Saturday, November 10, 2012

August 1, 2011 - brilliant! BRILLIANT! THANKS The Divinity of Doubt - Review by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

email to me from Ilene Proctor
Ilene PRoctor

to me, gailbug1234

From: Melinda Pillsbury-Foster []
Sent: Monday, August 01, 2011 10:37 AM
To: Ilene Proctor; Leon Smith; novakeo. com
Subject: The Divinity of Doubt - Review by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Sometimes a book carries impact beyond what the author intended. The Divinity of Doubt by Vincent Bugliosi is such a book. Overtly the book frames the acrimonious conflict between Evangelical Christianity as a set of unproven beliefs, each vulnerable to the bald facts of reality, and the parallel set of unproven beliefs comprising the ideas accepted by atheists.

Bugliosi applies a single standard, the same one which has proven so devastating to carefully constructed theories over the past generation in his series of best sellers from Helter Skelter, the book which removed doubt on the Tate Murders to The Prosecution of George Bush for Murder, the book which provides the evidence to convict a president of the United States of murder for profit.

As you read your way through Bugliosi's past work you sense an increasing focus of attention as his contextual frame enlarges in scope to subsume a deeper analysis of the intellectual and belief habits of humanity, this being the frames which limit and divide us over ideas, accepted without proof. This, Bugliosi maintains, is equally true for Christians and atheists. During the course of our interview Bulgiosi made the observation that atheists found his book more disturbing than did Christians. This stems, Bugliosi notes, from the fact atheists had failed to examine their own rejection of God from the rules of evidence, attacking theology in place of God without understanding the difference while Christians more often rely on faith alone.

Over the course of his examination Bugliosi takes each set of beliefs, Christian and atheist, scrutinizing each, on the evidence, finding each riddled with contradiction and unproven assertions. Both Christianity and atheism are 'faith-based,' he asserts, using the Bible and other Christian authoritative works and the written works of proponents of atheism for this purpose.

Working through the theology of Christianity Bugliosi questions and disproves each of the bulwarks of traditional Christianity in an exhaustive examination of the Bible, including the virginity of Mary, the mother of Jesus. He then examines the work of Richard Dawkins, again exhaustively examining the attacks made on Christianity to point out no proof is provided God does not exist. The intellectual ammunition of atheism is spent on the target of theology, unproven beliefs which are entirely human in origin.

Arriving at the position of agnosticism Bugliosi cites the impact of the book on many Christians, including Frank Shaffer one of the founders of the religious right in America. Bugliosi gave Shaffer a copy of the book who reported, “I found myself following my wife around the house reading sections to her.”

Shaffer, according to Bugliosi, is no longer a fundamentalist Christian.

The book, using rules of evidence to remove two human frames for seeing the world beyond what humanity can know, points to the larger questions which each belief system attempts to contain. In this, what is revealed is the need for security common to both Christianity and Atheism and the questions which haunt the mind during long nights of solitary thought.

The human need for emotional security, created through structures of ideas logically disconnected from the facts, becomes the elephant-in-the-room question which Divinity of Doubt hands us along with the challenge to understand unconsidered elements of human history, behavior, and biology. Like Moses standing at the border of the Promised Land, Bugliosi's book beckons us to enter.

Did humanity, moving from the unquestioning world of nature to the human world of thought and ideas, invent religion to fill a need which otherwise could not be met? That primitive people devise explanations of the world outside their understanding which we characterize as 'myths,' is well known. Myths provide framing, explaining through stories and the action of iconic figures what evades human understanding.

Myths reflect the persistent human need to see beyond the darkness and today humanity is still seeking to grasp things beyond reason, logic, and the present grasp of science. At a time when new fields of human inquiry are opening, like flowers blooming in the springtime, the reframing of ideas continues to accelerate, shedding new light and changing the landscape of human thought. And no end is in view.

In a world resting on uncertainties security comes in many forms and the myths which work are those which will endure.

When you close the cover of Divinity of Doubt you are left with a deeper understanding of the foibles and struggles of humanity. You also come away and with tools which serve you to step on to the path of self-discovery as you accept the uncertainty of a world no human mind can encompass.


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