NewsFri Nov 2, 2007 - 12:15 pm EST
Former Atheist Darwinian Philosopher Explains his ‘Conversion’ in a New Book
By Hilary White
LONDON, November 2, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Former Darwinian atheist philosopher Antony Flew has published a new book, “There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind,” to explain his move from being one of the world’s leading exponents of the pure materialist Darwinian philosophy to belief in the existence of a personal deity who created the universe.
Flew, an Oxford educated philosopher described by some as “legendary”, first announced his discovery of “a god” in 2004. Flew had been one of the 20th century’s leading proponents of the pure atheistic Darwinian doctrines that categorically reject any possibility of a creative divine being. His ideas paved the way for thinkers such as Richard Dawkins, the UK’s most virulent opponent of religious belief.
The Darwinian view is embraced by most of the scientific and philosophical community and was recently declared the only acceptable viewpoint for Europeans by the European Council.
Flew has emphasized that his “discovery” of a god who created life was a result of relentlessly “following the evidence”. “It was empirical evidence,” he told an interviewer, “the evidence uncovered by the sciences. But it was a philosophical inference drawn from the evidence.”
Flew told Dr. Benjamin Wiker that two factors in particular “were decisive”. “One was my growing empathy,” he said, “with the insight of Einstein and other noted scientists that there had to be an Intelligence behind the integrated complexity of the physical Universe. The second was my own insight that the integrated complexity of life itself – which is far more complex than the physical Universe – can only be explained in terms of an Intelligent Source.”
More akin to the “watchmaker” god of the 18th century Deist philosophy, Flew’s god is not the God of Abraham, Isaac and St. Thomas Aquinas. Flew described the deity he believes exists as “the god of Aristotle.” He has inched further towards belief in the personal God of Christianity and Judaism, however, describing his god as “a person but not the sort of person with whom you can have a talk. It is the ultimate being, the Creator of the Universe.”
He told Wiker, “I believe that the origin of life and reproduction simply cannot be explained from a biological standpoint despite numerous efforts to do so. With every passing year, the more that was discovered about the richness and inherent intelligence of life, the less it seemed likely that a chemical soup could magically generate the genetic code.”
Flew answered Richard Dawkins’ argument that “the origin of life can be attributed to a ‘lucky chance.’” He said, “If that’s the best argument you have, then the game is over.” Flew said, “I would add that Dawkins is selective to the point of dishonesty when he cites the views of scientists on the philosophical implications of the scientific data.”
Emphasizng that he remains a Deist, not a Christian, he told Wiker that he does not “accept any claim of divine revelation” but is continuing to study them, particularly those of Christianity.
Flew’s journey into belief from pure atheism, follows a pattern set by other prominent British intellectual former atheists, C.S. Lewis and Malcolm Muggeridge whose relentless intellectual rigour also prompted them to follow the evidence.
Lewis, after having abandoned his childhood faith, used his considerable intellectual gifts and classical education to examine the rational proofs for the existence of God which he found inescapable. With the encouragement of his friend J. R. R. Tolkien, he converted at the age of 31, later describing himself “the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.”
Lewis was later to use those gifts to become the most popular Christian apologist of modern times and his books, using logic and rational argument to defend Christian doctrines, have never been out of print and have sold millions of copies around the world.
Muggeridge took a longer route and came to Christian belief, and eventually Catholicism, equally reluctantly in later life. This was partly in response to his association with Mother Theresa, but even more through his years of consideration of the evidence which he was eventually to find irrefutable.
As a result of his conversion, the formerly dashing and sanguine journalist, the darling of Britain’s secular media establishment, found his former friends and admirers drawing away. Muggeridge later followed the evidence to become one of the world’s leading developers and proponents of a comprehensive pro-life philosophy.
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Read the full interview: