Antony Flew says There Is A God

There_is_a_God.jpgHe was one of the world’s most vocal and respected atheists but after years of studying all the available evidence he’s come to a very different conclusion.

Professor Antony Garrard Newton Flew is a British philosopher who was known for several decades as a prominent atheist. In fact, he has been called the world’s most notorious atheist.

For many years, Flew debated Christians and others who believed in the existence of God saying that one should presuppose atheism until evidence of a God surfaces. He still believes in this approach but in recent years he has come to the understanding that such evidence does exist.

My regular Wednesday morning guest on 98.5 Sonshine FM is Ross Clifford who is the Principal of Morling College in New South Wales and current President of the Baptist Union of Australia. Each week we chat about a range of issues relating to spirituality and belief.

Today we discussed Flew’s book, There Is A God, and looked at what he now believes.

Antony Flew is certainly not a Christian but the book would suggest that he sees Christianity as the most compelling of the world’s religions.

I haven’t had a chance to read the book as yet but I certainly want to grab a copy. Ross says that it’s very readable and quite a revelation.

If you want to hear some more about Antony Flew and his book you can listen to our conversation by clicking play on the audio player at the bottom of this post.

So where does the evidence point for you? Whatever side of the fence you’re on, I hope you’re wise enough to ask the tough questions and see where the answers lead you.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • Interesting point, Robert.

    The idea that the book wasn’t actually Flew’s has been raised a number of times and prompted him to release a statement that said, “My name is on the book and it represents exactly my opinions. I would not have a book issued in my name that I do not 100 percent agree with. I needed someone to do the actual writing because I’m 84 and that was Roy Varghese’s role. The idea that someone manipulated me because I’m old is exactly wrong. I may be old but it is hard to manipulate me. This is my book and it represents my thinking.”

  • It’s hard to see how someone can come to believe unless God “touched” him. Seeing evidence would be merely intellectual, it could make you start to search but unless He calls you, how can you come to Him?
    I’ve been told that no one comes to Him by thinking but I think scripture says FEW come that way. I know a man, a now-retired mathematics professor at the Naval Academy in Annapolis who started writing mathematical “proof” that God can not exist. He found he was wrong! He never published the book, he became a believer instead.

  • TMinut, thanks for dropping in.

    I agree that there needs to be a certain amount of revelation but of course, as your friend found out, we don’t need to accept God through blind faith. God has given us intelligence and wisdom to make an intellectual and spiritual connection.

  • Flew did an interview with Philosophia Christi around the time the book came out, and the guy who did the interview did indeed do it with Flew. It was someone who has known Flew for quite a while, too, and not someone who would deliberately invent an interview that didn’t happen. There’s this hoax going around being perpetrated by gullible atheists who don’t want to accept that a former atheist could accept even a very thin theism, but it’s just stupid.

    Their first attempt was to leave erroneous messages on people’s blogs that talked about this but directed people to something Flew wrote several years before he started accepting God’s existence as plausible. How that was supposed to refute a later change in his views I still haven’t figured out, but when I started pointing out the date differences they left my blog alone. So now they’re just acting as if there’s no way he could have written the book or held any views remotely like what the book says, and yet there’s no evidence given for such claims. It’s a serious charge that they’re issuing, and there’s simply no evidence for it. It’s wishful thinking by some people who can’t allow that someone might go from atheism to theism, even though people do it all the time. Just because it’s more common to go the other way doesn’t mean smart people can’t become theists.

    I never thought Flew was all that exceptional as a philosopher. He was always sort of seen as a crank, the way many of the Christian apologists are seen by professional philosophers. He also still has very serious reservations about a good God creating anything like the world we’ve got now because of the problem of evil. But he does now think the fine-tuning design argument is a pretty good argument. Why is that so hard for people to accept?

  • Wikipedia has some more up-to-date information on the response to the hoax perpetrated by Mark Oppenheimer, P.Z. Myers, Richard Carrier, and others about Flew’s book with Varghese. Flew has done several interviews affirming his belief in some sort of deity, including a radio interview where if it hadn’t been him anyone who knew his voice would have been able to tell. He has reaffirmed his support for intelligent design based on the fine-tuning of cosmological constants in physics. He has reaffirmed his view that the origin of life can’t just be due to lucky chance, picking out Dawkins in particular as someone who holds that view and disagreeing. There’s even a reference toward the end of the article about Oppenheimer himself seemingly admitting to Flew’s acceptance of deism.

  • Thanks for the information, Jeremy. It’s helpful to have a range of views represented.

    In the end, the debate can’t be won or lost based on the thoughts of one person, so I’m intrigued that many are so quick to try to discredit the book and Flew’s change of heart. I certainly won’t be abandoning my faith if a high profile believer ‘switches sides’ and I wouldn’t attempt to discredit their new opinions.

    I appreciate the respectful manner in which Robert raises the points he does and I’m hoping that the discussion can remain respectful whichever point of view people hold.

  • I hope that he can follow God genuinely, experience His abundant grace, and share it to the world.

    People usually get amazed on someone who used to be an atheist and then become a Christian.

  • Michael, to be clear, Flew is no Christian and is not even close. He thinks if the Christian God exists then he is a thoroughly immoral being. He simply has accepted that there is evidence enough to believe bare theism, what some call deism.

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