Antony Flew was one of the world’s preeminent atheists who in 2001 announced that he no longer embraced atheism, but believed in the existence of a God.
Many will not have heard of Antony Flew. Flew was born in 1923 and died in 2010. Younger people may not have heard of him and many of the older generation perhaps are not aware of his change regarding atheism.
Flew grew up in a religious environment, as his father was a Methodist minister. He records this in his book, ‘There is (no) a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind’. He states on page 15, “…. by the time I reached my fifteenth birthday I rejected the thesis that the universe was created by an all-good, all-powerful God.”
He goes on to say, “One might well ask if I never thought to consult my clergyman father about my doubts regarding the existence of God. …. I tried for as long as I could to conceal from everyone at my home my irreligious conversion.” (Flew p.16.)
As time progressed Antony studied to become a philosopher and during his lifetime taught philosophy in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada. Also, he became a prolific writer authoring over 30 books and numerous papers and debated many theists. In 1985 during a series of debates he met two Christian philosophers, one of them being Garry Habermas from Liberty University, which grew into a friendship. For years he said there was not enough evidence to believe that a God existed, but he slowly changed his mind.
Flew’s interests were many and varied such as ethics, logic education, psychic phenomena, and an expert on the philosophy of David Hume and his belief about miracles. He wrote a book, ‘Merely Mortal: Can You Survive Your own Death?’ His answer it seems was “No”. The problem, it seems for those who hold to atheism, is the belief that there can be no incorporeal existence. But in the christian scriptures it speaks of a natural body and a spiritual body, in 1 Corinthians 15:44. And spirit, soul and body in 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
Antony, in the last of his public debates, at a symposium at New York University, in 2004, announced that he accepted the existence of a God. (Flew p.74). When asked whether new information in science had caused him to think differently he responded, “Yes I now think it does….almost entirely because of the DNA investigation…It has been shown by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life that intelligence must have been involved.” In short, he no longer was an atheist.
In 2004 Flew declared his belief as deism. Deists deny the divinity of Jesus and picture God as uncaring and not interfering with his creation. Many people, if asked whether they believe in God say, “I don’t believe in God, but there might be ‘Something'”. Deism and the belief in Something is rather nebulous and has nothing positive to offer. But God does care about his creation, humans included. The christian scriptures say, “What is your life? You are like a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes,” (James 4:14). In other words, we all will die some day. But the good news is that John 3:16, explains that if we accept Jesus, that is, ask for forgiveness, we become friends with him now and forever.
You can ask for his forgiveness now and ask him to become part of your life.
Flew said in, ‘There is a God’, “I have said in some of my later atheist writings that I reached the conclusion about the nonexistence of God much too quickly, much too easily, and for what later seemed to me the wrong reasons. (Flew p.12). If you are someone who is searching for information about the existence or nonexistence of God you would find Flew’s book very useful.