April 14, 2010

Former Atheist Philosopher Anthony Flew Is Dead

Sadly, the famous philosopher Anthony Flew, who was most known for being the best-known academic atheist yet in his latter years came to believe in God, died on April 8th at the age of 87. I had the pleasure of meeting him about ten years ago when I attended a debate between Dr. Flew and Dr Gary Habermas, who was my professor at the time, on the topic of the resurrection of Christ on the set of the John Ankerburg Show in Charlotte, North Carolina. Dr. Flew was an atheist at the time arguing against the validity of Christ's resurrection from the dead, yet unlike today's militant atheists he was a very kind and pleasurable man to speak with. I believe it was this debate that helped put him on the road towards theism. During the debate he was obviously stumped against the powerful arguments in favor of the Gospel accounts of the resurrection and their historicity. I'll never forget during this moment, which can be seen on video, he turned to the audience and gave a rant about why he refuses to believe in the God of Christianity, which in fact was a rant against the vengeful bloodthirsty God of the West who requires atonement and appeasement to save man and who allows horrible suffering in the world. I remember turning to my wife at that point in a room full of Evangelical Protestants and saying how his arguments are not against God, but against the misconception of God exploited by the West. Yet it should be noted that the audience and his opponent in the debate treated him also with great respect and honor, of which I believe allowed for him to have an open mind and question his own thinking on the issue. Speaking with Dr. Habermas during the intermission, he mentioned to me that Dr. Flew had requested for further information into the evidence that was presented for the historicity of the resurrection that he could study in private. I knew back then that if given the time, Dr. Flew would abandon atheism. In 2004 my prediction came true. May the Lord grant him eternal rest.

Here are Dr. Flew's words on why he turned to a belief in God:

"There were two factors in particular that were decisive. One was my growing empathy with the insight of Einstein and other noted scientists that there had to be an Intelligence behind the integrated complexity of the physical Universe. The second was my own insight that the integrated complexity of life itself – which is far more complex than the physical Universe – can only be explained in terms of an Intelligent Source. I believe that the origin of life and reproduction simply cannot be explained from a biological standpoint despite numerous efforts to do so. With every passing year, the more that was discovered about the richness and inherent intelligence of life, the less it seemed likely that a chemical soup could magically generate the genetic code. The difference between life and non-life, it became apparent to me, was ontological and not chemical. The best confirmation of this radical gulf is Richard Dawkins' comical effort to argue in The God Delusion that the origin of life can be attributed to a 'lucky chance'. If that's the best argument you have, then the game is over. No, I did not hear a Voice. It was the evidence itself that led me to this conclusion..."

Obituary for Professor Antony Flew

More on Anthony Flew

Video on why he changed his mind

Video on belief in the after life

Dr. Habermas responds to atheist critics of Dr. Flew's conversion

Anthony Flew reviews Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion