Author: Dr. Ajay Kansal
Author: Dr. Ajay KansalPublisher: HarperCollins Publishers India
For thousands of years there has existed a diversity of arguments concerning the existence or nonexistence of God, and I am sure if you ever followed a college course in Philosophy or Religion, you probably have come across some of these debates proposed by philosophers, theologians, scientists, and others. Some of the familiar names that have articulated an opinion one way or another include Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, St. Anselm, Aquinas, Descartes, Kant, Hume, Nietzche, Russell, and many others.
To add another voice to the debate we now have Dr Ajay Kansal, author of The Evolution of the Gods who is a professor and consultant in clinical pathology in India. He informs us that what motivated him to write his book was his loss of faith in religion and God as a result of his witnessing the many tragedies and suffering that exist today. Consequently, over the past ten years he has embarked on the study of anthropology and the history of religions which led him to the conclusion that the concept of God is merely a figment of the imagination or a fantasy. It doesn't make sense to presume that because we have the capacity of mentally visualizing God that it follows that one actually exists.
Structuring his ambitious exploration of the subject matter around eleven themes and using scientific arguments, anthropological research and his vast knowledge of the history of medicine, Dr Kansal digs into such topics as life after death, birth of Gods, learning to survive, learning to write, sacrifice—to Bribe Gods, Gods and demons of diseases, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, origin of life and why Gods are still alive. Within these themes he explains why, when and how religions and Gods became the desirable explanations of inexplicable events such as human sufferings which necessitated people to bow down before unseen powers called Gods.
To fortify his arguments, Dr. Kansal presents his readers with a brief synthesis concerning prehistoric groups, history of language, agriculture and writing, gender roles, importance of priests, burial rituals of prehistoric people, prehistoric Gods, power of imagination, mythology, sacrifices that will please the Gods, religious customs as fasting, powers of nature and their influence on human lives, nature Gods, and the biochemical origin of life known as the Oparin-Haldane theory which is widely accepted by scientists.
Although the book is a fascinating read and an excellent introduction to the evolution of Gods, as well as the history of mankind and religion, it is not without some weaknesses. To begin, it is in need of a good content editor that would have cleaned up some of the repetitive paragraphs and poor sentence structures. There is also a tendency to stray and bring in all kinds of extraneous facts that do not strengthen the author's arguments. Moreover, although there is an extensive bibliography, it would have been better to include footnotes or end notes that support some of Dr. Kansal's assertions and his generalizations. And as a side note, I take issue with his statement “Why Did the Jews Kill Christ,” which is in no way relevant to the debate and may I remind the author that it is these statements that have ignited anti-Semitism and persecution for hundreds of years. No absolute evidence exists that the Jews killed Christ and in fact Pope Benedict in his book Jesus of Nazareth Part ll explicitly acknowledges that the Jews did not kill Christ. This statement is the second time that the Catholic Church has maintained this position, the first being in 1965.
the end, Dr. Kansal has provided his readers with quite a smorgasbord
of ideas and theories, far too many to mention here. For example,
among the valuable takeaways are the association of diseases and the
human search for unseen Gods, as well as primitive medical practices
and the evolution of medicine. No doubt, Dr. Kansal's medical
knowledge came in very handy when dealing with these topics. Although
The Evolution of Gods may
be quite controversial to many, it none-the-less deserves a fair
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