The Evolution of Gods
Did gods create mankind, or did mankind create gods?
Religious scriptures the world over claim that one or other god gave birth to humans, but science has not yet identified any supernatural power that created and governed human beings. Did primeval humans come up with the idea of gods to help them cope with their fears? Could it be that they attributed natural phenomena to divine powers or gods? More
‘The Evolution of Gods’ utilizes modern science to explain why, when and how religions and gods became the desirable explanations for the inexplicable events. It is a compilation of anthropological and historical facts about the evolution of gods, and describes how human imagination created gods, not the other way around.
The book begins with the epoch when the human race came into being. Around 100,000 years ago, nomadic humans invented languages and began to discuss and analyze each happening around them. Whatever they could not comprehend, their priests attributed to some unseen power.
At some point in time, we do not know exactly when this happened, humankind developed an instinct. Humans began to worship each seen or unseen power, which was beyond their control, but could either harm or help them. Priests all over the world invented almost identical methods of worship, such as folding their hands, bowing, kneeling, floral offering, prayers and sacrifices.
For example, during the last Ice Age, humans had largely inadequate protection against cold; their survival depended largely upon available sunlight—something beyond their control. In that scenario, solar worship was a logical outcome. In a similar manner, they found thunder and lightning inexplicable and frightening; gradually, they began to worship the sky as a god. There is enough historical evidence to assert that the ancestors of Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Christians and Muslims, before their religions came into practice, worshipped the sun and the sky.
Around three thousand years ago, cultivation provided several facilities to humanity that paved the way for population explosion. At the same time, a more settled way of life exposed people to pets, rodents, mosquitoes, houseflies and parasites. All these factors together initiated devastating new diseases such as cholera, tuberculosis, typhoid and plague. Apart from these, population explosion resulted in social diseases such as poverty, inequality, injustice, crime and exploitation. Consequently, most people were forced to lead miserable lives no better than hell. Around this time, a few genius prophets such as the Buddha and Moses discovered the causes and remedies of human sufferings.
Contemporary priests transcribed the new gods, prayers, rituals, myths, allegories and morals preached by these prophets after their demise. The holy scriptures, such as the Vedas, the Bible were the compilations of such writings. These books advised worship of new gods, sacrifices, magic or morals to eradicate human miseries. The miserable masses had no option but to follow those advices. These scriptures fashioned the organized religions of today. Thus, history demonstrates that whenever humans faced a new challenge, priests invented a more useful deity and consigned the older one to oblivion.
Humanity invented religions and gods to wrestle with their mysteries and miseries. On the contrary, religious dogmas halted the progress of science, facilitated human exploitation, instigated many massacres and wars throughout history and ultimately gave rise to modern terrorism. The knowledge about the evolution of gods may vaccinate the readers against the disease of fanaticism.
Let us think for a moment why humanity developed several religious concepts but only one science. For example, one dogma avers idol worship and the other asserts the contrary: scientific principles have no such contradictions. There is a concrete reason behind this contradiction: about one thing or concept there is only one truth, but there can be many lies. This book is an effort to light a candle in the darkest corner of human consciousness.