The New Atheists and Remembering A Notorious Atheists’ Prayer/Part 4

By: Dr. John G. Weldon; ©2011
In some ways, Dr. Flew’s defense of atheism had been more important than that of the earlier giants of the trade – Hume, Schopenhauer, Feuerbach, Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, Sartre, Camus, Heidegger.

Contents

Novel ideas (for an atheist)

In some ways, Dr. Flew’s defense of atheism had been more important than that of the earlier giants of the trade – Hume, Schopenhauer, Feuerbach, Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, Sartre, Camus, Heidegger. None of these writers or others provided significant new arguments against theism that helped set the stage for a novel roadmap outlining a future more robust philosophy (or anti-philosophy) of religion (which in turn set the stage for important Christian counter apologetics). Because Dr. Flew reinvented the frames of reference he changed the nature of the discussion; for example, for those on his side, he made atheism as the default position intellectually respectable instead of theism “much like the presumption of innocence that undergirds English Common Law.”[1] Although a weak if academically accepted argument, still, no mean task.

Dr. Flew also happily shredded the nonsense of logical positivism, even as the modern Intelligent Design movement (which so influenced Dr. Flew’s conversion) has shredded naturalistic evolution. (None less than Sir Alfred Ayer, the popularizer of logical positivism finally concluded: “Logical positivism died a long time ago. I don’t think much of Language Truth and Logic is true. I think it is full of mistakes.”[2] And that’s putting it mildly; logical positivism destroyed itself because in the end, language became meaningless, even the language of the logical positivist defending itself. Yet a generation of philosophy students were weaned on it (including myself[3]); such is the betrayal of modern secular philosophy: in the end, one never finds the truth notwithstanding desperate searches. To find the truth divine revelation is required because only God knows the absolute truth and that’s the only kind of truth worth knowing.

Regardless, “within the last hundred years no mainstream philosopher has developed the kind of systematic, comprehensive, original, and influential exposition of atheism that is to be found in Anthony Flew’s 50 years of anti-theological writings.”[4]

In this article I wish to show that, because of God’s common grace, Dr. Flew came to greatly appreciate the Christian faith (even in opposition to all others, especially Islam which he considered brutal.) A few years before his death Flew even referred to the possibility that he might write a “knock-down falsification of Islam: something which is most certainly not possible in the case of Christianity. If I do eventually produce such a paper it will obviously have to be published anonymously.”[5] This has already been done.[6]

Read Part 5

Notes

  1. Flew, There Is a God, 54
  2. Varghese in Flew, There Is a God, XIV
  3. While an undergraduate at San Diego State University, I majored in philosophy for a year and a half.
  4. Varghese in Flew, There Is a God, IX
  5. Dr. Anthony Flew, Dr. Gary Habermas, “My Pilgrimage from Atheism Theism: an Exclusive Interview with Former British Atheist Professor”; prepublication copy December 9, 2004, introduction by Philosophia Christi editor, Craig J. Hazen PhD; published in Philosophia Christi, Winter 2005 (www.biola.edu/philchristi)
  6. For example, http://thequrandilemma.com/; http://www.thequran.com/

Leave a Comment





MOST POPULAR
RECENT ARTICLES