Book Review : The Evolution Of Gods

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DETAILS
Title : The Evolution Of Gods: The Scientific Origin Of Divinity And Religion
Author : Dr. Ajay Kansal
Publishers : Harper Collins
Print Length : 214 Pages
Publication Date : August 2012
Language :English
Genre : Non- Fiction, Religion and Spirituality, Comparative Religion, Atheism

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THE AUTHOR

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.

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The Evolution Of Gods is his first book and the only book written by an Indian author on the concept of the existence of God which talks of various religions and is not based on any one particular form of it. His next work is a romance which is currently in progress.

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THE BOOK

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Blurb

Did gods create humanity or did humans create gods?
Did gods create mankind, or did mankind create gods?

Why, when and how did mankind begin to worship gods?Religious scriptures the world over claim that one or the other god made all plants and animals, but science has not yet identified any supernatural power that created and governed living 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 sufferings or fears 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 straight forward manner to assert that it was mankind that created gods, and not the other way around.

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The Evolution of Gods: The Scientific Origin of Divinity And Religions

WHAT I FELT ABOUT THE BOOK?

Content – Interesting. Extensive research has gone into the making of this book. The author takes us on a journey of the various civilizations and religions of the world and tries to give us an insight into the evolution of God and the various religions the world is flooded with today. The Author also deals with some interesting topics like ‘Life after death,’ ‘Sacrifice: Bribing the Gods,’ ‘Gods and Demons of Diseases,’ apart from dealing with Hinduism, Judaism and Christianity in detail. The portions on rituals practiced by people over centuries, witchcraft and primitive medical practices make interesting read.

However what intrigues me is that apart for a passing mention at three or four places, the Author has not touched upon Islam which too is a major religion. Even when speaking about the practice of fasting by the believers, the author fails to mention ‘roza’ or month long fasting undertaken by Muslims the world over. Is fear the reason behind the silence or is it that Hindus and Christians are soft targets for atheists?

A serious attempt is made by the Author to try and answer various questions regarding religion and God plaguing the Human mind. How successful he is in satiating the thirst of the reader depends upon the person concerned. Frankly speaking, I found many explanations put forth by Dr. Kansal as hypothetical. But one question put forth by Dr. Kansal is I must admit, food for thought, “Why does god wait for the next birth to convict his self- created puppets (men)?Are Gods not capable of punishing them in their present birth? Ideally their acts must be followed by divine punishments or rewards immediately.”

Has the book done full justice to its tagline “The Scientific Origin of Divinity and Religion?” The book I must say, focuses more on archaeological and literary evidence. Hence for me the book is a little low on explaining the origin of divinity and religion from the scientific point of view and maybe that is the reason why I find many of the arguments put forth by Dr. Kansal as hypothetical.

Though bibliography is provided at the end, there are no links to notes and citations. These would have been easy for cross reference.

Language and Flow – Simple, easy to understand. However I feel that the length of the book could have been cut down by at least 5-10 pages had one aspect been taken care of i.e. unnecessary repetition of certain portions in chapter after chapter. This has affected the flow of the book to a certain extent.

Message – Now did I find a message here? Yes. The book made me realize that the existence of God is still shrouded in mystery. For the believer, God is an unseen power while for the atheist, God is just a figment of the human mind.

MY RATING/RECOMMENDATION

Pick up the book only when you are ready for some ‘serious read.’ Read it with an open mind. I will give this 3 on a scale of 5.

WINDING UP

True to his observation that ‘Mankind always had an instinct to explore the mysteries around,’ Dr. Ajay Kansal has made a serious attempt to explore the mystery surrounding Gods. But has the book impacted my belief in God? No, but it definitely has me pondering about certain beliefs, certain practices.

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I thank Ms.Nikita Johri who blogs @ Njkinny’s World of Books & Stuff and Dr. Ajay Kansal for being kind enough to send me a copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review.

Njkinny Tours & Promotions

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Please leave your footprints in the form of comments and suggestions. Your words mean a lot to me.
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5 responses »

  1. That bit about why God waits till the end before delivering judgement is something I too query sometimes to people. Why not immediate results… would that not be more effective, considering you ARE GOD and you are capable of changing things at will…

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  2. I haven’t given this much thought. I guess some religious ideas have been explained by science while most of it remains a mystery. I loved reading your review. Very honest and indepth.

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  3. I enjoyed reading your review of “The Evolution of the Gods”. Very thought provoking. I am always questioning my own faith and am a Christian but still have doubts and questions about the whole God question. I like learning about other faiths, too, and recently went on a tour of a Hindu temple nearby and I found it fascinating. Who can say which faith is the right one or which God is the right one to follow? I try to live as a good Christian but am not totally enamoured with the Bible and all the God and Jesus talk. I try not to pass judgement on anyone’s beliefs and hope they don’t do it to me either.

    http://cattitudeandgratitude.blogspot.com/2014/06/thoughts-are-powerful.html

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