SAN DIEGO BOOKSHELF--DIVINITY OF DOUBT: THE GOD QUESTION

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this



Divinity Of Doubt: The God Question, By Vincent Bugliosi (Vanguard Press, New York, NY 2011, 338 Pages)

 

Book Review by Dennis Moore

 

"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.

Back in 2009, Bugliosi told NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday about what made the Manson case such a sensation: "If I were to give you what I believe the most bizarre in the annals of American crime, I mean, the incredible motive for the murders: to ignite a war between Blacks and Whites, that Manson called helter skelter - would be the final destruction on the face of this Earth."

Bugliosi followed his work on the Manson case with books whose subject ranged from true crime to theology. In many of them, he analyzed other high-profile cases, such as the O.J. Simpson murder trial. He also analyzed the killing of President John F. Kennedy and accused former President George W. Bush of murder over the 2003 Iraq invasion.

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!" See Bishop Brazier's worship service here.

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.

Editor’s note: Plans for Bugliosi to appear at the Diamond Literary Festival author’s cruise in San Diego June 3 have changed; instead his publicist will be participating.

 

Dennis Moore is a former member of the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild, and has been a freelance contributor to the San Diego Union-Tribune Newspaper. He is also a Christian, and a member of West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles. Mr. Moore can be contacted contractsagency@gmail.com or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.

Comments

Vincent Bugliosi, Manson Prosecutor, Dies

Former Los Angeles prosecutor, Vincent Bugliosi, who pivoted from the courtroom to writing, has died at age 80. After the 1969 murder of Sharon Tate and six others thrust Bugliosi into the spotlight, he won convictions against Charles Manson and several of his followers. Back in 2009, Bugliosi told NPR's "Weekend Edition Sunday" about what made the Manson case such a sensation; "If I were to give you what I believe the most bizarre in the recorded annals of American crime, I mean, the incredible motive for the murders: to ignite a war between Blacks and Whites, that Mason called helter skelter, would be the final destruction on the face of this Earth."

HEARTFELT CONDOLENCES TO VINCENT BUGLIOSI FAMILY

In my brief phone conversation with Vincent Bugliosi while writing my review of his book, I gained a bit of insight into the man, and at this time I want to extend my heartfelt condolences to his family at his passing.

"Vincent Bugliosi in Conversation with Jon Wiener"

Acclaimed author and former LA Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi will appear in conversation at the Los Angeles Times "Festival of Books" at USC on Sunday, April13, 2014 at 10:30AM in the Campus Center Ballroom.

Excellent review, poor subject

Dennis did an excellent job of reviewing this difficut book. There is no way to find a supporter for the theology, however. Bugliosi attempts to show Christians, atheist, and agnostics all as being wrong.........? Even Darwin can't escape. It appears Bugliosi just doesn't believe in anything and therefore, wants us all to feel the same. Not going to happen. The Bible is a better read that this book. What a waste of time.~~ Donalie, author of http://www.murderisafamilyaffair.com

Los Angeles Times "Festival of Books"

As I had the distinct honor and pleasure of interviewing Vincent Bugliosi for my review of this book, I definitely plan on being at the Los Angeles Times "Festival of Books" at USC in April for "Vincent Bugliosi in Conversation with Jon Wiener."

Does God exist?

My hat off to Dennis for undertaking this review.

Among other things Mr. Bugliosi is questioning the existence of God because of "bad things" that happen to people?

I am a born-again Christian but have not always been one. I have gone through a lot of challenges in my life. I have been able to conquer and make it through each and everyone of them through my faith in an almighty God. Only when we have faith in God will He see us through whatever problems we have. "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."[Hebrews 11:6] The reward of conquering challenges comes with faith. One has to believe and then God acts on that faith, not the other way round. Just because someone does not get healed from a disease or that God allowed the Jews to die in the Holocaust does not disprove the existence of God. It just proves that God does not conform to a non-believer's pre-constructed idea of God's nature. God is sovereign, He is powerful and his "loving kindness is from everlasting to everlasting". As a Christian I believe that death is not the end of life but the beginning of eternal life.

Kay Baker "Sentenced to Life"
http://kaybaker.tateauthor.com

Review of The God Question, Divinity of Doubt

I found Dennis Moore's review to be thought provoking. The existence of God has been a subject of controversy since time began. As far as I am concerned, there is too much order in the universe for it to have randomly come about. I believe there must be a higher power.
In my book, Song of the Rails, a Love Story,my character also doubts her beliefs. This book is based, in part, on my own life experiences. But, like my character, I believe there is order in our lives, whether we can see it or not.
www.helenosterman.com

"How To Whip The Devil" by Dorothy Bracy Alston

Dorothy Bracy Alston, an author, freelance writer, journalist, adjunct English professor, consultant, community activist, philanthropist, and ministry servant, has written a contrast to Vincent Bugliosi's book, "Divinity of Doubt", in her book; "How To Whip The Devil: A Spiritual Weapons GUIDE".

 

Dorothy will be a special guest author at the Kennedy Branch of the Gary Public Library this Saturday, September 10, 2016 from 2 - 4pm, where she will expound on her beliefs, and undoubtably differ with Bugliosi's book and his beliefs.

As Dorothy and I grew up together and both graduated from Charleston High School in Charleston, Missouri, I would love to be there with her in Gary, Indiana tomorrow to support her, but unfortunately, I am not able to make it on such short notice.

 

I do have Dorothy's book, and hope to write a review of it at some future point.

 

Negroes, Flies and Wet Toilet Paper: Confessions

Kudos to Dennis Moore for another outstanding book review. Mr. Moore also reviewed my book “Negroes, Flies and Wet Toilet Paper Confessions of a Preacher’s Daughter: Losing My Religion and Finding God.”

Ironically, Moore was assigned the task of reviewing the works of two former prosecuting attorneys both of whom can boast a 100% conviction rate-- Mr. Bugliosi was a prosecutor for LA’s District Attorney’s Office and I was a Deputy City Attorney for the city of San Diego and an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of California in San Diego.

Mr. Bugliosi and I question the very existence of God. Mr. Bugliosi’s search ends with the conclusion that “...no sensible person should be dogmatic about whether there is or is not a God.” My search ended with the conclusion that the God/Jesus story I had been taught as the child of Pentacostal Preachers had been and continues to be hijacked and misinterpreted. The true essence of God is Love. I concluded God is within and without time and He is everywhere and in everything.

As pointed out in Mr. Moore's review, Bugliosi as well as many others question God’s existence because certain evils continue to happen to both good and bad people. Why doesn’t He do something about evil? I don’t know. But St. Augustine said it best, “Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works, unless His omnipotence and goodness were such to bring good even out of evil. This is the infinite goodness of god… He allow[s] evil to exist, and out of it produce[s] good.” In the case of Nicole Simpson, her tragic ending produced public outcry against law enforcement’s failure to respond to complaints of domestic violence. Laws were passed, spouses or domestic partners were prosecuted, sentenced and order to go to anger management classes. Who knows how many lives were saved as a result of her death. We are all given free will – we can choose to do good or choose to do evil. Mother Teresa said, “Don’t worry about why problems exist in the world – just respond to people’s needs”. I agree.
It is true; the existence of God cannot be scientifically demonstrated because that would run contrary to faith. Faith is the unseen. Moreover, the Bible is 99% based upon hearsay. Any court would sustain a hearsay objection to any testimony regarding what St. John said Jesus said or what the woman at the well said to Jesus --to name a few examples. But since Bugliosi is the one who indicted God, he has the burden of proof to prove beyond a reasonable doubt God does not exist. This he cannot and does not do despite his articulate reasoning and empirical proof . Perhaps he should take the “Simple Path” as suggested by Mother Teresa. She said it doesn’t matter whether you believe in God, you can help others by doing works of love and the fruit of these works are the extra graces that come into your soul. She stated further that it is not how much you do, but how much love you put into the doing and sharing with others that is important. In my opinion, it also doesn’t matter whether anybody can prove beyond a reasonable doubt Jesus was or was not God in the flesh – who can argue against his teachings: The writers of the Gospel said, Jesus taught that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son..” (John 3:16) “This is my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you. “ (John 15:12) “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”(Matthew 25:40) The Jesus story is about love. You can't see love - but you can feel love and loved. You can't see God, but you can feel him.

As for me, after years of suffering from mental torment and physical religious abuse, this prosecuting attorney concluded that God had been given a bum rap. As a prior defense attorney, I would defend God’s character as a case of mistaken identity. I used the measure of faith God gave all human beings (Romans 12:3) and found God in everything, everywhere and in every human being. You can’t come to God and you can’t find proof of his existence without using the measure of faith he gave you – without faith it is impossible for you to find him because “he that cometh to God must believe that He Is…” (Hebrews 11:6) Moreover, Jeremiah said, God said –“…ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13) Pardon me if it appears as though I am preaching. Sorry. It is a bad habit I picked up. After all I am the Preacher’s Daughter.

Thanks Mr. Bugliosi for sharing your thoughts and insights. A really good read and you are a great writer. And thank you, Mr. Moore for peaking my curiosity about Mr. Bugliosi’s book. Glad I read it. Now I want to read “Helter Skelter.”

Divinity of Doubt: The God Question

 This is the most reasoned approach and answer to the "God Question" that I have ever read - in stark contrast to Vincent Bugliosi's pronouncements. Debra, you must have been a tremendous prosecuting attorney, and I would have loved to have seen you in action. Your book, "Negroes, Flies and Wet Toilet Paper," which I had the honor and pleasure to review, gave me a particular insight into you which supports your comments in regard to Bugliosi's book.

"Pascal's Wager about God"

Blaise Pascal (1623 - 1662) states: "Though the existence of God cannot be determined through reason, a person should wager as though God exists, because living life accordingly has everything to gain, and nothing to lose."

Your Book Review

I grew up in a Communist country where Atheism was the only "religion" and God was replaced with a man who elected himself President. What can I say? Once I moved here in the US I did find God and he helped me in the worse times...
Thank you, Dennis Moore, for this excellent book review. You made me curious to buy the book and read it.

Divinity or Doubt

It seems to me that one is called an agnostic when they claim that it cannot be known whether or not God exists. However, I believe God's existence is one question, but God's nature or character is another. Hence it seems that one cannot say that God does not exist because of the Holocaust, famine, etc. But rather they can only say God did not meet their expectations. I believe in the God of the Bible through faith. However the rational nature of creation, including the solar systems and the marvel of biological life are, to me, empirical evidence that a Higher Power / Greater intelligence exists. We can all choose to perceive that power in any fashion we wish.

Divinity of Doubt: The God Question

As the Pastor of the Church that I have called home for the last several years, Bethel Memorial A.M.E., I am honored to have Pastor Anthony Hughes offer his thoughts and insight on my review. It is well-balanced and makes perfect sense to me.

Agree or not, an excellent, balanced review

A most interesting work, and hats off to both the author for tackling the subject, and Dennis Moore for giving such a balanced review. Most certainly, as he notes, "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."

- Michael Bellomo

Author of 'Centaur of the Crime'
Available online at http://tinyurl.com/3qgngxa

Absence of Free Will?

Thanks Dennis for this review. I only want to comment on the authors suggestion that there is an absence of mankinds free will and logic throughout the Bible.
Man is admonished and reminded of his ability to choose whether to live by the law of God, or by any other law in both the old and new testaments (Deuteronomy 30:15 - 20, and John 6:60 - 67, among others).
Man will always have the freedom to choose the standards of morality he desires to live by, and the results of those choices that follow.
doorkeeperone@galatiansfivepublishers.com

Man's Eternal Quest For Knowledge

I enjoyed your review Dennis. However this passage that you wrote does concerns me:

"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"

I think the role of faith is where atheits,agnostics and adherents of all denominations run into trouble. It becomes the final answer to the unanswerable aspects of our existence. When it is simply a matter of individual belief it is harmless enough, but as we see in the Middle East it can represent a threat to our way of life.

There are a billion or so Muslims who have FAITH that their way is the only way, their God the only God and the Koran the only true and perfect word of God.

They have THE FAITH.

It might only be a small percentage of them that are "radical", but a small percent of a billion is a large number of people who have beliefs that need rethinking!

You also stated that:

"Perhaps that is the intent of his book, to get us thinking"

Ya think?

As a previous comment noted - The search for truth could very well be the most important intellectual responsibility of them all - and in that regard Bugliosi's book is one of the best I have read. It will certainly make you think.

Divinity of Doubt Review

Excellent review. I am buying a copy of the book asap. Bugliosi's topic is timely in our global culture rift with war in the name of religion. He joins the ranks of Luigi Casciolo, the Italian lawyer who brought a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Church for abuse of popular credulity and impersonation, claiming Jesus did not exist as an historical figure. See his book "The Fable of Christ." We cover Mr. Casciolo's lawsuit in our book "The Book No Pope Would Want You to Read." Maybe if we can get to the bottom of all this "only one god" nonsense peace will prevail.

Change in the historical faith paradigm

Only a few months ago, I would have found myself in complete sympathy with almost all of what 'Divinity of Doubt' has to say, at least from the above review. But that is no longer the case.

The first wholly new interpretation for 2000 years of the Gospel/moral teachings of Christ is on the web. Redefining all primary elements including Faith, the Word, Law, Baptism, the Trinity and especially the Resurrection. Questioning the validity and origins of all Christian tradition, and focusing specifically on marriage, love and human sexuality; it overturns all natural law ethics and theory, and at stake is the credibility of several thousand years of religious history.

The first ever viable religious conception capable of leading reason, by faith, to observable consequences which can be tested and judged is now a reality. A teaching that delivers the first ever religious claim of insight into the human condition that meets the Enlightenment criteria of verifiable, direct cause and effect, evidence based truth embodied in experience. For the first time in history, however unexpected, the world must contend with a claim to new revealed truth, a moral wisdom not of human intellectual origin, offering access by faith, to absolute proof, an objective basis for moral principle and a fully rational and justifiable belief! 

I am now testing this new teaching within my own relationship for the efficacy of the claims being made for it. That in itself, distinguishes this from the rest of everything passed down by history. http://www.energon.org.uk

Sam_Warren

Thanks for the plug, however, the name of my book is "The Bible Naked, the Greatest Fraud Ever Told," not The "Naked Truth." But the main thing is that you got my name spelled correctly. You can find more about my book at: http://www.bookwarren.com.

"The Bible Naked:The Greatest Fraud Ever Told"

Sam Warren, the President of the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild, and the founder of SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego, advised me today that my reference to his book should more correctly state: "The Bible Naked." Sorry about that Sam.

jury of peers

Made me laugh. God doesn't have any peers. Now I see that the comment writer meant peers of the book's writer. And yes, faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of God. Those who aren't Christians, who aren't exposed to God's word don't have any faith, don't have the inner sense that the words are true, that God is who He says He is. Though I'm pretty sure that when the bible says that everyone knows in their heart that God exists because of the stars and the earth, that it's true. Just look around and you know there was a creator. Barbara Keller, Editor of the Baja News, Ensenada, Baja. If you're down visiting look for the paper in restaurants, mail service offices, some hotels. Can't find it - email me barbara.keller3@gmail.com

Finding God

"Don't you think people pray to be spared when they have terminal cancer?"

I will take on this statement as I am an almost eight year survivor of Stage IV colon cancer. Mr.Bugliosi cannot convince me God may or may not exist. I know He does. I am also pretty good at following logic so to denigrate those with faith in God's loving existence with "logic" is ridiculous. You come to knowing God's existence through practicing faith. That is when you can see the miracles happen.

Here is one of mine: Shortly after release from the hospital, knowing I had Stage IV, I was sent to get an x-ray of the lungs. Afterall, it was already in my liver, where else had it spread? I had had emergency surgery -- a dirty surgery in that the bowel was uncleaned and the tumor was huge, 14 inches; 10 inches of colon were removed, a bag was hung on my side, and they didn't even do the promised biopsy of the liver but simply palpated it and felt the lesions. (Later, one family member agnostic had the audacity to suggest I didn't really have cancer at all.)

While changing for the x-ray, I was overwhelmed by fear -- fear that I would leave this world and my children behind, fear of the unknown journey I was on, fear of chemotherapy etc. Alone, I leaned my head on the changing room door and prayed saying, "God I know you are there. I am just so afraid, and I need your help." Tears were flowing too, and I then clearly heard a voice in my mind that said, "Just wait and see what I will show you."

Okay, Mr. B, that was my neurosis? Since that time, Sept. 2003, I was led to a naturopath and his fine treatment; I went to chemotherapy also, then was cancer free for 18 months to Jan. 2006. We watched the cancer untreated except for the tree therapy by the naturopath for three years. I led an active life, caring for my son, exercising regularly, etc. Two years ago because I was doing too much and eating less healthy etc. the cancer proliferated. Again, God intervened by sending the naturopath UNBIDDEN to my door to redo all my products (BTW he makes $0 on me, it is his love for others that motivates him and I buy from a local pharmacy.)

Shortly thereafter, I returned to the oncologist due to unexplained overall itching. In the following months I became extremely jaundiced, and the oncologist said you don't usually get jaundice until 90% of the liver is covered with cancer. I have been on chemo since then, but again, the oncologist and staff cannot believe how well I do. He said, "Well, it looks like you are going to beat it again."

I do yoga 3 or 4 times on my off chemo weeks and Tai Chi Chih; I teach piano twice a week to grandkids; I need help with the house, but I bathe myself and cook my own meals. And what have I done in my spare time these past years? I have become knowledgeable about alternative treatments of all sorts: acupuncture, reflexology, herbs, homeopathy, gemmotherapy, healing with nutrition etc. My goal in life was to help others with what I have learned. I earn no money for this service. I am poor as a church mouse (pun intended), I am mostly happy and fulfilled.

God is not found by demanding He prove himself. He is found in trusting in Him and asking for his Spirit to speak to you. My prayer was, "Father in Heaven, I believe, help Thou my unbelief."

There are trillions of stories like mine out there of those who have been saved from death. As for Mr B's take on free will, murderers have denied the Holy Ghost when they have chosen to let their minds grow in negative ways that lead to their crimes/sins. I deliberately chose God and trying to be a better person.

My prayers after surgery led to a near death experience at the hospital. I was given the choice to come to Him or to return to earth. I freely chose to return to do my duty in raising my then 12 year old son and help my family. As soon as possible, I returned to my church calling to serve others although many there expected me to ask to be released. I felt so good getting the children's lesson ready each week. Later I read Dottie Osteens little book and saw why it felt so good.

I suggest that Mr. B, go look for God with sincerity rather than audacity. He will find Him in a quiet place.

"My Christian Bias"

I was admonished today for my "Christian bias" by a Mr. Howard Rubenstein, in my review of "Divinity of Doubt: The God Question," as he stated: "Your review was very well written but I think that your Christian bias took away your objectivity." He further stated: "In a courtroom we are judged by our peers. Articles submitted to medical journals and legal journals are judged by peers. I think book reviews deserve the same. A Christian needs to recuse himself from reviewing a non-christian book on religion. Otherwise, it becomes a little like asking the fox to guard the hen house. Surely there is an agnostic or two on the staff of San Diego Bookshelf." Mr. Rubenstein brings up an interesting and valid point, but it should be noted that I was asked to write the review by the publicist of the author. Also, should an agnostic or atheist recuse themself from writing a book about the Bible or Christianity?

It would be hard to find an "unbiased" reviewer for this book.

Bugliosi makes provocative statements about atheists and people of faith, so an atheist might also arguably be biased against the book. As might a person of some non-Christian faith such as Islam or Buddhism, since it attacks the notion of belief in a higher power, not merely tenets of one specific faith.

 

Even an agonistic could be viewed as not impartial, since that is the position Bugliosi advocates, so we might then be accused of choosing a "cheerleader" for the topic.  But the point is well taken that a reviewers' views are filtered through his own life's perceptions.

 

Probably everyone has a view on faith of some sort, so how would you find a truly impartial person to review a book on this topic?

 

It should be noted that Dennis has rendered a favorable review of a book by an author who wrote of her experiences as a Muslim woman in Iraq, thus he was not insensitive to the differing beliefs of others. 

Good review

Dennis, I think it's the best thing you've written. I have one comment in agreement: The biggest problem with his premise of logically proving there's no God is he is defining God according to his made up constructs. If you consider a God who is creator, absolute ruler, who is loving but also righteous, unchanging, all present and all knowing, and entitled to do as He wishes with his creation, then none of his accusations hold water. By whose standard does God have to behave? And even if it were so, (but it's not), that God were cruel, who's to say that is proof he doesn't exist? I agree with you - if there's any possibility God and the Devil exist, this proud man is taking a big chance. It's one thing to call Charles Manson bad names, another entirely to call God bad names. Barbara Keller, editor of Baja News, Ensenada

"Divinity of Doubt: The God Question" by Vincent Bugliosi

Thank you for your well reasoned comments Barbara. I agree with you that the author may be making a tragic mistake by referring to God and notions of Christianity in terms such as "absurdity." On page 130 of his book Vincent Bugliosi states: "But, of course, no one believes that Jesus' death on the cross accomplished this, not even Christianity, the religion that continues to trumpet the 'absurdity' that Jesus died for our sins."

Barbara, you make a lot of sense when you state, and Bugliosi should be mindful of it: "It's one thing to call Charles Manson bad names, another entirely to call God bad names." Sure, Bugliosi may have prosecuted Charles Manson, but to make an indictment of God and go through the motions of prosecuting him is an entirely different matter.