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Weighing the Evidence: An Atheist Abandons Atheism
BreakPoint with Charles Colson ^ | January 10, 2005 | Charles Colson

Posted on 01/10/2005 2:47:28 PM PST by Mr. Silverback

Antony Flew, the 81-year-old British philosophy professor who taught at Oxford and other leading universities, became an atheist at age 15. Throughout his long career he argued—including in debates with an atheist-turned-Christian named C. S. Lewis—that there was a “presumption of atheism,” that is, the existence of a creator could not be proved.

But he’s now been forced to face the evidence. It comes from the Intelligent Design movement, led by Dr. Phillip Johnson and particularly the work of Michael Behe, the Lehigh biochemist who has proven the “irreducible complexity” of the human cell structure. Though eighty-one years old, Flew has not let his thinking fossilize, but has faithfully followed his own dictum to “go where the evidence leads.”

Christian philosophy professor Gary Habermas of Liberty University conducted an interview with Flew that will be published in the winter issue of Philosophia Christi, the journal of the Evangelical Philosophical Society and Biola University. Flew told Habermas that a pivotal point in his thinking was when he realized two major flaws in the various theories of how nature might have created itself. First, he recognized that evolutionary theory has no reasonable explanation for “the first emergence of living from non-living matter”—that is, the origin of life. Second, even if a living cell or primitive animal had somehow assembled itself from non-living chemicals, he reasoned it would have no ability to reproduce.

Flew told Habermas, “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 findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.”

Flew has, thus, become a Deist—that is, he acknowledges God as creator but not as a personal deity. In his opinion, “There is no room either for any supernatural revelation of that God or any transactions between that God and individual human beings.” In fact, he told a group last May that he considers both the Christian God and the Islamic God to be “omnipotent Oriental despots—cosmic Saddam Husseins.”

But a crack is beginning to develop in his opinion that God hasn’t spoken through Scripture. When he reads the first chapter of Genesis, Flew says he’s impressed that a book written thousands of years ago harmonizes with twenty-first-century science. “That this biblical account might be scientifically accurate,” says Flew, “raises the possibility that it is revelation.” A book containing factual statements that no human knew about at the time of writing seems to argue that the authors must have had coaching from the Creator.

The evidence is there for all who will look, as his one-time adversary C. S. Lewis discovered, and as more and more thinking intellectuals are discovering today. So it is that Antony Flew, perhaps the most famous philosopher of atheism, is just a step or two away from the kingdom.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: antonyflew; atheism; atheist; breakpoint; creation; deist; god; revelation; science; scripture
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1 posted on 01/10/2005 2:47:28 PM PST by Mr. Silverback
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To: Mr. Silverback
Amazing how some atheists come around the closer they get to meeting their Creator...
2 posted on 01/10/2005 2:49:00 PM PST by Aussie Dasher (Stop Hillary - PEGGY NOONAN '08)
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To: Mr. Silverback

And another potential thousand plus post thread exits the womb...

I like the mention of C. S. Lewis at the end. He is my favorite author.

It is also nice that he brings up one of my favorite points. To wit, that a book written thousands of years ago and has quite a bit to say about creation, still cannot be refuted by modern science. Oh, peoples interpretations of it can be, but it cannot. Kind of like it's prophesies...

Cool.


3 posted on 01/10/2005 2:54:50 PM PST by RobRoy (Science is about "how." Christianity is about "why.")
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To: agenda_express; Annie03; applemac_g4; BA63; banjo joe; Believer 1; bethelgrad; billbears; ...

BreakPoint/Chuck Colson Ping!

If anyone wants on or off my BreakPoint Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.

4 posted on 01/10/2005 2:55:29 PM PST by Mr. Silverback (Why the heck isn't Randy Moss prperly potty trained?)
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To: Mr. Silverback
"This is the creature, the evolution of which a truly comprehensive theory of evolution must give some account."

Someone needs to tell this 81 year professor from Oxford University that the Theory of Evolution does not speak to the issue of origins, therefore it must not, and cannot, be held accountable in this regard.

5 posted on 01/10/2005 2:55:37 PM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: Aussie Dasher

Well, as ones life becomes more and more mortal, one usually finds themself spending more mental energy on the subject.


6 posted on 01/10/2005 2:56:09 PM PST by RobRoy (Science is about "how." Christianity is about "why.")
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To: Fester Chugabrew

>>Theory of Evolution does not speak to the issue of origins, therefore it must not, and cannot, be held accountable in this regard.<<

Heh, heh. WHICH theory of evolution?


7 posted on 01/10/2005 2:57:08 PM PST by RobRoy (Science is about "how." Christianity is about "why.")
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To: Mr. Silverback

I don't believe in atheists...I can prove their nonexistance.


8 posted on 01/10/2005 2:57:21 PM PST by Joe 6-pack ("We deal in hard calibers and hot lead." - Roland Deschaines)
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To: Mr. Silverback

AT 81, he may not have much time left to make up his mind whether he should follow up on his realization of a deity.


9 posted on 01/10/2005 2:59:28 PM PST by TexasRepublic (Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!)
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To: Joe 6-pack

C. S. Lewis used to be an atheist. He finally concluded, and documents his reasons, that it is the most logically unsupportable position to the point that he did not believe there was really any such thing as an atheist, no matter how much someone would claim to be one.


10 posted on 01/10/2005 2:59:56 PM PST by RobRoy (Science is about "how." Christianity is about "why.")
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To: RobRoy

My assertion is based on Lewis's writing....:-)


11 posted on 01/10/2005 3:00:58 PM PST by Joe 6-pack ("We deal in hard calibers and hot lead." - Roland Deschaines)
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To: TexasRepublic

I tend to believe that if the only thing that is keepine a person from accepting Christ is their intellect, then they are, in fact, probably destined to become a Christian.


12 posted on 01/10/2005 3:01:31 PM PST by RobRoy (Science is about "how." Christianity is about "why.")
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To: Joe 6-pack

I actually suspected, but was not sure. ;^>


13 posted on 01/10/2005 3:02:31 PM PST by RobRoy (Science is about "how." Christianity is about "why.")
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To: Aussie Dasher

Amazing how some atheists come around the closer they get to meeting their Creator...

Perhaps he's hedging his bets?


14 posted on 01/10/2005 3:03:20 PM PST by Sterrins
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To: Joe 6-pack
Atheism is a religion too. To say you know there is no God is logically the same as saying you know there is.
15 posted on 01/10/2005 3:04:08 PM PST by wolfpat
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To: dAnconia

Induldge me ping :D


16 posted on 01/10/2005 3:08:32 PM PST by Annie03
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To: Mr. Silverback

Interesting article....looks like intelligent design is gaining some traction.


17 posted on 01/10/2005 3:09:58 PM PST by Annie03
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To: Mr. Silverback
and as more and more thinking intellectuals are discovering today

And that is the key phrase. The brain-dead ones still cling to a theory only a real idiotic or and religious fanatic could believe in.

18 posted on 01/10/2005 3:11:12 PM PST by AmericaUnited
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To: wolfpat

Wow. What a succinct way to put it. I've had raging arguments with atheists on FR on the impossibility of atheism.

You summed it up in a single sentence.

Generally, I get riled and ask them to lay out their proof for me so that I can have my Sunday's back.

I never get a response, but my approach isn't half as elegant as your summation.


19 posted on 01/10/2005 3:12:52 PM PST by RinaseaofDs (The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money.)
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To: Fester Chugabrew
does not speak to the issue of origins, therefore it must not, and cannot, be held accountable in this regard.

If the Theory of Evolution states humans evolved from another species, it most certainly speaks to the issue of origins.
20 posted on 01/10/2005 3:14:58 PM PST by microgood (Washington State: Ukraine without the poison)
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To: Mr. Silverback
Well, regardless of what he says drew him to the conclusion that there is a Higher Power, I can guaran-damn-tee you that being 81 years old and staring down into the six-foot deep hole he'll occupy for Eternity had a good bit to do with it. *chuckle*


21 posted on 01/10/2005 3:17:20 PM PST by Viking2002 (Taglines? Vikings don't need no steenkin' taglines..............)
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To: Fester Chugabrew

"Someone needs to tell this 81 year professor from Oxford University that the Theory of Evolution does not speak to the issue of origins, therefore it must not, and cannot, be held accountable in this regard."

He quite logically, as many of us have, realized that when macro evolution is presented as a totally naturalistic mechanism (requiring no God) to account for the total diversity of life we observe in the present and in the fossil record, then a naturalistic origens of life is also implied. If there is no creator/designer, then life had to evolve/form from non-life.






22 posted on 01/10/2005 3:31:17 PM PST by Sola Veritas (Trying to speak truth - not always with the best grammar or spelling)
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To: Mr. Silverback; Aussie Dasher; RobRoy

Click the link below for the actual Habermas interview (also downloadable as .pdf):

http://www.biola.edu/antonyflew/

For anyone who thinks Flew's move to being a theist is underreported...
I suspect it may not be due to atheistic/materialist bent of most journalists...
it's because of what Flew has to say about Islam, The World Council of Churches,
and communism (see pp 12, 14-16 of the .pdf file).

That, plus Flew's appraisal of St. Paul having a "first-class philosophical mind"
and Christ as a very appealing personage is sufficient for most journalists/editors
to ignore this story!!!


23 posted on 01/10/2005 3:32:59 PM PST by VOA
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To: Mr. Silverback

Thanks, and AMEN!


24 posted on 01/10/2005 3:33:04 PM PST by wizr (Freedom ain't free.)
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To: Mr. Silverback; american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; ...
The evidence is there for all who will look!

Bears repeating ...........

Catholic Ping - please freepmail me if you want on/off this list


25 posted on 01/10/2005 3:34:22 PM PST by NYer ("In good times we enjoy faith, in bad times we exercise faith." ... Mother Angelica)
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To: RobRoy

I would rather be a trash collector in Heaven, than on the Board of Directors in Hell. Jus' my opinion.


26 posted on 01/10/2005 3:36:30 PM PST by wizr (Freedom ain't free.)
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To: wizr

That's a great way of looking at it. I'll remember that one.


27 posted on 01/10/2005 3:43:23 PM PST by Aussie Dasher (Stop Hillary - PEGGY NOONAN '08)
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To: microgood
The theory of evolution is irrelevant to the subject of God. Although a great many people on FR seem to believe that God doesn't have the power to have created evolution. They apparently think God put all that evidence out there just to fool us.

Like the death of Mark Twain, the stories about how Evolution is being reject by scientists have been greatly exagerated.

28 posted on 01/10/2005 3:48:44 PM PST by narby
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Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: VOA
sufficient for most journalists/editors to ignore this story!!!

There and I thought they were ignoring it just because no one knew who the old geezer was.

30 posted on 01/10/2005 3:50:15 PM PST by narby
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To: Mr. Silverback
What astonishing arrogance on the part of this old f@rt. Even when he admits there might be a creator, he still sits in a judgement seat.

How it is that a professor at grand old age is so resistant to the wonderful freedom of humility...well, God and Jesus can deal with that.

31 posted on 01/10/2005 3:52:05 PM PST by weenie (Islam is as "...dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog." -- Churchill)
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To: Aussie Dasher
Amazing how some atheists come around the closer they get to meeting their Creator...

At 81, he's reached an age at which sexual license probably does not seem so all-important. I've come to think that's about 95% of the motivation behind the modernist revolt against religion, of which atheism is but one strand. The high theorizing is rooted mainly in the desire to reject any authority outside oneself, and this in turn is motivated very largely by the desire to misbehave sexually.

32 posted on 01/10/2005 4:00:02 PM PST by sphinx
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To: Annie03

Interesting article....looks like intelligent design is gaining some traction.


You mean reestablishing?


33 posted on 01/10/2005 4:01:07 PM PST by loboinok (GUN CONTROL IS HITTING WHAT YOU AIM AT.)
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To: narby

"Although a great many people on FR seem to believe that God doesn't have the power to have created evolution."

"created evolution"? Is that not a bit of an oxymoron?


34 posted on 01/10/2005 4:03:42 PM PST by Sola Veritas (Trying to speak truth - not always with the best grammar or spelling)
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To: Allan

Bump


35 posted on 01/10/2005 4:04:01 PM PST by Allan
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To: sphinx

You are saying exactly what I have always suspected.


36 posted on 01/10/2005 4:08:04 PM PST by TexasRepublic (Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!)
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To: Sola Veritas
"created evolution"? Is that not a bit of an oxymoron?

Why? It actually seems more elegant and God is nothing if not elegant.

Why is creative evolution any different than setting a toy boat free in a stream?

37 posted on 01/10/2005 4:08:55 PM PST by weenie (Islam is as "...dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog." -- Churchill)
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To: RobRoy
re: a book written thousands of years ago and has quite a bit to say about creation

The book of Job has a great section (chapter 38) where Job, out of frustration questions God. God gets pretty irritated and tells Job he will answer his questions, but only if Job can answer God's questions first. God, speaking from a whirlwind, then asks Job about a dozen questions, some of which only make sense when viewed in light of today's knowledge of science. He has things like 'where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?", "has anyone measured it, or know where its foundations are fastened?", "can you bind the the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? (a reference to the changing of the seasons marked by the appearance of these constellations in particular parts of the sky)", "did you give wings to the peacock or to the ostrich?" and on and on. It's well worth taking the time to read God's questions of Job in chapter 38 and 39. We still can't answer many of them.
38 posted on 01/10/2005 4:13:28 PM PST by jwpjr
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To: Aussie Dasher

Flew believes there is nothing after death which makes his statements even more meaningful.
To Flew there is no eternal spiritual benefit for his belief change. He was just being intellectually honest


39 posted on 01/10/2005 4:16:40 PM PST by catonsville
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To: narby
The theory of evolution is irrelevant to the subject of God.

And that's the problem. God is NOT irrelevant. Make up a fable of how a log cabin could come into existence without intelligent design. Such a tale would make the builder of the cabin "irrelevant". Unfortunately, since the builder is quite irrelevant, it makes the theory ignoring him irrelevant. Such is the fate of the theory of evolution. IT is irrelevant, not God.

a great many people on FR seem to believe that God doesn't have the power to have created evolution

On the contrary, we believe that God has the power to do as He pleases, including creating the entire universe in 7 days if that's the way it happened. It is the evolutionists who seek to rob God of power, believing that God doesn't have the power to have created the universe without evolution.

They apparently think God put all that evidence out there just to fool us

LOL. Uhm, no. We think God left plenty of evidence, and the evidence points to divine creation, NOT to a chance occurrence wherein He is "irrelevant" as you admit. As these intelluctuals like C.S. Lewis and his recently converted debate partner are concluding, based upon the evidence it is MORE logical to presume intelligent design than to presume evolution. If you want to take a huge leap of "faith" and believe in an evolutionary world in which God is "irrelevant" that is your choice; however, the odds are simply not in your favor.

Like the death of Mark Twain, the stories about how Evolution is being rejected by scientists have been greatly exagerated.

You mean Mark Twain is still alive!? ;-)

40 posted on 01/10/2005 4:31:05 PM PST by GLDNGUN
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To: Sola Veritas
"created evolution"? Is that not a bit of an oxymoron?

One of the concepts in evolution is the random mutation of genes. Did not God create "randomness" in the first place?

I'm just amazed to think that there are people who think that God could not have been smart enough to set up the system of evolution in the first place. They apparently think that God could snap his fingers, and there was a new creature. But they don't think God could have created a life system that would modify itself over time. Creationism is such a simplistic view of God.

41 posted on 01/10/2005 4:32:44 PM PST by narby
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To: GLDNGUN
In an early morning, if you view a lake that is perfectly smooth, like a mirror, did God make the lake flat? Or did gravity?

I prefer to think that God created gravity, and that's what made the lake flat.

Same with evolution.

42 posted on 01/10/2005 4:37:22 PM PST by narby
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To: wolfpat
wolfpat wrote:

Atheism is a religion too. To say you know there is no God is logically the same as saying you know there is.

___________________________________

If your God is logical
-- reason is your religion.
To say then you know God, is not reasonable.

43 posted on 01/10/2005 4:43:14 PM PST by jonestown ( Tolerance for intolerance is not tolerance at all. Jonestown, TX)
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To: weenie

"Why is creative evolution any different than setting a toy boat free in a stream?"

I don't particularily want to debate with a "theistic" evolutionist. I will just say that the God I worship is a "hands on" God. He doesn't just turn things loose like a toy boat in a stream. That view is not just confined to origin of species. It is also my view of all occurences in the world - past, present, and future.


44 posted on 01/10/2005 4:45:45 PM PST by Sola Veritas (Trying to speak truth - not always with the best grammar or spelling)
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To: narby

"They apparently think that God could snap his fingers, and there was a new creature. But they don't think God could have created a life system that would modify itself over time. Creationism is such a simplistic view of God."

That is just a rationalization on your part. You are trying justify your own lack of faith in the reliability of scripture. What you call "simplistic" is what I call the simple faith of a child that Christ Jesus said was necessary.


45 posted on 01/10/2005 4:50:01 PM PST by Sola Veritas (Trying to speak truth - not always with the best grammar or spelling)
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To: Sola Veritas
I will just say that the God I worship is a "hands on" God.

I don't want to argue either (except respectfully).

However, God will not reduce Himself to that which you worship...He Is Infinite...and He can do whatever He wants...and it is surely infinitely greater than our capacity to understand...but is bound only by His Love and Care.

What I am saying is...don't define Him because you are surely reducing Him to your human capacity.

46 posted on 01/10/2005 4:52:01 PM PST by weenie (Islam is as "...dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog." -- Churchill)
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To: Sola Veritas
I don't particularily want to debate with a "theistic" evolutionist. I will just say that the God I worship is a "hands on" God.

Then you can see that this argument over evolution is really between believers who merely interpret Genesis in different ways. Some recognize that those few hundred words about the creation are just not enough to include something detailed like evolution. The Bible is not a science textbook and church is not a science foundation.

I personally believe that the whole evolution vs. creationism fight is damaging to believers. The damage ends when believers decide that they will not contest science.

God still did it. That's the only point that matters.

47 posted on 01/10/2005 4:54:37 PM PST by narby
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To: Mr. Silverback
An atheist abandoning atheism is like a man alone in a desert who is dying of thirst giving up his trek towards a mirage in the distance.
48 posted on 01/10/2005 4:57:07 PM PST by Red Sea Swimmer (Tisha5765Bav)
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To: weenie
What I am saying is...don't define Him because you are surely reducing Him to your human capacity.

Very simply and well put.
49 posted on 01/10/2005 4:57:33 PM PST by bananarepublican23
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To: narby
The theory of evolution is irrelevant to the subject of God.

The way I understand it, some evolutionists believe that once life began, there was no non-materialistic influences on how life came to be on this planet, which basically means no supernatural influence (speciation occurred for these evolutionists).

Other evolutionists say no involvement since the earth started cooling down (speciation and abiogenesis occurred for these evolutionists).

But for people who believe that there are influences other than naturalistic ones in the formation of life on the planet, abiogenesis and speciation are counter intuitive and for me - not believable. I do admit, however, that if I had the view that only naturalistic processes have occurred since the earth was molten magma (which evolutionary scientists believe), then believing in abiogenesis and evolution becomes more compelling.

Evolution is being reject by scientists have been greatly exagerated.

Of this I do not know. But for the rest of us, I think the influence of evolution is waning. I used to believe it for the most part, but due to the Cambrian explosion, and lack of transitional species, I tend to believe all life was created about the same time. And since science is better at creating theories based on empirical and testable information, it is better suited to current issues than guessing what happenened a long time ago with limited fossil evidence.
50 posted on 01/10/2005 4:58:56 PM PST by microgood (Washington State: Ukraine without the poison)
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