The Evolution of Gods (The Scientific Origin of Divinity and Religions)
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The Evolution of Gods (The Scientific Origin of Divinity and Religions)

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Item Code: NAK637
Author: Ajay Kansal
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Language: English
Edition: 2012
ISBN: 9789350294383
Pages: 230
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.0 inch x 5.0 inch
Weight 180 gm

About the Book

 

Why, when and how did mankind begin to worship gods? Religious scriptures the world over claim that one or the other god made man, but science has not yet identified any supernatural power that created and governed human beings. Was it man who came up with the idea of gods to help him cope with his own fears? Could it be that ancient people attributed natural phenomena-unfathomable and frightening to them-to the working of invisible gods?

 

What kind of suffering or bewilderment made people bow before unseen powers or gods as we call them? When were these gods created? Who invented morals and methods of worship? Who wrote the ancient scriptures such as the Bible and the Vedas? Most crucially, have gods and the scriptures shaped our responses to the world around us?

 

The Evolution of Gods seeks to answer these questions, and explains scientifically how, when and why religions and gods came into being. Ajay Kansal marshals anthropological and historical facts about the development of religions in a simple and straightforward manner to assert that it was mankind that created gods, and not the other way around.

 

About the Author

 

Dr Ajay Kansal is a professor and consultant pathologist. It was during his medical practice that he encountered human suffering in a big way that made him question the concept of gods and drove him to write this book.

 

Preface

 

Today we are all aware of the achievement of science. The population of the world is thriving as various scientific discoveries have provided food, water, health, security, comfort, recreation and much more to modern men. Mankind could achieve all this through a gradual learning process over hundreds of generations. Apatt from needs and luxuries, scientists have solved many age-old mysteries too.

 

Since time immemorial, mankind has been anxious to know who created the first man and woman on the earth. Were they made by some supernatural power as most religious texts aver? Anthropologists have devoted decades to the study of the development of man dating back to the prehistoric age. And they have concluded without a trace of doubt that mankind was not created by some almighty power. On the contrary, it is man who created different gods.

 

This book is an attempt to scientifically explain why, when, how and where religions came into vogue. What kinds of suffering made people bow down before unseen powers - gods? When were gods created? Who invented morals and methods of worship? Who wrote the ancient scriptures? The Evolution of Gods is an attempt to put together anthropological and historical facts about the development of religions. The facts mentioned here have been cited from standard textbooks. These references are listed at the end of the book. All efforts have been made not to hurt anyone's personal feelings. If some text unwittingly hurts someone, I extend my sincere apologies in advance.

 

Around the time the human race came into being - between two and four hundred thousand years ago - people lived like wild animals. They were not aware of any god or demon. Around one hundred thousand years ago, the great invention of language changed the destiny of the human race. With the help of language, people began discussing events unfolding around them. Whatever they could not explain, the priest of their group attributed to some unseen power.

 

Mankind adopted religious practices to wrestle with events beyond its control, such as diseases, natural disasters and deaths. Priests worldwide began to advocate the worship of powers which were beyond human control, but could either harm or help them. Mankind came to believe that worshipping an unfathomable power could protect it and hence it sought the blessings of that power. Priests all over the world came up with almost identical methods of worship, such as folding hands, bowing, kneeling, offering of flowers, prayers, sacrifices, etc., in an attempt to flatter the powers and ask for their mercy. Later, priests designated these powers as gods. History demonstrates that whenever mankind faced a new challenge, priests discovered a more useful deity and consigned the older god to oblivion.

 

Around 3,000 years ago and later, mankind confronted new diseases such as cholera, tuberculosis, typhoid, plague, etc. Not only bodily diseases, population explosion also gave rise to social diseases such as poverty, inequality, injustice, crime and exploitation.

 

People lived in hell-like conditions. Prophets such as the Buddha, Moses, Jesus, etc., discovered the causes and remedies of human suffering. Many priests wrote about the teachings and stories of these prophets after their death. Ancient holy books such as the Bible and the Buddhacharita are compilations of such writings. These books advised worship, sacrifices, magic or morals to eradicate human miseries. These ancient holy books fashioned the organized religions of today.

 

Mankind suffered from diseases for three thousand years without doing enough to find out their causes and remedies. Have you ever wondered why? Priests discouraged writing and reading of scientific books. For a long period, priests convicted and punished several secular philosophers and scientists. They delayed scientific progress for two millennia. However, they could not impede it forever. Science ultimately had its way. Gradually, over the last two hundred years or so, scientists have managed to explain almost all these so-called divine powers. Today, science guides every aspect of human life. Surprisingly, mankind is still thanking someone in the sky for all these scientific developments!

 

The priestly class also misinterpreted the holy books to give rise to religious fundamentalism. No child is ever born displaying any trace of its religion anywhere on its body. But society tattoos the name of the religion on it. To eradicate fundamentalism, the new generations must learn when, why and how gods and religions were created. They must know the scientific aspect of the concept of gods. This knowledge might vaccinate new generations against the disease of fundamentalism.

 

During my medical practice, I have come across major human suffering which drilled a hole in my faith in gods. Besides, in a world marked by terrorism, poverty, inequality, exploitation, injustice, crimes, etc., how is it possible to envision a kind and loving God?

 

Gradually, I realized that a belief in gods and religious practices makes us superstitious and often leads people to inaction in the hope of a miracle.

 

The faith in supernatural powers takes away our willingness and ability-to wrestle with sufferings such as poverty and illness; we usually blame our past karma. Our present sufferings have nothing to do with the karmas of our past lives, if indeed we have had past lives. And there is very little that gods can do, if anything at all, to relieve us of suffering.

 

As I read books that deal with human suffering and on the question of gods, I realized that gods and religions arose out of human imagination. I studied anthropology and the history of religions to find answers to the questions that plagued me. What I found out attested to my previous conception that it was man who created gods and not the other way round. I could not resist sharing what I have learned with others.

 

Have you ever thought why there are many religions but only one science on the earth? Truth is one but lies can be many. Mankind has to conceive a global religion of humanity. The human race created and worshipped gods as its creator and nurturer. Science has not yet identified any supernatural power that creates, governs, punishes or rewards human beings. This book is an effort to light a candle in the darkest corner of human consciousness.

 

Contents

 

Preface

IX

Chronology

XIII

Life after Death

1

The Birth of Gods

18

Learning to Survive

32

Learning to Write

44

Sacrifice: Bribing the Gods

54

Gods and Demons of Diseases

67

Hinduism

103

Judaism

135

Christianity

144

Origin of Life

151

Why Gods Are Still Alive

163

Conclusion

199

Select Bibliography

209

Acknowledgements

215

 

Sample Pages











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