World's Leading Atheist Now Believes in God
I wouldn't really consider Flew one of the World's Leading Atheists, but thought you all might be interested in this article nonetheless.
World's Leading Atheist Now Believes in GodPosted Oct 10th 2007 8:22AM by Dinesh D'Souza
Filed under: Science, Religion, Christianity, Atheism
For the past half century, the leading atheist in the world was philosopher Anthony Flew. He wrote over 30 philosophical works laying the intellectual groundwork for nonbelief. He debated Christian apologists. He was widely cited in atheist literature and at atheist conventions. What distinguished Flew was how comprehensive and fully-developed his atheist philosophy was. Other philosophers, such as Bertrand Russell and Martin Heidegger, espoused atheist beliefs but those beliefs were incidental to their philosophy. Atheism was Flew's philosophy. HIs works such as Theology and Falsification and The Presumption of Atheism were considered classics of theist thought.
Then Anthony Flew became a believer, and his book There Is A God describes his intellectual journey. Go ahead and order this book, along with my new book, What's So Great About Christianity. Together the two books represent what atheism has always dreaded: historically based, philosophically rich, scientifically fluent, logically reasoned refutations of atheism.
Flew says he has a lifelong commitment to going "where the evidence leads." And now, he calmly says, the evidence leads to theism. His own past writings have been exposed as a "relic." Flew writes, "My discovery of the divine has proceeded on a purely natural level, without any reference to supernatural phenomena...It has had no connection with any of the revealed religions. Nor do I claim to have had any personal experience of God or any experience that may be called supernatural or miraculous. My discovery of the divine has been a pilgrimage of reason and not of faith."
Flew's argument for God combines science and philosophy, and I'll let you discover it for yourself in his book. What I enjoyed was the way he uses simple analogies to expose atheist illogic. For instance, leading atheists seek to prove that the mind is no more than the brain. If the brain is destroyed, they say, we can't use our minds. Therefore there is nothing to minds excerpt circuits and neurons. Flew gives the example of a child raised on a remote island who finds a satellite phone. Voices come out of the machine. The child recognizes these voices as human and is thrilled by the discovery that she has found a way to interact with other humans. Perhaps there is life outside the island! Then the elders of the tribe (if I may embellish Flew's account, let's call them Big Chief Dawkins and Grand Pooh Bah Dennett) and Witch Doctor Pinker) scorn the child and say, "Look, when we damage the instrument, the voices stop. So they're obviously nothing more than sounds produced by the unique combination of metals and circuit boards. Forget about learning about other humans. From all the evidence we have, we are the only living creatures on earth. So go back to making sandcastles." Who are the real dummies here?
Anthony Flew has been banished from the atheist community. Anthologies have been reprinted removing his essays. Atheist websites condemn him as an apostate. (Atheist toleration does not extend to former atheists.) He doesn't even make the case for Christianity, as I do. But Anthony flew out of the atheist cuckoo's nest, leaving anger and confusion among the unbelievers. And now Flew tells us why he rejects atheism. The atheist monopoly on public debate is over: the theists are striking back.