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The obvious answer to the not so rhetorical question in the title is yes, of course. Comings however gives a most complete and thoroughly convincing answer in 694 carefully considered pages. The book left this reader a bit in awe of not only his erudition, energy and competence, but most impressed with his generosity of spirit in tackling the project in such a thorough manner. The deeper question of whether God exists independently of man's creation is of course another question entirely, and not one that I think anybody can answer, and certainly Comings does not attempt to do so. He writes:

"...[T]he questions 'Did Man Create God?' or 'Is the Theory of God a man-made theory?' are fundamentally different from the question 'Does God Exist?' It is perfectly possible that the answer to the question, 'Did Man Create God?' is 'Yes,' and yet a God, different than the one man made, still exists." (p. 640)

Dr. Comings makes it clear however that such gods as depicted in the Bible and other religious works, gods that bring havoc upon the world and intercede in human affairs, answering or not answer prayers, defeating or not defeating enemies, etc., are, by their very nature, obvious projections of the human mind. One the reasons that Comings went to the considerable trouble to produce this rather remarkable tome is to remove any doubt on that score. The evidence he presents from a wide range of disciplines is all but overwhelming.

In addition to being a physician, Dr. Comings is also a neuroscientist and a molecular geneticist. A good portion of this book is devoted to applying knowledge gleaned from neuroscience and genetics to the question "Did Man Create God?" Additionally Comings brings evidence from evolution, history and philosophy to "provide strong evidence that man made up the Theory of God in an attempt to explain how the universe, the earth, and man were created." (p. 642) Comings shows how God is maintained in our brains and in human society because belief in God has proven adaptive in the Darwinian sense and efficacious psychologically in the sense that God is the answer to all the unanswerables, and as such, is essential to humanity's mental homeostasis.

To maintain this dualism, however, Comings sees humans as having a split consciousness. He writes: "One of the central themes of this book is the remarkable ability of man to possess both a rational brain that critically analyzes and assesses all...important questions and a spiritual brain that does not care much about facts and just plunges ahead with its need to find the transcendent, to rise above mere mortality, and to connect with an all-encompassing spiritual presence." (p. 642)

Belief in God can be seen as part of a spiritual dimension to human existence. However I would say that belief in the sort of God that would reward mass killings with sexual fun in heaven with many virgins is not spiritual at all, but is instead a kind of bestial expression of human politics and the war system. In contrast, a desire to transcend the reality of mortal flesh is what is spiritual. Comings demonstrates that genetically and neurologically, this spirituality is what is hardwired into our brains and not a specific belief in God or gods. He writes: "Spirituality can be defined as a feeling of a connection with something greater than oneself including any form of social order. Perhaps the greatest factor in the evolution of spirituality is that such a trait would maximize the development of man as a social animal." (p. 530)

Most books exceeding 600 pages have proven in my experience to be too long and in need of reduction. Dr. Comings' book is the exception. He writes long because he writes thoroughly with a keen desire to make an irrefutable case. I believe he has succeeded admirably. Some of the material he covers is difficult, but he writes in such a clear and engaging manner that we are marvelously informed. Additionally the text is adorned and augmented with numerous color prints, drawings, tables, photos, graphs and other artwork. The entire book is printed on expensive glossy paper so that it weighs 2.65 pounds. (Yes, I weighed it.) This is indeed a magnum opus, a fitting testament to all that Dr. Comings has learned in a lifetime of study and practice.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If only--if only!--this book were required reading for all of humankind how much better we would understand ourselves and others, and how so much of the hatred, prejudice, plain ignorance and stupidity that characterizes human affairs and leads to untold amounts of pain and suffering would dissipate like the wisps of a bad dream.
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