E. Fuller Torrey

 

On his book Evolving Brains, Emerging Gods: Early Humans and the Origins of Religion

Cover Interview of October 23, 2017

Lastly

This book will not tell you whether God, or other gods, really exist – no book can do so. What I hope this book can do, however, is help readers think carefully about their theological beliefs. Gods are important and should not simply be dismissed by ridicule. Many people are troubled by their unresolved theological beliefs; insofar as this book helps them to achieve some resolution of belief, it will achieve its most important purpose.

I also hope the book will shed some light on the ongoing god contests which I find troubling. Wars continue to be fought to determine whose god is the correct god. Such wars were fought between city-states in ancient Mesopotamia, and apparently contributed to the demise of the world’s first civilization. An Old Testament god contest familiar to many is the battle between the followers of Baal, the Canaanite fertility god, and the followers of Jehovah, the Israelite protector of God. Elijah, a prophet of Jehovah, prevailed and then had the 450 followers of Baal put to death.

Finally, the book offers answers to many questions that have perplexed some people. For example, why don’t chimps speak? Why are they so similar to Homo sapiens in DNA yet so different cognitively? Why is it very unlikely that the Neanderthals had gods? And why were they wiped out so quickly when modern Homo sapiens encountered them? What is the meaning of the animals that adorn the painted caves? If Homo sapiens had acquired modern cognition attributes by about 35,000 years ago, why did it take more than 20,000 years more for the agricultural revolution to begin? The first gods only had responsibility for issues of food supply (life) and death; why did they later acquire political responsibilities? Just as the first gods appeared independently at several places in the world, why were most of the world’s major religions formalized in the brief period between 2800 and 2200 years ago?