The journey of Antony Flew

Antony Flew (Dawkins and Harris notwithstanding) had been probably the most well-known atheist over the last 50 or more years (he’s in his 80’s now). I say “had” because in 2004, he indicated that he had changed his mind with regard to atheism, and had come to believe that there must be some form of a god. While still not (as far as I know) being a Theist, Flew is now a Deist.

What changed his mind was science; in an interview with Dr. Gary Habermas, Flew stated, “I think that the most impressive arguments for God’s existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries. … I think the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it.” He became convinced, through various advancements in things like DNA research, “Big Bang” cosmology and fine-tuning arguments, that there must be an intelligent designer.

Not surprisingly, in a way that only he can, Richard Dawkins has suggested that Flew’s mental abilities are not what they used to be. I suspect this in large part is due to Flew admitting that part of what convinced him was Michael Behe’s books. (What is surprising is that Dawkins admits in the same speech that the “fine tuning” argument would not be “a wholly disreputable” reason for a belief in a supernatural deity. Go figure.) However, if you read just a small portion of any of the post-atheist interviews with Flew and compare them to Dawkins’ writings, I suspect that it would be Dawkins whose mental abilities would be suspect.

Flew states that he would rather there not be an afterlife, that he’s lived long enough already. He was not inclined, at least in 2004, to become a Theist. However, he had some other interesting things to say, including some thoughts on the question of the Resurrection of Jesus:

The evidence for the resurrection is better than for claimed miracles in any other religion. It’s outstandingly different in quality and quantity, I think, from the evidence offered for the occurrence of most other supposedly miraculous events.

The entire interview is well worth reading. You can also find some interview clips on YouTube (as well as the Dawkins clip I referred to earlier).

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