Saturday, October 1, 2011

Divinity of Doubt by Vincent Bugliosi part 2

After saying one inane thing after another,  Divinity of Doubt by Vincent Bugliosi continues with the cleverly titled, "The Intelligence (or Lack Thereof) of Intelligent Design." While recognizing the incredible complexity of the known universe, he argues that could be due to complex natural laws. He kind of hints that God could be behind those laws, or they could just be self-sustaining laws having no origin. This tautology makes my head hurt. Incredible design indicates a designer or just brilliant design principles with no designer?!? What?

The sheer complexity and impossibility of the universe, however, seems to move him away from a belief in God. In an incredibly poor reasoned paragraph he states: In the first place, if God, per Christianity, is all-powerful and all-intelligent and can bring about whatever he pleases, why in the world would he create this incredibly complex system of 122 constants to provide life on earth? You mean that he couldn't create an earth that was self-sustaining and relied on none of these things. That do do so would be beyond his power? That he's not, after all all-powerful and without limitation?... The fact that there are 122 constants out there is, to me, very powerful circumstantial evidence not that it was God who created all these constants, but of the opposite, that no one of them has anything to do with the Christian God of people's imagination." What? If God is all-powerful, he would have created a simpler universe? The complexity argues that God is not powerful enough to create a simple earth. What? Later he argues that the vastness of the universe shows that God is similarly not powerful enough to make just the earth and leave it at that. In fact the sheer wastefulness of it offends his sensibilities.  For some reason, he contends, God is not capable of simplicity. Or... maybe God created something so wonderfully complex it has taken us thousands of years just to begin to discover and He has reasons for a vast, infinite universe we cannot even begin to understand but will someday begin to catch glimpses of.

He moves into an attack on the book of Genesis. Many things he blows off with a simple prima fascia argument, taking no time to actually exam the text (i.e. Jonah, Noah, Sampson, the whole Garden of Eden story). He shows not even a rudimentary understanding of the book, completely ignoring the thousands of years of scholarship seeking to explain and elucidate the Scriptures. He belittles an "all-knowing" God for not knowing where Adam was or that he ate the apple (apple? again no knowledge of the text!). (When making this point on Dennis Prager's radio show, Dennis replied, "Are you serious?") Yet strangely, he ends the chapter with praise for the Bible as a whole.

Of course he goes after Christians, belittling and mocking them, while claiming not to. He adamantly opposes the notion that you must be born again to be saved. He simply cannot imagine anything other than good works paving the way to heaven. He claims in back-to-back sentences that God has remained silent as to the path to salvation, but then quotes Jesus as saying, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the after except through me." He advocates God appearing in the clouds and spelling out His plan for salvation to humanity. Apparently that's a much better way to communicate then coming down to earth in the form of a human and actually talking  and interacting with us. How this cloud thing works, he doesn't elaborate. Does God have to appear to every person at some point in the clouds? Does He have to do it every 15 minutes or so, so as not to miss anyone? If I see Him in the clouds, would Vincent Bugliosi take my word for it? He even mocks Jesus' exchange with Nicodemus saying Jesus himself couldn't really explain the whole "born again" thing.

He has no use for the original sin doctrine or patience to understand why Jesus death would redeem us. Being an extreme literalist, he cannot conceive of the concept of Jesus taking our punishment. Furthermore, he blames God for giving us a sin nature in the first place, with no acknowledgement that God also sent Himself as the remedy. I would think a prosecutor like Bugliosi would see that justice demands a punishment, and God is therefore demonstrating true justice in demanding a price paid, but demonstrating beautiful mercy in paying price himself. Then, conveniently forgetting the whole "born again" thing, he states obviously Jesus' death did not forgive ALL sin because some people will still be sent to hell. It's like he didn't even read his own last chapter.

He spends quite a bit of time doing what he accuses atheists of doing, denigrating religion and conflating it with denigrating God. He jumps on Christian beliefs to mock them with no consideration of the voluminous scholarship done to clarify them (i.e. the Trinity, Jesus being the Son of God, the virgin birth). It's embarrassing to read his pretentious, shallow analysis.

In a couple of strange chapters, he slams God for putting us all to death, eventually, and then argues Heaven cannot possibly be worth the pain and suffering of death. Hmmm... The fact that we all will die someday, definitionally means God is not good. How could a good God rob us of this beautiful thing called life with all its wonder and joy. Simultaneously, after we die, Heaven will be boring compared to life on earth. Somehow, God can create a wonderful material world, but is creatively-challenged when it comes to the eternal. Having no interest in sitting on a cloud and playing a harp for eternity, Heaven holds no attraction for Bugliosi. Ummmm, a three-year-old could explain a few things to this pompous know-it-all.

There's more! I'll have to rant in a later post!

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