I have to admit, that I first heard of Anthony Flew from a lecture on the philosophy of Christian apologetics. The speaker, (who has since, become a good friend,) was alluding to a statement by Flew that supported some position on epistemology that the speaker was trying to make. I can almost remember the exact quote, but without going back and finding it, this paraphrase should be close enough:
“I agree with Flew here. He is an Atheist, but I agree with him, he is a good philosopher.”
Later on, I began noticing his books in the stores, seeing how they set themselves against the God who I had come to know and love. Unlike other of his colleagues, Mr. Flew had some reservations with the popular “logical positivism” of his day. I thought that if he was willing to concede to the irrationality of that position to a point, then for sure, he was someone who would finally be able to give some sort of consistent argument against my God! If anyone could…Flew could!
Imagine my surprise when I started hearing the rumors that Flew now believed in a god!!!
While browsing through the local Barnes and Noble last week, I saw that he has now written a book about his “conversion” called, “There IS a God.”
I was so excited about this, that I read the book in two short sittings. It has been made highly accessible to the layman, and I suppose would not stand up to any strict scrutiny on its own, but, by and large Anthony Flew lays out his reasons for now believing that a god of some sort is necessary. (He even says that he thinks the Christian God is the best omnipotent being to believe in. Appendix B of the book is a point by point rebuttal of some of Flews past accusations by one of my favorite Bible scholars N.T. Wright!)
Now, I, as a wanna-be Van Tillian Presuppositionalist, do not agree with the method by which Mr. Flew has utilized to arrive at his conclusion, although I can agree with a much used statement by Mr. Flew throughout his book, attributed to Socrates:
“Follow the facts wherever they may lead you!”
I certainly agree that the “facts” would lead any man to not just a nameless god of some deist, but, rather to the Christian God! Unfortunately, due to the fall of man, and the noetic effects of sin on our reasoning process, unregenerate man can no longer follow these facts where ever they may lead, but must stop at a certain arbitrary point and begin suppressing the truth with a lie, (usually a very sophisticated and well structured lie known as a worldview.)
Perhaps Flew is one of us after all! God has opened his heart, and Flew is now able to begin seeing where the evidence leads!
Many atheists and anti-theists out there have tried to respond. Unfortunately, these responses usually take the form of an ad hominem attack against Mr. Flew in some way, (usually having something to do with his age.) So has Flew “flown the coop?”
You know, if God can use a talking donkey, He can certainly use Anthony Flew!
I have to apologize to my non Christian friends reading this, but if you are going to claim that an 80 year old mans premises do not support his conclusion, merely because of his age, then I’m going to have to call you on your fallacy!
There is no unique argument to Flew, he merely asserts that he has come to see the value in certain Christian arguments, and he also acknowledges that Christian philosophy is on the rise again! Plantinga, Stump, etc. Many new analytic Christian philosophers are hitting the scene these days, and as Flew points out, nothing Dawkins, Harris or Dennit presents even address the issues raised, let alone critiques them!
I pray that all unbelievers would be like Flew, and search for the truth, wherever the facts may lead! (That means more than doing a quick 5 min. google search.)