Former prosecutor Vincent Buglioso approaches every question with the vigor of a much younger man. His research on the Kennedy assassination resulted in documentation of more than 2700 pages. His Divinity of Doubt is only a fraction as long (256 pages to be exact), but it does address "the God question" with the same level of commitment. Like his book on the O.J. Simpson case, Buglioso skewers both camps, heaping criticism equally on atheist promoters including Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris and hell-and-brimstone Old Testament fundamentalists. His call for a healthy agnosticism is certain to generate media attention.
Divinity of Doubt: The God Questionby Vincent Bugliosi
May 24, 2011 (San Diego)--New York Times number one bestselling author of Helter Skelter and one of America's foremost prosecutors, Vincent Bugliosi, has written a provocative book that indicts organized religion, theism, and atheism alike. In Divinity of Doubt he
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)."
May 24, 2011 (San Diego)--New York Times number one bestselling author of Helter Skelter and one of America's foremost prosecutors, Vincent Bugliosi, has written a provocative book that indicts organized religion, theism, and atheism alike. In Divinity of Doubt he brings his case for agnosticism.
Using some of the same type of reasoning and courtroom logic that he utilized in his career at the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, where he successfully prosecuted 105 out of 106 felony jury trials including 21 murder convictions without a single loss, Bugliosi tackles The God Question.
Destined to be controversial, Bugliosi's Divinity of Doubt is bound to strike a nerve with believers and non-believers alike. Perhaps that is the intent of his book, to get us thinking. He goes outside his comfort realm, the study and practice of law, to delve into one of the world's most profound mysteries. Those who are believers need go no further than Hebrews 11:1, which is the rock and foundation of our faith, and that of Christianity.
In his book, Bugliosi asks a rhetorical question; "Does God exist?" He answers it, by stating: "I don't know, and neither do you." Obviously, Bugliosi is still relying on his courtroom experience, although the God question is not based on legal arguments. However he relies heavily on logic throughout his book.
Throughout his book, the author speaks of the absence of free will, and of logic, as it pertains to the Bible. In a telephone interview with Bugliosi, he and I explored the notion of logic, particularly as stated on page 189 of his book: "So when your mother or father, sister or brother dies, wouldn't simple logic dictate that you curse God, calling him evil for taking them away from you?" We disagreed on that point!
He further used the analogy of God allowing the 6 million Jews to die, as something evil on God, in our telephone interview. He admitted to me that he was an agnostic, after being raised a Catholic. Although he says that he is agnostic, Bugliosi uses the word absurdity throughout his book to denigrate Christian notions and belief. This sounds more like atheism than agnosticism to me.
Bugliosi continues his notion of logic in a convoluted way, in regard to The God Question, when he states: "We have proof throughout history that if God is sitting up there deciding who gets mercy, he rejects the plea most of the time. Don't you think the Jews at Auschwitz prayed to God to be spared? Don't you think people pray to be spared when they have terminal cancer? Maybe we have been praying to the wrong entity all along. People who believe in prayers could hardly do worse praying to the devil." How absurd, that doesn't sound like an agnostic. If one harbored the belief that God and Satan even might be real, one would not make such an rash remark.
Bugliosi further states in his book: "I've heard that at Nicole Simpson's funeral, one of the speakers told Nicole's grieving survivors and friends that we can't 'question God's will.' So it was God's will that Simpson slaughtered Nicole? Really? Again, that doesn't sound like an agnostic.
No subject has been argued about more vehemently than God and religion. Into this terrain - one on which no new and significant arguments have been made for many years - steps Bugliosi, whom many view as America's foremost prosecutor. Making his potent case for agnosticism, Bugliosi's gift for marshaling evidence and his 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 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, which is a bit disturbing. But this isn't a courtroom, and perhaps Bugliosi is out of his realm of comfort and expertise. To equate courtroom tactics and reasoning with the unraveling of the mysteries of The God Question is like comparing apples to oranges. Why he would even try, is beyond me.
But perhaps Bugilosi has become jaded from years as a prosecutor; after all the victims of those he put behind bars may well have pled for mercy and been shown none. No doubt he has struggled to come to grips with the concept of a merciful God in the context of merciless murderers.
Bugliosi has his detractors, as we all do, but when we attempt to address an issue that has divided men and nations since the dawn of time, we tend to have more detractors than usual. He does use a lot of historical perspective and insight, in an attempt to buttress his argument(s), which makes the book a good read for that fact alone.
"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.
This is a courtroom argument, clearly a scholarly and secular approach, having nothing to do with faith. Again, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." (Hebrews: 11:1-3).
Bugliosi's other books were confined to his area of expertise: Reclaiming History: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy, Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Got Away With Murder, and Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders. The Chicago Sun-Times described his Helter Skelter as "one of the best crime stories ever written." Perhaps Bugliosi had new worlds to conquer, which is why he decided to tackle The God Question.
The inside cover of Bugliosi's book states: "Now in the most controversial book of his career, he turns his incomparable prosecutorial eye on the greatest target of all: God. In making his case for agnosticism, Bugliosi has very arguably written the most powerful indictment ever of God, organized religion, theism, and atheism.
Theists will be left reeling by, the commanding nature of Bugliosi's extraordinary arguments against them. And, with his trademark incisive logic and devastating wit, he also exposes the intellectual poverty of atheism and skewers its leading popularizers - Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Richard Dawkins."
It begs the question, why would anyone even want to "indict God?" Bugliosi goes so far as to question the virgin birth of Jesus, and hence state that he was not the son of God.
Controversial, it is, as well as provocative. Divinity of Doubt: The God Question, is bound to raise a few eyebrows, but if one is firm and steadfast in their faith and belief, this book will not be persuasive; those who believe in God, do not rely on or require any empirical proof, for there is none, only faith.
Bugliosi's book, like Sam Warren's The Naked Truth, attempts to poke holes in the existence of God, but those with an unshakeable faith and belief, are unmoved. Even noted comedian, Bill Maher, takes a stab at The God Question, in his documentary, Religulous (2008), Maher, with a Jewish-Catholic background, sets out to prove that having faith and seeking directions from God is basically ridiculous and may be due to a neurotic disorder.
It seems to be open season on the denigration of Christianity. The late and former Pastor of the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, Bishop Arthur M. Brazier, had this to say about Bill Maher, which could very well apply to Bugliosi: "the Lord will reward him according to his words!"
Non-believers and even scientists, however, are also taken to task in the book. 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." Bugliosi seems to be all over the map on The God Question.
Bugliosi comes down hard on theists, atheists, and agnostics alike. Whatever your position is on The God Question, Divinity of Doubt is food for thought.--(Dennis Moore)
- Vanguard Press
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Meet the Author
Vincent Bugliosi received his law degree in 1964. In his career at the L.A. County District Attorney's office, he successfully prosecuted 105 out of 106 felony jury trials, including 21 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. Two of Bugliosi's other booksAnd the Sea Will Tell and Outragealso reached #1 on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list. No other American true-crime writer has ever had more than one book that achieved this ranking. The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder was likewise a New York Times bestseller, and Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy has been heralded as epic and a book for the ages. HBO, in association with Tom Hanks's PlayTone Productions, will be producing this as a ten-hour mini-series.
- Date of Birth:
- August 14, 1934
- Date of Death:
- June 6, 2015
- Place of Birth:
- Hibbing, MN
- Place of Death:
- Los Angeles, CA
- University of Miami (1956); UCLA Law School (1964)
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Divinity of Doubt by Vincent Bugliosi From the get-go, I must admit that Divinity of Doubt is my kind of reading. The reason is simple. This well stated 5-star book examines the possibility of God's existence by contrasting it with the impossibility of His Existence. Author Bugliosi is a thinker in this sense: he refuses to consider anything as truthful except that which is reasonable to the human mind. Divinity of Doubt supposes we have a mind; but deny that and we have utter nothingness which we know is unreasonable. Moving on from there, Bugliosi begins to annihilate ALL religion including, Catholicism, Protestantism, Jewish Religions, Oriental Beliefs, Muslimism and -isms in general. How can he so easily wipe out all this doctrine with one fell swoop of his hand. Simple! Every religion known to man is a priori. This means that belief in any religious system accepts proof that the tenets it holds are justifiable and verifiable, because those tenets say they are justifiable and verifiable. In many cases, religious doctrine is built like a pyramid on some already believed, mythical, questionable fact, like the all-seeing eye on the dollar bill. So many religious -isms today descend from the basic Biblical fact in Genesis that God 1) created the cosmos. How do we know that to be truth? Because in the beginning verses of the Bible, 2) the Word states the fact that an Almighty Creator made all things. How do we know the Bible is inspired by God? Because 3) the Bible says so. How do we know god created the cosmos, oops, we've been here before, haven't we, because we have statement number 1) all over again! This is like a wheel of fortune. Give it a spin and whatever religion the indicator points to is the winner of truth. Why? Because each space SAYS it is the truth. This is akin to religious belief today. Spinning the religions wheel is similar to believing the pointer because of where you were raised from childhood, and what religion your parents forced upon you. Divinity of Doubt states reasonable proofs for 1) the all powerful, all knowing God (theism) and 2) the non existent God (atheism). Reading how author Bugliosi demolishes both beliefs is quite amusing. An example: theists profoundly believing in an all perfect God who is imperfect enough to allow the earthquake/tsunami in Japan to take place, or even the heinous holocaust. Then too, we have reduction to absurdity when atheists deny that God exists, but they themselves have existence from, from, from what? from nothingness? This is an excellent book. I very highly recommend its researched material for study, not lightly; because it outlines the horrors religion has nailed through reason's hands and feet. Look around the world today to see the painful crowns of thorns Israel and Jerusalem are attempting to beat down on each other's brows in the name of religion. Then look at Pakistan, Arabia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria. But do not just look at the battles taking place, look at the real underlying reasons why-differences in religious and subsequent moral beliefs. Vincent Bugliosi's Divinity of Doubt would have all peoples share an agnostic view of the world. A view that says, for the sake of humanity, let's stop killing one another in the name of religion. We are here; we are what we are; we are alive, and although we are reasonable, we must live with the ugliest, cruelest dichotomy of all time-we will never know the answer to the God Question.
Seeing a talented and smart lawyer like Vincent Bugliosi take on some of the greatest theological questions that man has struggled with for centuries is a thrill in itself. Seeing him make mincemeat of opponent's arguments is even better. I feel like he is cross-examining a witness, has him on the ropes, and then very surgically goes in for the kill. So, yes, I liked this book. The writing style leaves something to be desired, but God probably took that away from him when he heard the arguments that Bugliosi was going to make!
The author does a thorough analysis of the question, "Is there a God", and reaches the conclusion that he isn't sure. His analysis falls short only when he ventures into a discussion about the universe and how it began. With a better understanding of the latest thinking on that subject I think his indecision would vanish, but I won't say what his conclusion would then be. The book is well worth reading.
This is the biggest waste of money, the worst researched, and most envious, yet self-inflated driveling on any subject dealing with religion. I've read almost every new atheism book in the last six years and this by far is the most opinionated pile of crap. I have all the respect in the world for Bugliosi as a D.A. This time he managed to make me simultaneously hold my nose while turning page after page of innocuous, complaining, insulting, seemingly non-researched, and silly, implausible rambling over an experiment that will never take place not only because of it's inanity, but the self-inflated view Bugliosi has of himself, his ideas, his ignorance of the Bible, the Mormon religion, and all books he hastily insulted as if he's an evolutionary biologist, a top ten intellect, a creative writer, and of course his constant and superfluous reminders of his D.A. days, which is the only reason he received this contract to spew laughable B.S. I beg you to get this book for free, or don't even waste a cent and a minute of your time. Take a shower, walk the dog, scratch your ass, or find anything to do other than waste good leisure time on this rambling drivel. Btw, I wanted to give him a half of a star, but a full star registered. It doesn't matter. I gave it out of pity.