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DIVINITY OF DOUBT
The God Question
By Vincent Bugliosi
Publisher: Vanguard Press
Publication Date: April 2011
Price: $26.99/hardcover // ISBN: 978-1-59315-629-9
"I found myself following my wife around the house reading passages of Bugliosi's book to her out loud. I wish I'd written this wonderfully funny, deeply moving antidote to the false certainties -- both religious and irreligious -- that have divided our society into warring camps yammering at each other about things no one understands."
—Frank Schaeffer, New York Times bestselling author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back
BESTSELLING AUTHOR AND RENOWNED PROSECUTOR
VINCENT BUGLIOSI MARSHALS THE EVIDENCE
FOR AND AGAINST THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
Indicting Organized Religion, Theism, and Atheism Alike, Bugliosi's
New Book -- DIVINITY OF DOUBT -- Makes The Case for Agnosticism
No subject has been argued about more vehemently than God and religion. Into this contentious terrain – one on which no new and significant arguments have been made for many years – steps Vincent Bugliosi, whom many view as America's foremost prosecutor. Making a potent case for agnosticism, Bugliosi's gift for marshaling evidence and well-known ability to draw utterly persuasive inferences lights up the religious landscape like no other book in this genre within memory. One can say without apology that his DIVINITY OF DOUBT: The God Question is arguably the most powerful indictment ever of God, theism, and atheism within the pages of one book.
"When I hear theists and atheists pontificating on how they know God does or does not exist, I can only smile at the irrationality, and yes, vanity of the notion," writes Bugliosi, who – in court or in the pages of his books – has taken on the likes of Charles Manson, O.J. Simpson, Lee Harvey Oswald, and George W. Bush. "Since the depth of a belief should be in proportion to the evidence, no sensible person should be dogmatic about whether there is or is not a God," he declares.
In making his case for agnosticism – which he defines as believing that the existence versus nonexistence of God is "unknowable" – Bugliosi takes a very fresh and astonishingly provocative look at the evidence for and against God. With his trademark irrefutable logic and withering wit, Bugliosi exposes the intellectual poverty of atheism and literally embarrasses its leading proponents – Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and particularly Richard Dawkins. He also takes on and eviscerates theism – its bible, religious beliefs, and prayer, as well as examining in highly stimulating and fascinating discourse such topics as evolution, intelligent design, the identity of Jesus, heaven, hell, morality, and death. Bugliosi's comments and arguments include:
On the Christian God – "God" cannot be all-good, all-powerful, and all-knowing at the same time. By definition, these are irreconcilable virtues in a world overflowing with the bloody crops of evil," Bugliosi writes. Because Christianity defines God as possessing all three of these traits, the Christian God cannot exist, he says. DIVINITY OF DOUBT demonstrates why the frequent defense to this argument – that God gave us free will – does not hold up. In addition to Bugliosi's finding that scripture, remarkably, actually supports the position of no free will, he points out that even it if exists, an omniscient God already knows how people will exercise their will – including for evil – and yet allows it to happen.
On Evolution – Bugliosi raises many troubling questions about the validity of Darwin's theory of evolution for explaining the development of the species. He goes on to say, "Although the evolutionists may be right, I can say that viscerally I find it difficult to conceptualize the notion of bacteria evolving into Mozart." At the same time, he asserts that "although many believe that God and Darwin can't get along, that would not appear to be the case, the notions of God and evolution not being mutually exclusive."
On Intelligent Design – Bugliosi contends that the intelligent design theory – which holds that the perfect order in the incredibly complex universe could only have been created by an all-powerful and intelligent supernatural being (God) – falls of its own weight. If God were all-powerful, why would there be over 100 "constants" in the universe – such as carbon dioxide, oxygen, and water vapor levels – which must remain precisely as they are to a millionth of a degree in order to sustain life on the planet? Bugliosi asks, "You mean that an all-powerful God couldn't create an earth that did not need all of these things? That to do so was beyond his power?" And, he asks, "why would an intelligent supernatural being create literally hundreds of billions of stars in the universe that are "prodigiously large, dead bodies floating without purpose in space," and further, "have no relevance to earth."
On The Virgin Birth – DIVINITY OF DOUBT points out that the virgin birth first appears, as a supposed fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy, in the New Testament's book of Matthew. The enormous problem, Bugliosi says, is that Matthew expressly based this fulfillment on a verse in the Old Testament (Isaiah) in which the words "young woman," not "virgin" were used. Therefore, Matthew had no scriptural support for his virgin birth. Absent it, Jesus was not the Son of God, which virtually ravages Christianity. Bugliosi says: "My guess is that the Vatican would rather stare into the noonday sun than address themselves to this matter."
On Life After Death – Bugliosi says that Christianity could not survive without the alleged immortality of the soul. "In view of the physical mortality of the body, if the soul weren't immortal, what else would Christianity have left to offer or hold over the heads of the masses – life without end in heaven, or suffering without end in hell?" The problem, Bugliosi points out, is that there is no biblical support for immortality of the soul, so Christianity as well as Judaism had to resort to Plato, who concluded the soul was immortal based on four foundationless presuppositions. Because of this, Bugliosi asks, "what intelligent reason does one have to believe there is life after death?"
On Atheism – DIVINITY OF DOUBT attacks the thinking of atheists as ruthlessly as it does the thinking of believers. "If the fulcrum of the debate is faith, since faith can be defined as the belief in something that cannot be proved by evidence, why isn't the belief that there is no God any less faith-based than the belief by theists that there is?" Bugliosi asks. Noting that the primary mission of atheists in proving there is no God has been to destroy the basis for religious belief in God, he argues that it is a non-sequitur to suggest that invalidating religion, an unworthy opponent, proves that there is no God.
"Because the issue of whether there is a God is an impenetrable mystery, agnosticism is the only intelligent, strong position one can take on the question of God's existence," Bugliosi states. "Doubt is divine in that it impels a search for the truth. It opens the door to knowledge. Faith puts a lock on the door," he adds. With his penetrating and extraordinary arguments, Bugliosi's DIVINITY OF DOUBT forges a new path amid the endless number of books on atheism and theism – the middle ground between belief and non-belief. DIVINITY OF DOUBT is destined to be an all-time classic, one whose arguments and insights will be debated by religious scholars and people of faith for years to come. After 2,000 years have gone by, who would have expected, at this very late date, an exciting, even electrifying book on God and religion? Actually, no one. But this book is it.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
VINCENT BUGLIOSI has been called "the quintessential prosecutor." Alan Dershowitz says "If you created a prosecutorial Hall of Fame, Vince would be in the entranceway." In his career at the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, he successfully prosecuted 105 out of 106 felony jury trials, including twenty-one murder convictions without a single loss. His most famous trial, the Charles Manson case, became the basis of his classic, Helter Skelter, the biggest selling true-crime book in publishing history. His other books include And The Sea Will Tell, Outrage, Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder. Bugliosi lives with his wife, Gail, in Los Angeles.