Thursday, May 10, 2012

Anthony Flew and Belief in God

There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind by Anthony Flew with Roy Abraham Varghese. New York: Harper Collins, 2007.

In There is a God, Flew describes how he went from atheism to theism and provides the reasons for this change. The first part of the book Flew explains what he believed about God before he changed his mind. He was raised in a Christian home by a Methodist minister. He learned about research from his Methodist father. His father taught him that when a biblical scholar wanted to become familiar with "some peculiar Old Testament concept," they "collect and examine, with as much context" as is possible, "all available contemporary examples of the employment of the relevant Hebrew word" (12). This method of research has stayed with Flew all his life.  Flew's practice has been the "collecting and examining . . . all relevant information on a given subject." In this first part of the book, Flew notes that he converted to atheism at age fifteen because of the problem of evil.

The second part of the book provides reasons why he converted to belief in God. The first reason is that nature obeys rational and ordered laws. The second is the fact that we are "intelligently organized and purpose-driven beings" (88). The third is the "very existence of nature" itself (88-89). Flew now believes "the universe was brought into being by an infinite intelligence . . . that this universe's laws manifest what scientists have called the mind of God . . . that life and reproduction originated in a divine source" (88). Flew asserts that as a follower of Socrates he has simply followed where the information lead.

There is a God refutes two popular myths: modern science points to atheism and only people with weak minds believe in God.

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