A human history of God, “The Sorcerer” cave drawing, Cave of the Trois-Frères/France, Origin of belief in the soul, Origin of the religious impulse, Reza Aslan, The embodied soul
On September 11, 2001, a group of Islamic extremists struck America’s major financial center in New York. Since then, we have embarked on a “War on Terror” that has morphed into an assault on all Muslims, except for allied Muslim nations. This past week, our endless war of terror has pivoted to Jerusalem, the holy city of three of the world’s major religions by number of followers (World Atlas) – Christianity (2.22 billion), Islam (1.6 billion), and Judaism (13.9 million).
Within this context, I share with you in the first of a three-part series my synopsis of Reza Aslan’s book, God: A Human History. Like the author, I have “no interest in trying to prove the existence or nonexistence of God for the simple reason that no proof exists either way.” Whether you believe in one God or many gods or no god at all, I would like you to consider Aslan’s bold assertion that “it is we who have fashioned God in our image, not the other way around.”
In “Part One: The Embodied Soul,” Aslan investigates the origin of our belief in a soul, a byword for “spiritual essence” or “mind.” It’s a journey back in time to the emergence of our primitive ancestors, Homo sapiens (the wise human) – the “historical” Adam and Eve. According to archaeological records, Homo sapiens first appeared during the Lower Paleolithic Period, between 2.5 million and 200,000 years ago. Remains unearthed in burial mounds indicate that they buried their dead together with artifacts that must have been precious to them. Continue reading