The New Atheists and Remembering A Notorious Atheists’ Prayer/Part 6

By: Dr. John G. Weldon; ©2011
Of all the religions in the world, Flew was only open to Christianity, and for good reason.

Contents

Anthony Flew and Christianity

In the end, after a lifetime of atheism, the world’s most notorious atheist concluded, “There are no good philosophical arguments for denying God to be the explanation of the universe and of the formal order it exhibits.”[1] He observes that his discovery of God “has been a pilgrimage of reason [alone] and not of faith.”[2] As Romans 1 informs us, his “pilgrimage of reason” of Socratically following the argument where it led, “let me to accept the existence of a self-existent, immutable, immaterial, omnipotent, and omniscient Being.”[3]

So God was now fastened to the table, but what about God’s revelation of Himself in the Bible and through the Christian religion? Here’s where it gets interesting. Of all the religions in the world, Flew was only open to Christianity, and for good reason. As Dr. Flew observes, if one believes in the concept of divine revelation, “the case for the Christian revelation is a very strong one.”[4]

It is often observed that Dr. Flew rejected divine revelation. And yet he at least conceded that, “The first sentence in Genesis (‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth’) was related to an event in the universe,” (in his mind) the Big Bang theory.[5]

In fact, Dr. Flew believed that if one were going to accept a religion it was Christianity or nothing. For example, “… No other religion enjoys anything like the combination of a charismatic figure like Jesus and a first-class intellectual like St. Paul. If you’re wanting omnipotence to set up a religion, it seems to me that this is the one to beat!”[6] He believed Bishop NT Wright’s defense of Christianity and his responses to Flew’s previous critiques of divine revelation “comprise the most powerful case for Christianity that I have ever seen.”[7]

As for Jesus physical resurrection from the dead Dr. Flew concluded, “Today, I would say the claim concerning the resurrection is more impressive than any by the religious competition….I think the claim that God was incarnate in Jesus Christ is unique.”[8]

In Dr. Flew’s book, there is a dialogue on the subject of divine revelation with Bishop NT Wright.[9] Dr. Flew observed that, “I think that the Christian religion is the one religion that most clearly deserves to be honored and respected whether or not its claim to be a divine revelation is true.”[10] NT Wright observes the “massive” historical evidence for Jesus, plus the empty tomb and the appearances of Christ to his disciples which become virtual proof of the truth of Christianity. Dr. Flew’s own response to Bishop Wright reveals how impressed he was at Wright’s argument and how wrong his critical assessment of Christianity had been:

“I am very much impressed with Bishop Wright’s approach, which is absolutely fresh. He presents the case for Christianity as something new for the first time. This is enormously important; especially in the United Kingdom, where the Christian religion has virtually disappeared. It is absolutely wonderful, absolutely radical, and very powerful.”[11]

Most importantly, his very last duck liberation in his book concedes that he no longer denies the possibility of divine revelation: “Is it possible that there has been or can be divine revelation? As I said, you cannot limit the possibilities of omnipotence except to produce the logically impossible. Everything else is open to omnipotence.”[12]

Read Part 7

Notes

  1. Flew, There Is a God, 154, concurring with a verbatim declaration by David Conway in The Rediscovery of Wisdom (2000).
  2. Flew, There Is a God, 93
  3. Flew, There Is a God, 155
  4. Flew, There Is a God, 24
  5. Flew, 136. Personally, biblically and scientifically I’m not at all convinced that the Big Bang is true, to the contrary. For me, the critical literature is convincing.
  6. Flew, There Is a God, 157
  7. Flew, There Is a God, 160
  8. Flew, There Is a God, 187
  9. Flew, There Is a God, 187-213
  10. Flew, There Is a God, 185
  11. Flew, There Is a God, 213
  12. Flew, There Is a God, 213

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