[lit-ideas] Re: Lit-Ideas Conversiions

  • From: John Wager <johnwager@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2004 14:21:05 -0600

I haven't read Flew in 20 years; his atheism wasn't particularly 
enlghtening or particularly offensive. I think he just didn't see any 
evidence of "intelligent design" in the universe.  Now he seems to be 
saying that there is at least some evidence of "intelligent design" in 
the universe; this is a truth about the universe that does not 
automatically point to a theistic or deistic conclusion, but it is 
nonetheless interesting as a starting point.  There is a contemporary 
debate INSIDE science about this; it's not creationists versus atheists, 
it's one group of cosmologists versus another, arguing about the kind of 
universe we live in. In some ways, the context is more Aristotelean than 
Christian. Aristotle's "prime mover" was hardly a personal, emotional 
God; it was closer to "The Force" in Star Wars movies than any kind of 
god that would be worshiped and spoken to directly.  But Aristotle DID 
think that the universe showed purpose or design; it was not entirely 
random blind chance. I think Flew is basically converting to 
Aristoteleanism, not to Christianity, and I think it would be a tactical 
and strategic mistake for Christian apologists to use Flew's change of 
viewpoint in support of their own views.

Andy Amago wrote:

>The mighty Professor Flew has spoken.  There is a God.  What a relief that's 
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Eternitytime1@xxxxxxx
>Sent: Dec 13, 2004 11:10 PM
>To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>Subject: [lit-ideas] Lit-Ideas Conversiions
>I have not yet looked at the *other* versions of this situation, but please  
>note that it IS making the rounds of those deep in the Christian fold...(see 
>the  _http://www.christianheadlines.com_ (http://www.christianheadlines.com)   
>for more info on what is the breaking news in that realm...)
>Not to mention that if you speak Korean, there is a wonderful class you can  
>take in Dallas these days--in Korean--about the history of the Korean Baptist  
>Church.  Sounds like fun, right?  Truly, though--the Korean Baptists  are 
>very very large in Kansas and Missouri...
>But, this is the article in the Baptist Press News dealing with our latest  
>"CS Lewis" type of person...(that comparison will surely be coming...I'd be  
>using it already if I were still in that world...<wry look>  Dang,  but I was 
>anyway...funny how things like belief systems matter.
>I was asked by the CEO of a company (on the trip to Canada we met some  
>interesting people) of a website or book of my concept of a "Belief of the 
>Club".  I need to get busy, I think!!  <g>  Might not be as  lucrative as the 
>internet role playing games (I was pulled into one of them  by my son and one 
>of his friends over the weekend--we discussed how at LEAST  20,000 people were 
>paying $12.95 a month to play this game (and it is far far  more than that!) 
>and so made the boys do the math as to how much per month was  being made--and 
>that does NOT count the 'extras' that are possible to be  made...(my son's 
>friend has a dad who also plays the game and who buys the  
>additions--incredible--)  Even at a minimum, $240,000 a month...I really  need 
>to take a break from 
>my library world and play with this concept. I read  fantasy and also myths 
>and legends--I could develop something as intricate as  what is out 
>someone else could play with the graphics.  I am in  SUCH the wrong 
>profession.  <sigh>  And not near as fun of one,  either...
>Ah, well.  
>I could, though, easily do the Belief of the Month Club.  If a perfect  
>stranger wanted to know more...well.  There we go.  
>I digress...
>Marlena in Missouri
>NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Antony Flew, a legendary British philosopher and  
>atheist, has changed his mind about the existence of God in light of recent  
>scientific evidence.
>Flew -- a prolific author who has argued against the  existence of God and 
>the claims of Christianity for more than 50 years -- first  revealed his 
>of mind in a video of a discussion with several others at  New York University 
>organized by the Institute for Metascientific Research. The  video, released 
>in December, is titled, "Has Science Discovered God?"  
>Flew said he is now best described as a deist -- a person who believes  God 
>created the universe but is not actively involved in people's lives  today.
>"I don't believe in the God of any revelatory system, although I  am open to 
>that," Flew said in an interview for the winter 2005 edition of  Philosophia 
>Christi, the journal of the Evangelical Philosophical Society. "But  it seems 
>to me that the case for ... [a] God who has the characteristics of  power and 
>also intelligence is now much stronger than it ever was  before."
>Flew, 81, regularly attended the Socratic Club, a weekly  religious forum led 
>by famed Christian apologist C.S. Lewis while he attended  college at Oxford. 
>Flew proclaimed the lack of evidence for God while teaching  at Oxford, 
>Aberdeen, Keele and Reading universities in Britain. He also  published 
>books and articles denouncing belief in God.
>Flew  credits his newfound belief in God to arguments from design such as 
>those  espoused by the "intelligent design" (ID) movement. ID argues that the 
>universe  operates in such a way that it points to the existence of an 
>intelligent  creator.
>"I think that the most impressive arguments for God's existence  are those 
>that are supported by recent scientific discoveries," Flew said. "...  I think 
>the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was  when I 
>first met it."
>Although many atheists appeal to naturalistic  evolution as a method by which 
>the world could have come into existence apart  from God, Charles Darwin 
>himself acknowledged that the process of evolution  requires a creator to 
>the process, Flew said.
>"Darwin himself, in  the fourteenth chapter of The Origin of Species, pointed 
>out that his whole  argument began with a being which already possessed 
>reproductive powers," Flew  said. "This is the creature the evolution of which 
>truly comprehensive theory  of evolution must give some account. Darwin 
>was well aware that he had  not produced such an account."
>While Flew said he does not believe in a  God who is active in the lives of 
>humans, he is "open to" the possibility of  divine revelation. He also 
>that Christians are intellectually justified  in holding to their religion 
>and that the resurrection of Jesus has more  evidential support than any other 
>reported miracle in history.
>"The  evidence for the resurrection is better than for claimed miracles in 
>any other  religion," Flew said. "It's outstandingly different in quality and 
>quantity, I  think, from the evidence offered for the occurrence of most other 
>supposedly  miraculous events."
>Gary Habermas, chairman of the department of  philosophy and theology at 
>Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., told Baptist  Press that Flew's decision 
>believe in God points to the strength of theistic  arguments.
>"His conversion is a testimony to the many, especially  scientific figures, 
>who are coming by way of intelligent design," said Habermas,  who conducted 
>interview with Flew in Philosophia Christi. "... The fact that  he has become 
>a theist is a testimony to the type of evidence we have for God's  existence 
>Flew's status as a world-famous atheist makes his  conversion to belief in 
>God particularly significant, Habermas said in an  interview with Baptist 
>"His conversion to theism is very valuable  because of his stature," Habermas 
>said. "The reason this story is going around  the world is that he, not just 
>anybody, but he, has converted to theism. I think  that's very significant."
>Despite his belief in the existence of God,  Flew said it is unlikely that he 
>will ever become a Christian. The major  evidence against the God of 
>Christianity is the problem of evil, Flew  said.
>The problem of evil refers to the apparent tension between the  existence of 
>a good God and the presence of evil in the world.
>"The  problem of evil is a problem ... for Christians," Flew said. "The 
>thesis that  the universe was created and is sustained by a Being of infinite 
>and  goodness is flatly incompatible with the occurrence of massive 
>undeniable and  undenied evils in that universe."
>Flew also argues that God does not have  "any preferences ... about or any 
>intentions concerning human behavior or about  the eternal destinies of human 
>Although he does not accept  Christianity, Flew emphatically denies the 
>possibility that he would ever become  a follower of Islam, citing Islam's 
>commitment to conquer all of its  opponents.
>"I would never regard Islam with anything but horror and fear  because it is 
>fundamentally committed to conquering the world for Islam," Flew  said.
>Flew will present a more fully developed explanation of his  conversion to 
>belief in God in a forthcoming edition of his book, "God &  Philosophy."
>Earlier works by Flew include "Atheistic Humanism,"  "Darwinian Evolution," 
>"A Dictionary of Philosophy," "Introduction to Western  Philosophy" and "How 
>Think Straight: An Introduction to Critical  Reasoning."
> (http://www.christianheadlines.com/) 
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