In one of the biggest religion news stories of the new millennium, the Associated Press announced that Professor Antony Flew, the world's leading atheist, now believes in God.
Flew is a pioneer for modern atheism. His famous paper, Theology and Falsification, was first presented at a meeting of the Oxford Socratic Club chaired by C. S. Lewis and went on to become the most widely reprinted philosophical publication of the last five decades. Flew earned his fame by arguing that one should presuppose atheism until evidence of a God surfaces. He now believes that such evidence exists, and There Is a God chronicles his journey from staunch atheism to believer.
For the first time, this book will present a detailed and fascinating account of Flew's riveting decision to revoke his previous beliefs and argue for the existence of God. Ever since Flew's announcement, there has been great debate among atheists and believers alike about what exactly this "conversion" means. There Is a God will finally put this debate to rest.
This is a story of a brilliant mind and reasoned thinker, and where his lifelong intellectual pursuit eventually led him: belief in God as designer.
British philosopher Flew has long been something of an evangelist for atheism, debating theologians and pastors in front of enormous crowds. In 2004, breathless news reports announced that the nonagenarian had changed his mind. This book tells why. Ironically, his arguments about the absurdity of God-talk launched a revival of philosophical theists, some of whom, like Alvin Plantinga and Richard Swinburne, were important in Flew's recent conversion to theism. Breakthroughs in science, especially cosmology, also played a part: if the speed or mass of the electron were off just a little, no life could have evolved on this planet. Perhaps the arrogance of the "New Atheists" also emboldened him, as Flew taunts them for failing to live up to the greatness of atheists of yore. The book concludes with an appendix by New Testament scholar and Anglican bishop N.T. Wright, arguing for the coherence of Christian belief in the resurrection. Flew praises Wright, though he maintains some distance still from orthodox Christianity. The book will be most avidly embraced by traditional theists seeking argumentative ammunition. It sometimes disappoints: quoting other authorities at length, citing religion-friendly scientists for pages at a time and belaboring side issues, like the claim that Einstein was really a religious believer of sorts.
The foolishness of God
I found this narrative refreshingly honest, although I confess that I also found it rather elementary. I am not a philosophical thinker, but rather a person who has encountered God - more correctly, one whom God has chosen to encounter. It is very true that He made the first move and all moves that made any difference since, my only part was to accept them, and to believe - trust in Him. Some of the most profound concepts of Mr. Flew seemed to me simplicity, and the difficult things he wrestles with were very easy to understand. At first blush, this seemed to make me feel somehow superior, but that is far from the truth. Instead, I walk the path of a simple person who has been shown the road, and Mr. Flew is attempting to map out a road he has never been on.
I hope Mr. Flew meets God as I have. He touched on some things that seem obvious to me, such as God being outside - or rather encompassing and going beyond - the four known dimensions, and His being infinite. I am not sure how he missed that being infinite, God is necessarily also personal, indeed, He numbers the hairs of your head.
In the end, I conclude simply that the foolishness of God is proven once again to be wiser than the wisdom of man. I consider myself blessed to have been privileged to be considered a child of the living God, the same God that brilliant minds have sought to find, but that has been revealed to one such as I, who must seem like a child to those same brilliant, but unsatisfied minds.
May you become as a child, that God will reveal Himself to you. Jesus said that if you don't come as a child, you won't come at all. But those children understand more than Mr. Flew, not because of superior cartography, but because God takes them by the hand, and they walk on the road Mr. Flew seeks to map.