Sunday, Feb. 5, at Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 87 Fourth St., in Ashland.

Rev. Dowd is also preaching Sunday morning at 10:25 a.m. His sermon is titled, “Ecological Wisdom for Challenging Times.”

According to Rev. Dowd, “It’s not just immoral; it is evil to irreparably harm the future for short-term personal or institutional gain. Yet we have a global economic system supported by governments everywhere ensuring that it’s not only legal to contemn posterity, it’s profitable—highly profitable. Most people are shocked to learn, however, that this is precisely what history teaches us to expect: when religion fails, good people become dangerous and great people can engage in great evil.”

Rev. Dowd’s program, geared for adults and teens, builds on his two TEDx talks and material in his book, Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World, which was endorsed by six Nobel Prize-winning scientists and by religious leaders from various traditions.

Rev. Dowd asserts that, “We each have experienced times of trouble that threaten to overwhelm our individual lives. In such times, a vision of possibility is essential. The same holds for the punctuations in history when whole societies face troubles of an immense and uncharted variety. Truly, we here and now have arrived at such a time. Humans, unwittingly, have become a planetary force. We are changing, irreversibly, the very climate of our world. Henceforth, any actions we take as individuals and societies will be done in the new light of climate change. What vision will carry us forward through such times and inspire us to work together? How shall we frame the need to shed our business-as-usual outlook on life and take on a new vision of possibility that can unite us as a species in joyful self-sacrifice and service? What vision will charge us with a sense of heroic purpose that the future is, indeed, calling us to greatness?”

According to Rev. Dowd, “Science and religion are not enemies; indeed, they must work together if humanity is to survive the 21st century. Given our impact on Earth’s climate, the seas, and other species, humanity is about to experience what could be called The Great Reckoning. The good news is that this will also be The Great Homecoming: the prodigal species coming home to Reality. This presentation will focus on six points of agreement held in common by tens of millions of religious and non-religious people across the globe — and how to stay deeply inspired in the face of changing climate and other large-scale challenges.”

Rev. Michael Dowd’s work has been featured in The New York Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Newsweek, Discover, and on television nationally. Rev. Dowd and his science writer / evolutionary educator wife, Connie Barlow, have spoken to more than 2,000 groups throughout North America since 2002, including some 500 UU churches. Their work has been featured on the cover of UU WORLD twice, in 1997 and again in 2006.

Rev. Dowd has delivered two TEDx talks and a program at the United Nations. He also conducted an online conversation series: “The Future Is Calling Us to Greatness.” Dowd’s great joy is “sharing a pro-science prophetic message of inspiration about our sacred responsibility to future generations.”

For more information: Rev. Dowd addresses “Evidential Medicine for Our Collective Soul” in a five-page (2,500-word) essay, viewable as a PDF. Visit his website at