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A Change of Mind for Antony Flew
Access Research Network ^ | Fall 2004 | Peter S. Williams

Posted on 12/29/2004 2:44:16 AM PST by Ed Current

Professor Antony Flew, 81 years old, is: ‘a legendary British philosopher and atheist and has been an icon and champion for unbelievers for decades.’[1] In his most famous book, God and Philosophy, Flew concluded: ‘though as always subject to correction by further evidence and further argument, that the universe itself is ultimate; and, hence, that whatever science may from time to time hold to be the most fundamental laws of nature, must, equally provisionally, be taken as the last words in any series of answers to questions as to why things are as they are.’[2] In other words, nature (probably) explains everything about itself that is explicable, and so there is no need to believe in any sort of Creator.

One can read several debates in which Flew argues for atheism against Christian philosophers such as William Lane Craig, Gary R. Habermas and Terry L. Miethe.[3] In recent years Flew has been called: ‘the world’s most influential philosophical atheist.’[4] Writing on the Secular Web, Richard Carrier acknowledges Flew as: ‘one of the most renowned atheists of the 20th Century, even making the shortlist of "Contemporary Atheists" at About.com.’[5]

The shortlist needs to be updated.[6] Flew has changed his mind, and has let it be known that he is now a theist (at least in the broad sense of the term) because: ‘the case for an Aristotelian God who has the characteristics of power and also intelligence, is now much stronger than it ever was before.’[7]

Flew says that he simply: ‘had to go where the evidence leads.’[8] His atheism truly was provisional and ‘subject to correction by further evidence and further argument. . .’[9] ‘It speaks very well of Professor Flew’s honesty,’ observes America’s pre-eminent philosopher of religion, Alvin Plantinga: ‘After all these years of opposing the idea of a Creator, he reverses his position on the basis of the evidence.’[10]

Flew’s change of mind is big news, ‘not only about his personal journey, but also about the persuasive power of the arguments modern theists have been using to challenge atheistic naturalism’[11], says philosopher Craig J. Hazen. Flew’s acknowledgement of theism was greeted with not a little scepticism by some of his former atheistic comrades.[12] In part, this scepticism was been fuelled by the fact that a rumour about Flew converting to Christianity hit the internet in 2001 and surfaced again in 2003. On each occasion: ‘Flew refuted the claim personally. . .’[13] This time, however, Flew has personally confirmed that he is a convert to theism (not Christian theism), and the story has been covered by major news organizations such as ABC News[14] and the BBC. If his new-found belief upsets people, well: ‘that’s too bad,’ says Flew: ‘My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato’s Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads.’[15] As Jonathan Witt says: ‘Those who admired [Flew’s] intellect when he was an atheist should listen carefully to his reasoning now - for if a man suddenly becomes persona non grata for changing his mind, then the possibility of reasoned civil discourse withers.’[16]

Tracing the News

I first heard about Flew’s change of mind in August of 2004, whilst attending the European Leadership Forum in Hungry. A number of well-placed sources said that Flew had recently come to believe in the existence of some kind of God, and that this shift in thinking was due in no small part to the kinds of arguments advanced by the Intelligent Design movement. Flew has since confirmed to The Associated Press that: ‘his current ideas have some similarity with American "intelligent design" theorists, who see evidence for a guiding force in the construction of the universe. He accepts Darwinian evolution but doubts it can explain the ultimate origins of life.’[17]

Then, in a letter to Philosophy Now magazine (Issue 47, August/September 2004, p. 22, cf. www.philosophynow.org/issue47/47flew.htm), Flew pointed out: ‘the limits of the negative theological implications of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection.’[18] Quoting from Darwin, Flew noted that the theory of evolution by natural selection does not account for the origin of life, and observed that: ‘Probably Darwin himself believed that life was miraculously breathed into that primordial form of not always consistently reproducing life by God. . .’[19] Flew also said that:

the evidential situation of natural (as opposed to revealed) theology has been transformed in the more than fifty years since Watson and Crick won the Nobel Prize for their discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism.[20]

Flew recommended two books that tackle this issue from a theistic perspective: The first book was Roy Abraham Varghese’s The Wonderful World: A Journey from Modern Science to the Mind of God (Fountain Hills, Arizona: Tyr Publishing, 2003). [cf. www.thewonderoftheworld.com/] The second book was Gerald L. Schroeder’s The Hidden Face of God: Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth, (Touchstone, New York 2001).

Flew ended what the editor of Philosophy Now called his ‘tantalising comments’ by writing:

Anyone who should happen to want to know what I myself now believe will have to wait until the publication, promised for early 2005, by Prometheus of Amherst, NY of the final edition of my God and Philosophy with a new introduction of it as ‘an historical relic’. That book was a study of the arguments for Christian theism, first published in 1966. . . My own commitment then as a philosopher who was also a religious unbeliever was and remains that of Plato’s Socrates: ‘We must follow the argument wherever it leads.’ Yours, Antony Flew.

If Flew’s letter didn’t actually say he had come to believe in God, it was a very heavy hint.

On October 9th 2004, American philosopher J.P. Moreland noted Flew’s conversion to belief in God on national TV, whilst arguing for theism in an episode of Faith Under Fire, hosted by journalist and Christian apologist Lee Strobel.[21]

Following up the Varghese connection threw more light on Flew’s thinking. In his review of Varghese’s book, Flew refers to a point ‘made in an Introduction for a possible new and final edition of my God and Philosophy’:

First, a substantial case of agreement. Richard Dawkins has famously asserted that "Natural selection. . . the blind automatic process which Darwin has discovered. . . we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life." Against that claim I pointed out, after quoting a significant sentence from the fourteenth and final chapter of The Origin of Species, that one place where, until a satisfactory naturalistic explanation has been developed, there would appear to be room for an Argument to Design is at the first emergence of living from non-living matter. And, unless that first living matter already possessed the capacity to reproduce itself genetically, there will still be room for a second argument to Design until a satisfactory explanation is found for its acquisition of that capacity. You have in your book deployed abundant evidence indicating that it is likely to be a very long time before such naturalistic explanations are developed, if indeed there ever could be.

Our disagreements begin with any shift from the God of natural theology to the God of a Revelation. For the writings of Aristotle, which ultimately supplied Aquinas with most of his arguments for the existence of his God, contain no definition of the word ‘God’ and no concept of an omniscient and omnipotent personal Being unceasingly observing human thought and human conduct, much less a concept of a Being demanding our obedience and threatening us with an eternity of extreme torture for what He insists on perceiving as our unnecessitated and unforgiven disobedience. So the five Aristotelian arguments which Aquinas famously offered as proofs of the existence of the Christian God are surely today more appropriately to be seen as arguments for the existence of a Spinozistic or Deistic ‘God of Nature’ who or which leaves Nature and its creatures (including its human creatures) entirely to their own devices. The nearest which Aristotle ever came to the God or Gods of Christianity or Islam was when in the Nicomachean Ethics (X, viii, 8) he argued that ‘if as is generally believed, [not God but] the gods exercise some superintendence over human affairs, it is reasonable to suppose that they take pleasure in that part of man which is best and most akin to themselves, namely the intellect, and that they recompense with their favours those who esteem and honour this most because these care for the things dear to themselves and act rightly and nobly. Now it is clear that all these attributes belong most of all to the wise man. He therefore is most beloved by the gods, and, if so, he is naturally most happy.’ Antony Flew.[22]

While Flew restricts the design argument to situations where no ‘satisfactory naturalistic explanation has been developed’ (something that not all design argument advocates, let alone all theists, would agree with), it is significant to find Flew arguing against Dawkins that natural selection does not explain the existence of life, affirming that there is today no satisfactory naturalistic explanation for the first emergence of living from non-living matter, or for the capacity of life to reproduce itself genetically, and observing that there isn’t even any sign of such an explanation on the horizon ‘if indeed there ever could be.’

In a recording of the 2004 symposium ‘Has Science Discovered God’, organised by The Institute for Metascientific Research, Professor Flew says: ‘What I think the DNA material has done is show that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements together. . . The enormous complexity by which the results were achieved look to me like the work of intelligence.’[23]

Together with an increasing number of scholars, Flew believes that the prospects of a satisfactory naturalistic explanation for certain facets of biological reality are dim (‘It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism’).[24] He also thinks that the best explanation of the evidence is to posit some form of intelligent design, even ‘the God of natural theology’ (Flew only parts company from Varghese: ‘with any shift from the God of natural theology to the God of a Revelation’).

However, while it was clear from Flew’s review of Varghese that he now believes in a God, it was still unclear exactly what sort of God Flew has in mind. One source reported that Flew had described himself to a mutual contact as a ‘minimal deist’ (a deist is usually defined as someone who believes in a God who created the universe but then left creation to its own devices).

‘My Pilgrimage from Atheism to Theism: An Exclusive Interview with Former British Atheist Professor Antony Flew.’

Clarity on the question of the nature of Flew’s theism is provided by an exclusive and wide ranging interview Flew has given to Philosophia Christi, one of the top-circulating philosophy of religion journals in the world.[25] The interviewer was Christian philosopher and historian Dr. Gary R. Habermas, a Professor of Philosophy and Theology who is on the editorial board of Philosophia Christi, and a long standing personal friend of Flew: ‘despite their years of disagreement on the existence of God.’[26]

Philosophia Christi reveals that ‘certain philosophical and scientific considerations were causing [Flew] to do some serious rethinking’[27] on the God question as long ago as January 2003: ‘He characterised his position as that of atheism standing in tension with several huge question marks.’[28] Then: ‘in January 2004, Flew informed Habermas that he had indeed become a theist. While still rejecting the concept of special revelation, whether Christian, Jewish or Islamic, nonetheless he had concluded that theism was true.’[29]

The title of the article presenting Flew’s interview with Habermas is: ‘My Pilgrimage from Atheism to Theism: An Exclusive Interview with Former British Atheist Professor Antony Flew.’ So what of ‘minimal deism’? Asked whether his view might be called deism Flew replies:

Yes, absolutely right. What Deists, such as the Mr. Jefferson who drafted the American Declaration of Independence, believed was that, while reason, mainly in the form of arguments to design, assures us that there is a God, there is no room either for any supernatural revelation of that God or for any transactions between that God and individual human beings.[30]

It seems that Flew is prepared to accept the label ‘Deist’ on the grounds that deists believe in God but neither revelation nor relational transactions between God and individuals concerning salvation or any afterlife. Indeed, Flew says: ‘I am open to. . . but not enthusiastic about potential revelation from God.’[31]

Flew also clarifies his comments about Spinoza’s God made in his review of Varghese: ‘for me the most important thing about Spinoza is not what he says but what he does not say. He does not say that God has any preferences either about or any intentions concerning human behaviour or about the eternal destinies of human beings.’[32] Hence Flew is not implying, with some interpreters of Spinoza, that God is pantheistic (i.e. that everything is God).

The ‘minimal’ part of Flew’s deism may stem from the fact that Flew is not committed to the goodness of God, being unconvinced by the moral argument for God[33] and noting that ‘what Aristotle had to say about justice. . . was very much a human idea’[34] that had nothing to do with God. Regarding J.P. Moreland’s use of Flew’s change of mind in support of belief in the supernatural, Flew has said: ‘my God is not his. . . Mine is emphatically not good (or evil) or interested in human conduct.’[35] Flew reports how: ‘as a schoolboy of fifteen years, it first appeared to me that the thesis that the universe was created and is sustained by a Being of infinite power and goodness is flatly incompatible with the occurrence of massive undeniable and undenied evil in that universe. . .’[36] Flew’s belief in a God who is not defined as being infinitely good is compatible with his belief that the logical problem of evil is a sound argument because that argument only claims to rule out the existence of a God who has infinite power and goodness (and knowledge).[37]

However, Flew’s position is not deistic if one defines deism in terms of rejecting the belief that God has acted as a primary cause (as opposed to acting via secondary causes) within creation. This is because Flew now posits God as the best explanation for the origin of evolvable life. He does not accept the view of theistic evolutionists that nature has the capacity to produce evolvable life-forms using only its God-given resources. Flew says that naturalistic efforts have never succeeded in producing ‘a plausible conjecture as to how any of these complex molecules might have evolved from simple entities.’[38] Flew observes: ‘I think that the most impressive arguments for God’s existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries. . . I think the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it.’[39] Flew returns to his critique of Richard Dawkins:

It seems to me that Richard Dawkins constantly overlooks the fact that 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. This is the creature the evolution of which a truly comprehensive theory of evolution must give some account. Darwin himself was well aware that he had not produced such an account. It now seems to me that the finding of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.[40]

Flew also tentatively mentions that ‘There does seem to be a reason for a First Cause’,[41] which implies ‘creation "in the beginning"’[42], although he is ‘not at all sure how much we have to explain here.’[43]

Conclusion

It is now clear that Flew has become a philosophical theist, someone who believes in the existence of a God (a transcendent intelligence of perhaps infinite power but not infinite goodness) who created the cosmos and has acted within it; although not to produce any supernatural revelation, or to interact with humans on an individual basis concerning any scheme of salvation or any sort of life after death. The primary reason Flew has become a theist is that scientific evidence has convinced him that the origin of life required intelligent design. In Flew’s assessment, the scientific data indicates that one cannot argue, as he once argued, that ‘it does not seem. . . that there is any good evidence [to] postulate anything behind or beyond this natural universe’[44] and that ‘the most fundamental laws of nature, must. . . be taken as the last words in any series of answers to questions as to why things are as they are.’[45] Instead, Flew now argues that there is good reason to ‘postulate something behind or beyond the natural universe’ precisely because the ‘fundamental laws of nature’ cannot ‘be taken as the last word in all series of answers to questions about why things are as they are’. Specifically, this can not be done with regard to the origin of life.

On the one hand, says Flew, naturalistic efforts have failed to provide ‘a plausible conjecture as to how any of these complex molecules might have evolved from simple entities’,[46] and ‘It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism.’[47] On the other hand: ‘The enormous complexity by which the results were achieved look to me like the work of intelligence.’[48] As Jonathan Witt comments:

Such evidence has drawn Flew from atheism to a non-specific theism. He isn’t ready to accept the God of a particular religion, nor does he believe in an afterlife. The change is, nevertheless, significant. He no longer inhabits a worldview where the miraculous and the irrational are synonymous.

The amazing complexity of even the simplest cell; the information-bearing properties of DNA; the exquisite fine-tuning of the laws and constants of physics that make organic life possible. . . these signs of intelligence do not compel our belief in a God who thundered from Mount Sinai, lay in a manger or hung from a cross. But the evidence does have metaphysical implications, drawing us to a still place of wonder where such notions can be reasonably entertained.[49]

Recommended Reading

Greg Bahnsen, ‘The Problem of Evil’ @ www.salemreformed.org/TheProblemofEvil.html

Joe Carter, ‘Antony Flew and the Flight from Atheism: Part I’ @ www.evangelicaloutpost.com/archives/000857.html

Joe Carter, ‘Antony Flew and the Flight from Atheism: Part II’ @ www.evangelicaloutpost.com/archives/000946.html

Catholic World News, ‘Famed Atheist Concedes: Evidence Points to God’ @ www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=33940%20

Kelly James Clark, ‘I Believe in God, the Father, Almighty’ @ www.calvin.edu/academic/philosophy/writings/ibig.htm

William Lane Craig, ‘The Indispensability of Theological Meta-Ethical Foundations for Morality’ @ www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/meta-eth.html

Antony Flew, ‘Letter From Antony Flew on Darwinism and Theology’, Philosophy Now, (Issue 47, August/September 2004, p. 22.) @ www.philosophynow.org/issue47/47flew.htm

Craig J. Hazen, Gary R. Habermas & Antony Flew, ‘My Pilgrimage from Atheism to Theism: An Exclusive Interview with Former British Atheist Professor Antony Flew.’ @ www.biola.edu/antonyflew/flew-interview.pdf

Stephen C. Meyer, ‘DNA and Other Designs’ @ www.arn.org/docs/meyer/sm_dnaotherdesigns.htm

Roy Abraham Varghese, The Wonder of the World @ www.thewonderoftheworld.com/

Peter S. Williams, ‘Intelligent Design Theory – An Overview’ @ www.arn.org/docs/williams/pw_idtheoryoverview.htm

Michael J. Behe, William A. Dembski & Stephen C. Meyer, Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, (Proceedings of the Wethersfield Institute, 2000)

Antony Flew, God and Philosophy, (Prometheus, 2005)

R. Douglas Geivett & Gary R. Habermas (ed.’s), In Defence of Miracles, (Apollos, 1997) (Includes a chapter by Antony Flew arguing against miracles and a response by Norman L. Geisler)

Gary R. Habermas & Antony Flew, Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?: The Resurrection Debate, (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005)

Roy Abraham Varghese, The Wonder of the World: A Journey from Modern Science to the Mind of God, (Fountain Hills, Arizona: Tyr Publishing, 2003)

Stan W. Wallace (ed.), Does God Exist? The Craig-Flew Debate, (Ashgate, 2003)

Has Science Discovered God? (DVD in which the participants of the 2004 conference organised by Varghese, including Flew, argue that science has found God)

End Notes

[1] Craig J. Hazen, Preface to the pre-publication release of ‘My Pilgrimage from Atheism to Theism: An Exclusive Interview with Former British Atheist Professor Antony Flew’ @ www.biola.edu/antonyflew/flew-interview.pdf

[2] Antony Flew, God and Philosophy, second edition, (Hutchinson of London, 1966), p. 194.

[3] cf. Stan W. Wallace (ed.), Does God Exist? The Craig-Flew Debate, (Ashgate, 2003); Gary R. Habermas & Antony Flew, Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?: The Resurrection Debate, (Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2003); Terry L. Miethe & Antony Flew, Does God Exist?, (New York: Harper Collins, 1991)

[4] Comment quoted by Gary R. Habermas, ‘My Pilgrimage from Atheism to Theism: An Exclusive Interview with Former British Atheist Professor Antony Flew’, op cit.

[5] Richard Carrier, ‘Antony Flew Considers God. . . Sort Of’ @ www.secweb.org/asset.asp?AssetID=369

[6] cf. ‘Contemporary Atheists’ @ http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/ath/blathd_mod.htm

[7] Antony Flew, ‘My Pilgrimage from Atheism to Theism: An Exclusive Interview with Former British Atheist Professor Antony Flew’ , op cit.

[8] ibid.

[9] Antony Flew, God and Philosophy, second edition, (Hutchinson of London, 1966), p. 194.

[10] Alvin Plantinga, ‘World’s Most Famous Atheist Accepts Existence of God,
Cites Modern Science!’ @ www.thewonderoftheworld.com/newsrelease-flew.php

[11] Hazen, op cit.

[12] cf. Austin Cline, ‘Antony Flew leaving Atheism’ @ http://atheism.about.com/b/a/119216.htm

[13] Carrier, op cit. cf. ‘Sorry to Disappoint, but I’m Still an Atheist!’ (2001) @ www.secweb.org/asset.asp?AssetID=138

[14] cf. ABC News, ‘Famous Atheist Now Believes in God’ @ http://io.speckz.org/node/233 & abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=315976;

[15] ABC News, ‘Famous Atheist Now Believes In God’ @ abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=315976

[16] Jonathan Witt, ‘Entertaining the notion of a place of wonder’ @ http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2002120766_witt16.html

[17]ABC News, op cit.

[18] ‘Letter From Antony Flew on Darwinism and Theology’, Philosophy Now, @ www.philosophynow.org/issue47/47flew.htm

[19] ibid.

[20] ibid.

[21] cf. www.faithunderfire.com/indexFlash.html

[22] www.thewonderoftheworld.com/Sections1-article227-page1.html

[23] ‘World’s Most Famous Atheist Accepts Existence of God, Cites Modern Science’, op cit.

[24] cf. www.discovery.org/articleFiles/PDFs/100ScientistsAd.pdf, www.arn.org/docs2/news/100scientists0929.htm

[25] cf. www.biola.edu/philchristi

[26] Hazen, Preface to the pre-publication release of ‘My Pilgrimage from Atheism to Theism: An Exclusive Interview with Former British Atheist Professor Antony Flew’, op cit.

[27] ‘My Pilgrimage from Atheism to Theism: An Exclusive Interview with Former British Atheist Professor Antony Flew.’

[28] ‘My Pilgrimage from Atheism to Theism: An Exclusive Interview with Former British Atheist Professor Antony Flew’, op cit.

[29] ibid.

[30] Flew, ibid.

[31] ibid.

[32] ibid.

[33] cf. William Lane Craig, ‘The Indispensability of Theological Meta-Ethical Foundations for Morality’ @ www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/meta-eth.html

[34] Flew, op cit.

[35] Carier, op cit.

[36] Flew, op cit.

[37] On the problem of evil, cf. Greg Bahnsen, ‘The Problem of Evil’ @ www.salemreformed.org/TheProblemofEvil.html; Kelly James Clark, ‘I Believe in God, the Father, Almighty’ @ www.calvin.edu/academic/philosophy/writings/ibig.htm; Gregory Koukl, ‘Evil as Evidence for God’ @ www.str.org/free/solid_ground/SG0105.htm; Peter Kreeft, The Problem of Evil, @ www.peterkreeft.com/topics/evil.htm; Daniel Howard-Snyder (ed.), The Evidential Argument from Evil, (Bloomington: Indiana University, 1996); John Perry, Dialogue on Good, Evil, and the Existence of God, (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1999)

[38] Antony Flew, ‘God and the Big Bang’, (Lecture, 2000).

[39] Flew, ‘My Pilgrimage from Atheism to Theism: An Exclusive Interview with Former British Atheist Professor Antony Flew’, op cit.

[40] ibid.

[41] ibid.

[42] ibid.

[43] ibid.

[44] Antony Flew, in debate, quoted by ‘World’s Most Famous Atheist Accepts Existence of God, Cites Modern Science’, op cit.

[45] Antony Flew, God and Philosophy, second edition, (Hutchinson of London, 1966), p. 194.

[46] Flew, ‘My Pilgrimage from Atheism to Theism: An Exclusive Interview with Former British Atheist Professor Antony Flew’ , op cit.

[47] Antony Flew, Philosophy Now, Issue 47, August/September 2004, p. 22.

[48] Antony Flew, quoted by ‘World’s Most Famous Atheist Accepts Existence of God, Cites Modern Science’, op cit.

[49] Witt, op cit.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: antonyflew; atheist
Can pro-choice Sister Christian persuade pro-life Brother Pagan that God is good?
….the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --
We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions…. --And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor. NARA | The National Archives Experience

Brother Pagan can demonstrate that Pro-Choice Sister Christian is evil of the worst sort, and conclude that whatever God she follows must be no different than the devil himself. If Brother Pagan does a little investigation, he will discover that Jesus, in Matthew 19:18 reiterated Deuteronomy 5:17 "You must not murder," and that Paul stated in Romans 13:3 "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 13:5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake."

Brother Pagan concludes that Jefferson & Paul agree that the fundamental purpose of government is to secure rights granted by God by punishing evil and he discovers that it does 'outside the abortion context.'

Brother Pagan continues his investigation, and discovers that Sister Christian worships at the bench of Most High Court which has broken the Law of the Most High God. He concludes that pervasive evil in his country exist because Sister Christian has chosen to be a slave of Satan rather than a servant of God who overcomes evil with good, by demanding adherence to the rule of Law expressed in the Constitution, and not the deviant dictates of a judicial oligarchy that breaks the Law of Moses, Christ, Jefferson, Paul, and common sense found in Rom.2:15.

Brother Pagan realizes that Sister Christian doesn't have a head, but might have a heart:

The goodness of God is partially obscured by the evil in his 'believers,' and no where is it more obscured than in the American Holocaust, which has eclipsed the Jewish Holocaust many times over.

Years ago, C.S. Lewis took the same journey that Antony Flew appears to be on, and he made this comment about evil:

The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid "dens of crime" that Dickens loved to paint. It is not even done in concentration camps and labor camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried and minuted) by quiet men in clean, carpeted and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. - C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters. New York: Macmillan, 1964. Page ix.

The description fits those on the U.S. Supreme Court who routinely break the laws that states make to protect human life, and the politicians who endorse or tacitly approve their law breaking.

Men that weren't feminized had the courage to throw off a tyrant once upon a long time ago:

"….that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these" states "; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the present" United States Supreme Court "is of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States."

Article 3 of the U.S. Constitution provides the means to overthrow the tyranny of the Most Hight Court. Presently, Article 3 has no constituency, because there is no 'pork' in it, and you have a lot of good for nothing politicians who are content with the triumph of evil.

1 posted on 12/29/2004 2:44:16 AM PST by Ed Current
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To: Ed Current

That is one long post. Atheism, what is that? The belief that there is no God? If that was true then why is there something as compared to nothing? A belief in no God is to believe that there is nothing. It`s not a question of life or death it is a question of now. Why is there a table, a chair, a human, an earth, a sun, a universe? It`s all God. God is existence and if God doesn`t exist then who is dreaming this, how can there be a dream if there is nothing?


2 posted on 12/29/2004 3:00:43 AM PST by Imaverygooddriver (I`m a very good driver and I approve this message.)
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To: Ed Current

They say the distance between heaven and hell is an average of 18 inches.


3 posted on 12/29/2004 3:22:04 AM PST by Waywardson (Carry on! Nothing equals the splendor!)
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To: Ed Current
Hopefully for Flew, it won't take him another 81 years to grow up the rest of the way from a philosophical theist to a committed and active Christian.

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Whether God exists?

Objection 1. It seems that God does not exist; because if one of two contraries be infinite, the other would be altogether destroyed. But the word "God" means that He is infinite goodness. If, therefore, God existed, there would be no evil discoverable; but there is evil in the world. Therefore God does not exist.

Objection 2. Further, it is superfluous to suppose that what can be accounted for by a few principles has been produced by many. But it seems that everything we see in the world can be accounted for by other principles, supposing God did not exist. For all natural things can be reduced to one principle which is nature; and all voluntary things can be reduced to one principle which is human reason, or will. Therefore there is no need to suppose God's existence.

On the contrary, It is said in the person of God: "I am Who am." (Exodus 3:14)

I answer that, The existence of God can be proved in five ways.

The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.

The second way is from the nature of the efficient cause. In the world of sense we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Now in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or only one. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.

The third way is taken from possibility and necessity, and runs thus. We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated, and to corrupt, and consequently, they are possible to be and not to be. But it is impossible for these always to exist, for that which is possible not to be at some time is not. Therefore, if everything is possible not to be, then at one time there could have been nothing in existence. Now if this were true, even now there would be nothing in existence, because that which does not exist only begins to exist by something already existing. Therefore, if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus even now nothing would be in existence--which is absurd. Therefore, not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary. But every necessary thing either has its necessity caused by another, or not. Now it is impossible to go on to infinity in necessary things which have their necessity caused by another, as has been already proved in regard to efficient causes. Therefore we cannot but postulate the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in others their necessity. This all men speak of as God.

The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble and the like. But "more" and "less" are predicated of different things, according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest and, consequently, something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being, as it is written in Metaph. ii. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.

The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.

Reply to Objection 1. As Augustine says (Enchiridion xi): "Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works, unless His omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil." This is part of the infinite goodness of God, that He should allow evil to exist, and out of it produce good.

Reply to Objection 2. Since nature works for a determinate end under the direction of a higher agent, whatever is done by nature must needs be traced back to God, as to its first cause. So also whatever is done voluntarily must also be traced back to some higher cause other than human reason or will, since these can change or fail; for all things that are changeable and capable of defect must be traced back to an immovable and self-necessary first principle, as was shown in the body of the Article.

The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas
Second and Revised Edition, 1920
Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province
Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by Kevin Knight
Nihil Obstat. F. Innocentius Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor. Theol.
Imprimatur. Edus. Canonicus Surmont, Vicarius Generalis. Westmonasterii.
APPROBATIO ORDINIS
Nihil Obstat. F. Raphael Moss, O.P., S.T.L. and F. Leo Moore, O.P., S.T.L.
Imprimatur. F. Beda Jarrett, O.P., S.T.L., A.M., Prior Provincialis Angliæ

MARIÆ IMMACULATÆ - SEDI SAPIENTIÆ

 

Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight. All rights reserved. Updated 18 August 2004.
Praise Jesus Christ in His Angels and in His Saints.
New Advent is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
 

4 posted on 12/29/2004 3:24:10 AM PST by cpforlife.org (The Missing Key of The Pro-Life Movement is at www.CpForLife.org)
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To: Ed Current

Who is this Anthony Flew, guy? Foir a "noted atheist and philosopher", I never heard of him until now . . . . . . and that's not saying much.

Personally, I believe his "change of mind" is coming because he is beginning to hear the strains of "Nearer My God to Thee".


5 posted on 12/29/2004 3:34:04 AM PST by DustyMoment (Repeal CFR NOW!!)
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To: Imaverygooddriver
Atheism, what is that? The belief that there is no God? If that was true then why is there something as compared to nothing?

Theists have the same problem -- why would there be a god as compared to nothing?

A belief in no God is to believe that there is nothing.

That's just goofy.

It`s not a question of life or death it is a question of now. Why is there a table, a chair, a human, an earth, a sun, a universe?

Again, why would there be a god? Same problem.

It`s all God.

That doesn't resolve anything.

God is existence

Why not just "the universe is existence", without a god? Invoking a god to "explain" everything is just circular and resolves nothing.

and if God doesn`t exist then who is dreaming this, how can there be a dream if there is nothing?

Because there is something.

6 posted on 12/29/2004 3:39:52 AM PST by Ichneumon
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To: DustyMoment
"Personally, I believe his "change of mind" is coming because he is beginning to hear the strains of "Nearer My God to Thee".

Personally, I believe you are on to something. ;)

7 posted on 12/29/2004 4:34:08 AM PST by G.Mason ("It's easy to curb the freedoms of others when you see no immediate impact on your own." M. Forbes)
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To: Ed Current

DO believe, as did a majority of our founders(apparantly)
that the Laws of nature were dictated by God Himself.And that human laws must be made in accordance to th eLaws of nature and not violate the Divine LAws if they are to be valid.
When we rejected this fundamental principle of Law we ceased to be the nation Jefferson, and Madison, and Hamilton,and James Wilson ,and George Washington, and Ben
Franklin helped establish. And as God established the
Laws of nature--and as modern Science was distilled from
Christianity (or the Christian world view) Anything opposed to the Christian worldview must be counter to or invalid Science.


8 posted on 12/29/2004 4:42:13 AM PST by StonyBurk
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To: Ichneumon
One wonders why atheists make such a fuss about defending their supposed unbelief.

Regardless, the existence of God is not contingent on your approval. Since we know so little about this universe, and atheists refuse to "look out the window," the unbeliever cannot logically say there is no God. The only reasonable negative statement about the existence of God can be uttered by the agnostic in the first person: "I do not know if there is a God." And we cannot be certain that every agnostic is being honest in his agnosticism.

We all will die, which is one of the rare things with which we agree. We will all stand before God and give an account. He has already said that "not enough evidence" is not an excuse, something that Bertrand Russell has previously discovered. You will also stand before Him --no matter how hard you deny it.

Again, why would there be a god?

Because you know an infinite regression of causes is not only impossible, it is absurd. If there were an infinite regression, we would have never reached this point. There must be an Uncaused Cause. But even Flew figured this out.

9 posted on 12/29/2004 7:44:43 AM PST by Dataman
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To: Dataman

I think it's interesting that science seems to now be leading more people to believe in God. The more we seem to learn about the universe, the more difficult it seems to become that it could have no Creator.


10 posted on 12/29/2004 8:03:17 AM PST by puroresu
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To: StonyBurk

Pearcey analyzes "the crucial role played by the Darwinian view of origins" in the development of American legal philosophy. "Darwinism is not only a biological theory," she emphasizes; "it is also the basis for a comprehensive world view -- implying a new philosophy of mind, knowledge, morality, and law." Pearcey sees a direct connection between Darwinism and the postmodern view that "the only objective and absolute truth is that there are no objective and absolute truths." She argues that a "thorough-going critique" of judicial activism "must begin with Darwinism as a scientific theory." Pearcey advocates taking "the intellectual battle into science itself. The controversy over Darwin versus design is not a peripheral issue," she insists, "but lies at the heart of the cultural crisis of our day." Darwinian Roots of Judicial Activism

Perhaps the first individual successfully to champion this belief was Christopher Columbus Langdell (1826-1906), dean of the Harvard Law School. Langdell reasoned that since man evolved, then his laws must also evolve; and deciding that judges should guide the evolution of the Constitution, Langdell introduced the case law study method under which students would study the wording of judges’ decisions rather than the wording of the Constitution. Evolution and the Law:"A Death Struggle Between Two Civilizations" by David Barton

My greatest mistake as a pro-life person was in thinking Roe v. Wade arrived by itself. I didn't want to link abortion to other controversial subjects, which scared or confused me, detracting from the obvious atrocity of butchering a living, unborn child. Because of my narrow focus, I ignored the horrific world-view and the socio-political-financial machinery fueling abortion.Like many pro-life people, I felt that the origin of the species was a matter of God's choice of methods--but not a pro-life concern. Busy in local pro-life matters, I believed evolution was an "education dispute," a controversy I could, gratefully, sit out. I realized that evolution by natural selection has been the fundamental pro-life issue since Darwin himself. The Evolution of Genocide by Rebecca Messall

Scientists, it seems, should be the last people to need reminders about the importance of facts. A good scientist cannot have too many facts, because they are grist for the scientific mill as it grinds out explanations and theories about the world around us.Why, then, do so many scientists ignore certain facts of life as they line up to support abortion and to engage in destructive fetal and embryo research? Why do they obscure or deny the fact that human life begins at fertilization? Why are so many involved in population control? Why do some have a deep prejudice against people with disabilities and people of color? What's Wrong With the Science Establishment?

For three decades, Holmes brought his distinctively Darwinian bias to the Court. He spoke candidly: "I see no reason for attributing to man a significance different in kind from that which belongs to a baboon or a grain of sand."

Holmes and his contemporaries laid the foundation for legalized abortion, no-fault divorce, the legalization of homosexuality, and the rejection of the Framers' vision for Constitutional interpretation. Today, most courts have embraced an evolving standard for Constitutional interpretation, rejecting the notion that the Constitution must be interpreted in light of the meanings intended by the Framers. Laws and Standards - Do They Evolve?


Since the defeat of Nazism, evolutionists have been at pains to conceal the obvious connection between Darwin's theory of "survival of the fittest" and Hitler's ideology of a death-struggle between superior and inferior races. Their chief tactic: to claim that Hitler's "social Darwinism" was a perversion of "true" Darwinism. But in this stupendous work of intellectual history, Richard Weikart conclusively proves that Hitler's views were not only based firmly on core Darwinian principles, but widely echoed by leading Darwinist scientists, philosophers, and ethicists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries -- and that it was only after worldwide revulsion at the horrors of the Holocaust that such views disappeared from the Darwinist "mainstream."

With impeccable documentation, Weikart demonstrates that many leading Darwinian biologists and social thinkers of the pre-Hitler era believed -- and celebrated the fact -- that Darwinism overturned traditional Christian ethics, especially those pertaining to the sacredness of human life. In its place, they exalted evolutionary "fitness" (especially in terms of intelligence and health) as the highest arbiter of morality. Thus, whatever "improves" the race by favoring the strong and eliminating the weak is justified morally -- and this included not only euthanasia and abortion for certain groups, but even infanticide and genocide, all ultimately embraced by the Nazis. How Darwinism led to the Holocaust And how it is destroying respect for human life today -From Darwin to Hitler, Weikart, Richard

11 posted on 12/29/2004 10:44:15 AM PST by Ed Current (U.S. Constitution, Article 3 has no constituency to break federal judicial tyranny)
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To: DustyMoment; G.Mason

Personally, I believe his "change of mind" is coming because he is beginning to hear the strains of "Nearer My God to Thee".

Argument from Pascal's Wager by Peter Kreeft

12 posted on 12/29/2004 10:47:33 AM PST by Ed Current (U.S. Constitution, Article 3 has no constituency to break federal judicial tyranny)
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To: puroresu; BibChr; Ed Current
The more we seem to learn about the universe, the more difficult it seems to become that it could have no Creator.

It is impossible for the atheist to know there is no God, yet they cling stubbornly, and against all reason, to the belief. Yet they claim they are the rational ones; they are the intelligent ones. This is why I have respect for Flew who has admitted his error. I have even greater respect for guys like BibChr who not only found his way out of atheism, but continued till he discovered the identity of the One True God.

I'd like to see Ichneumon find his way out as well. He's not stupid but he is stubborn.

13 posted on 12/29/2004 10:51:33 AM PST by Dataman
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To: Dataman
  1. This is why I have respect for Flew who has admitted his error.
  2. I have even greater respect for guys like BibChr who not only found his way out of atheism, but continued till he discovered the identity of the One True God.
  3. I'd like to see Ichneumon find his way out as well.

Flew, BibChr, C.S. Lewis discarded atheism.

BibChr, C.S. Lewis continued to Christian theism.

Flew & C.S. Lewis had continuous exposure to theists who were Christian and had the patience to tolerate their stubbornness.

Persistance seems to be the key.

14 posted on 12/29/2004 11:09:24 AM PST by Ed Current (U.S. Constitution, Article 3 has no constituency to break federal judicial tyranny)
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To: cpforlife.org

This is part of the infinite goodness of God, that He should allow evil to exist, and out of it produce good.

Evil is a temporary state of affairs in the context of eternity.


15 posted on 12/29/2004 11:14:25 AM PST by Ed Current (U.S. Constitution, Article 3 has no constituency to break federal judicial tyranny)
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To: Imaverygooddriver

Atheism, what is that? The belief that there is no God? If that was true then why is there something as compared to nothing?

You just have to lay your brain aside and accept macroevolution by FAITH.

You just need to come up with more faith than the Christian theists to become a 'believer' in MAC EVOLUTION.

Darwin has many disciples who will help you suspend critical thought and accept everything that came from nothing.

You just need a few exercises to warm up to the idea.

  1. Look at you computer and state that it evolved from an abacus by random forces and energy.
  2. The abacus evolved from earth wind and fire.
  3. Earth evolved from space wind and fire
  4. Fire evolved from space wind
  5. Wind evolved from space
  6. Space evolved from nothing.
  7. Nothing from nothing leaves nothing.

Just keep repeating this mantra, and it will slowly sink in.

16 posted on 12/29/2004 11:30:03 AM PST by Ed Current (U.S. Constitution, Article 3 has no constituency to break federal judicial tyranny)
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To: Ed Current

You guys don`t understand me at all. You are thinking in terms of God as a seperate intelligent entity, a man in the sky as some religious thing. All I am saying is that this big ball of energy we call the universe is God. It is everything that exists, who cares if it came from nothing or always was, the fact is, it exists now and to me to be atheist is to deny that anything exists. I`m not speaking in terms of religion, all I`m saying is it makes no sense to not believe in existence when you yourself exist. You are seperating yourself when you are not seperate because you wouldn`t exist if you were. Every atom in your body, every last speck of energy within you is constantly interacting with the universe and has been for billions of years and a billion years from now every atom in your body can be billions of light years away from each other or be pure energy in a star, but there is always a relationship between everything that exists otherwise it all wouldn`t work, there would be nothing. When it doesn`t work anymore then I will believe in Atheism. Now let me take another tab of LSD, or LDS like Kirk would say.


17 posted on 12/29/2004 2:44:27 PM PST by Imaverygooddriver (I`m a very good driver and I approve this message.)
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To: Imaverygooddriver
I should have read more closely.

Evo could be the God of everthing who exists in everything?

You would agree with POST #11

Holmes brought his distinctively Darwinian bias to the Court. He spoke candidly: "I see no reason for attributing to man a significance different in kind from that which belongs to a baboon or a grain of sand."

Man = baboon = grain of sand since all are a part of God the universe?

18 posted on 12/29/2004 3:20:49 PM PST by Ed Current (U.S. Constitution, Article 3 has no constituency to break federal judicial tyranny)
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To: Dataman
One wonders why atheists make such a fuss about defending their supposed unbelief.

I'm wondering the same sort of thing, but in reverse. What is this, The 190th post about this Flew guy in the past week? Whose being obsessive?

You look at who switched in/switched out of religion (See The American Religious Survey p.25). Between 1991 and 2001 a net 5,504,413 people left religion.

How many post about any one of those 5,504,413 people do you see here? Yet one guy becomes sort of a thiest (he most certainly didn't become Christian) and this is supposed to be some earthshaking event how?

19 posted on 12/29/2004 9:18:11 PM PST by qam1 (Anyone who was born in New Jersey should not be allowed to drive at night or on hills.)
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To: qam1
Whose being obsessive?

Who is being obsessive? The freedom from religion crowd is on the offensive. They have fragile egos and cannot abide disapproval of their beliefs or behavior.

You look at who switched in/switched out of religion (See The American Religious Survey p.25). Between 1991 and 2001 a net 5,504,413 people left religion.

Not only is CUNY not a credible source, but they list barely over a million Evangelicals in the US. Since Evangelicals were supposedly the ones that handed Bush the election, I think we can safely say that the survey has a serious problem or two.

Yet one guy becomes sort of a thiest (he most certainly didn't become Christian) and this is supposed to be some earthshaking event how?

I see you haven't heard of Flew before. He dedicated his life to the denial of God's existence. He's now admitted his error, a thing which rabid atheists rarely do. If an intellectual like Flew can admit his error after all these years, there's hope for the, shall we say, "less gifted?"

20 posted on 12/30/2004 3:24:17 AM PST by Dataman
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To: Imaverygooddriver; Ed Current
All I am saying is that this big ball of energy we call the universe is God.

It's a nice thought, but it doesn't make sense- unless, maybe, the "ball of energy" is personal. Does a personal ball of energy make sense to you?

It is everything that exists, who cares if it came from nothing or always was, the fact is, it exists now and to me to be atheist is to deny that anything exists.

Who cares? You should. If God isn't as you say, you may stand before Him after you die. That will probably be the moment at which you realize you should have cared.

all I`m saying is it makes no sense to not believe in existence when you yourself exist.

You are absolutely correct-- yet some claim that reality is an illusion. This is a good example of just how self-deceptive the human mind can be.

Every atom in your body, every last speck of energy within you is constantly interacting with the universe and has been for billions of years

A pleasant thought, but 1) how do you know that and 2) what difference does it make?

21 posted on 12/30/2004 3:36:08 AM PST by Dataman
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