The previous chapters have narrated a brief account of the evolution of gods. After reading them, it becomes obvious that humanity itself imagined all the divine powers called gods. The concept of gods was the projection of ancient humans’ need to have something greater than themselves.
Furthermore, humankind modified the existing concept of gods to serve their new needs during different time. The history of religions teaches that a god, useful to the people of one period, gradually became useless in the next period. Since necessity is the mother of invention, the new human needs facilitated the invention of new more useful gods to work for them. Thus, humans often replaced an age-old god with a more promising god and consigned the older one into oblivion.
For example, around five thousand years ago and onwards, people living in and around Israel worshipped the sun, the sky and other local gods. Later, they visualized that the mother goddess Ishtar was behind the fertility of their land. They began worshipping her to increase the yield of their crops. Around three thousand years ago, people suffered from epidemics such as plague. The contemporary prophet Moses invented a new god that was causing plague—God Yahweh; consequently, people began to worship Yahweh and forgot the mother goddess and other nature gods. Around two thousand years ago, the masses required a god that could magically cure their miseries: gradually, the kind God of Jesus replaced the cruel Yahweh.
In another example, around five thousand years ago and thereafter, the ancient Indians worshipped the sun, the sky and fire. Around two thousand and five hundred years ago, the moral teachings of the Buddha impressed the masses more than the age-old nature gods did. After the Buddha, the Indian masses preferred their gods in a human form. Gradually, the sun and the sky god assumed human shapes as Vishnu and Shiva, respectively. Later, people replaced Vishnu with his more promising human incarnations such as Rama and Krishna. During the last fifty years, the fashion of changing gods became much popular in India. Hindus began to consider anyone surrounded by followers to be a god and designated several religious preachers as gods. Today, these demigods are doing fine business, and their fame and prosperity is directly proportional to their false promises.
In short, historians and anthropologists have established that human creative imagination invented gods and religions, similar to fiction writing.
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Apart from the darkness and superstitions, religions gave rise to the most of massacres of the history. This fanaticism and religious warfare were not only confined to the pages of history: modern terrorists are also fighting under the umbrella of religions. The kingpins of violence are still motivating soldiers with the help of religious convictions. Why do modern youths turn into terrorists and endanger their life? What desires, motives or ambitions do they intend to achieve after killing the innocents? Apart from the unemployed and uneducated ones, many educated and prosperous people are committing terrorist activities.
Can we reasonably comprehend the motive of present-day suicide bombers? What is the attraction or passion of a suicide bomber? Do they crave some blessing? What blessing can attract somebody to dedicate their most prized possession, their life? Let us try to understand the motive of countless terrorists fighting with a serious risk to their lives.
In fact, fanaticism is the extreme form of fundamentalism—the strict adherence to the ancient holy scriptures. It is achieved by carving the mind of each individual from childhood. An extremist with a burning desire to dedicate life for his religion may choose to commit religious terrorism. It is not an extempore transformation: it is a result of deliberate religious teachings.
Certain extremist parents and priests teach their age-old knowledge to their children. They initiate such teachings from childhood and thus hypnotize the victims for lifetime. In order to motivate youths for terrorism, the extremist priests make almost similar promises. Commonly, they teach that the holy violence, to safe guard your religion, appeases God. The devotee who will die during the holy task will reach heaven immediately and bring glory and honour to their family. They preach several stories of past religious wars and glorify the dead soldiers who dedicated their lives for the noble cause. They further assert that these martyrs are living in heaven happily.
These children are motivated daily that they must also dedicate their life to safeguard their religion and thus their gods. The priests preach that they need not fear death; offering their life for the sake of religion is such a pious deed that would ensure heaven for them in case of their death. Aspiration of heaven through holy violence is an illusion that grows by teachings. After such teachings, certain children develop a burning desire to dedicate their life to religion.
These children may turn out to be suicide bombers. After they grow up, some of them may tie bombs round their waists with a conviction that they would find themselves in heaven immediately after the explosion. Heaven and only heaven can attract someone to suicide.
Most religious texts aver that a devotee could achieve heaven after practising a stern moral behaviour for his whole life. On the other hand, any young suicide bomber can easily achieve heaven, decades earlier than his peers, after committing a minute act of criminal bravery. Thus, to achieve heaven, it is wiser to work for one moment instead of following rigorous morals for decades. This is the fundamental reason behind the desire of terrorists to dedicate their life to religion.
Just a few decades ago, fundamentalism and extremism was gradually reducing. All over the globe, the light of science was guiding people to come out of the age-old superstitions. However, during the last two decades, activities of religious terrorists increased and they have committed several massacres, in order to safeguard their religion.
After such killings of innocents, the intelligentsia of the earth is less sanguine about the success of truth over superstitions. Are extremists going to rule the planet earth again! Contrary to the past, today’s terrorists are equipped with modern weapons and therefore have the potential to annihilate the earth. Today, extremism, the product of fundamentalism, is a big threat to the security of the globe. Humankind has to eradicate the disease of extremism to enjoy the heaven it has built on the earth.
Religion is not intrinsic to humans. No child is ever born in this world, even from a fundamentalist family, displaying any trace of religion anywhere on its body or mind. However, after each birth, society tattoos the name of its religion on child’s forehead and inside. Society moulds its new generations into the belief system it follows. Each child acquires the knowledge of its religion through teachings of its parents, priests and peers.
Extremism is an outcome of illiteracy, poverty and conditioning from childhood; therefore, in order to eradicate it, humanity has to initiate scientific education from the primary school level itself. Future generations must receive authentic knowledge about religions and gods to devise a hatred-free society. Schoolbooks must teach about the evolution of gods—the study of origin of life, anthropology of religions and a brief history of major religions.
Today, these topics are there within syllabus of high school in several countries. However, the content of the books are not enough; they must elaborate these topics at length. Furthermore, many parents and priests often restrain their children to understand the truth. They initiate spoon-feeding about their own religion earlier than the schools.
The facts about the evolution of gods may vaccinate youths against the disease of extremism. After this, extremists could not misguide and transform the enlightened youths into suicide bombers. They would perceive people as human beings and not as Hindus, Jews or Christians; they would never aspire to leave the heavenly earth for an imaginary heaven.
As discussed earlier, religions posed a hurdle to the growth of science and technology. They could not impede it forever; scientists managed to progress despite all the adversities. Science could develop only after discarding the fallacies of religious books.
The scientific revolution has changed the face of the earth today. By virtue of science and technology, humanity has transformed most of the world from hell to heaven during the last two hundred years.
Only one hundred years ago, one could rarely get proper treatment for even common diseases. By then, many world famous leaders, businesspersons, scientists, writers and artists died of tuberculosis. They could not even imagine the science of today. Modern scientific technologies are stranger than the fictions of the past. Today, humankind has remedies for almost all illnesses. There are many hospitals where you can actually enjoy your days of suffering. Humanity worshipped several gods for more than two thousand years to escape their scourge—the diseases such as plague, smallpox and polio: scientists have now eradicated these diseases.
Furthermore, modern technology has almost eliminated many social diseases such as slavery, the exploitation of women and child labour. It has also devised several new techniques to effectively control crimes and ensure justice; thereby, reducing the fear of masses. Effective enforcement of democracy also finds its roots in scientific devices. Science has given a different kind of freedom to humanity.
The development of the media has played a major role in the enforcement of law, justice, democracy and human rights. Media could develop only with the help of modern information technology. In fact, modern scientific advancements defy description. However, humanity is persistently thanking God in the sky for something He has never done! Nevertheless, He is not there to listen!
Last but not the least, let us think why humanity developed several religions but only one science? Devotees of different religions follow different customs, rituals, prayers, attributes of gods, etc. Each religion has quite a few sects; these sects are further divided as per the geographical locations. Thus, religious concepts of different people are altogether different.
For example, the devotees of one religion sacrifice animals to appease their gods: whereas, the followers of another one propitiate their gods through the service of those animals. To take another example, the idol worship is core of one religion: however, the other one has imposed a taboo over idol worship. Most devotees explain that the discrepancy among religions is because religions originated in different geographical locations.
Apart from religions, science was also conceived by the scientists of diverse origin; however, they discovered similar principles. There is no existence of Indian science, British science or American science. All over the world, many pioneer scientists discovered their principles, and later others performed several experiments to help establish those. If some principle was found to be incorrect, soon its inventor accepted the truth. This system of experimentation in the quest for truth was rarely followed by the draftsmen of religions. This fundamental mistake facilitated the birth and the continuance of several religions in the world.
There is one concrete reason behind the existence of many religious concepts and only one science on the earth. About one thing or concept, there is only one truth but there can be many lies. Today, humankind has to conceive a global religion with a humane core. All countries have to write a new Bible of international rules and regulations.
Humanity conceived and worshipped all the gods as its creator and nurturer. Scientists have discovered that, around three billion years ago, sunrays falling on the oceanic water originated life and kept the earth cosy enough to survive. To date, daily shower of solar energy manufactures all the food, oxygen, drinking water and fuels that living beings consume. Therefore, it is wiser to pay reverence and thanks to the sun—the scientifically proven creator and nurturer of life on the planet earth.