Tag Archives: george wald

My correspondence with George Wald and Antony Flew!!!

During the 1990′s I actually made it a practice to write famous atheists and scientists that were mentioned by Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer and challenge them with the evidence for the Bible’s historicity and the claims of the gospel. Usually I would send them a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers’ messages “6 reasons I know the Bible is True,” “The Final Judgement,” “Who is Jesus?” and the message by Bill Elliff, “How to get a pure heart.”  I would also send them printed material from the works of Francis Schaeffer and a personal apologetic letter from me addressing some of the issues in their work. My second cassette tape that I sent to both Antony Flew and George Wald was Adrian Rogers’ sermon on evolution.  

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Photo of Pastor Adrian Rogers Memorial Tribute

Below is the video of Rogers’ sermon on Evolution.

Check out this short article by Adrian Rogers:

I think that Antony Flew may have pondered this quote from George Wald which was in Adrian Rogers’ sermon.

Dr. George Wald of Harvard:

“When it comes to the origin of life, we have only two possibilities as to how life arose. One is spontaneous generation arising to evolution; the other is a supernatural creative act of God. There is no third possibility…Spontaneous generation was scientifically disproved one hundred years ago by Louis Pasteur, Spellanzani, Reddy and others. That leads us scientifically to only one possible conclusion — that life arose as a supernatural creative act of God…I will not accept that philosophically because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generationarising to evolution.” – Scientific American, August, 1954.

Adrian Rogers said the lack of an  answer for the  origin of life was a big reason Rogers rejected evolution.  Rogers noted, “Evolution offers no answers to the origin of life. It simply pushes the question farther back in time, back to some primordial event in space or an act of spontaneous generation in which life simply sprang from nothing.”

I actually had the chance to correspond with George Wald twice before his death. He wrote me two letters and in the first one he suggested that he was just using hyperbole when he made the assertion that is quoted by Dr. Rogers. He also suggested the religion of Buddhism although he said he was not a Buddhist himself, but he thought that would be closest to the truth which he thought was atheism. This does seem to contradict what Flew says of Wald’s views in the 1990’s. Flew contended concerning Wald:

In later years, he concluded that a preexisting mind, which he posits as the matrix of physical reality, composed a physical universe that breeds life: ‘the stuff of which physical reality is constructed is mind-stuff. It is mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life…’ 

In my letters to both Wald and Flew in the 1990’s I demonstrated that  there is evidence that points to the fact that the Bible is historically true as Schaeffer pointed out in episode 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACEThere is a basis then for faith in Christ alone for our eternal hope. This link shows how to do that.

Fortunately some modern philosophers and scientists are starting to wake up and realize that materialistic chance evolution was not responsible for the origin of the universe but it was started by a Divine Mind. In fact, Antony Flew who was probably the most famous atheist of the 20th century took time to read several letters I sent him the 1990’s which included much material from Francis Schaeffer and he listened to several cassette tapes I sent him from Adrian Rogers and then in 2004 he reversed his view that this world came about through evolution and he left his atheism behind and  because a theist.  I still have several of the letters that Dr. Flew wrote back to me and I will be posting them later on my blog at some point. One of the letters I got back in 1994 said specifically that he enjoyed listening to whole cassette tape.

 Notice the quote in Antony Flew’s book: The Nobel Prize-winning physiologist George Wald once famously argued that “We choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance”

A heavier read but an excellent look at the philosophical implications of modern scientific discoveries is “There is a God: How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind” by Anthony Flew with Roy Abraham Varghese (Harper One, 2007). This book is available for about €10 on http://www.amazon.co.uk.

Here is a taster of what the book contains:

Chapter 4 “A pilgrimage of reason”

 

“The leaders of science over the last hundred years, along with some of today’s most influential scientists, have built a philosophically compelling vision of a rational universe that sprang from a divine mind” (Anthony Flew).

One could say that this vision was prompted by a response to three big questions –

(a)How did the laws of nature come to be?

(b)How did life as a phenomenon originate from non-life?

(c)How did the universe, by which we mean all that is physical, come into existence?

Chapter 5 “Who wrote the laws of nature?”

The important point is not merely that there are regularities in nature, but that these regularities are mathematically precise, universal, and “tied together”. Einstein spoke of them as “reason incarnate”. The question we should ask is how nature came packaged in this fashion.

We can put the issue this way:

(a)Where do the laws of physics come from?

(b)Why is it that we have these laws instead of some other set?

(c)How is it that we have a set of laws that drives featureless gases to life, consciousness and intelligence?

Chapter 6 “Did the universe know that we were coming?”

“The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense knew we were coming” (Physicist Freeman Dyson).

In other words, the laws of nature seem to have been crafted and fine-tuned so as to move the universe towards the emergence and sustenance of life.

Chapter 7 “How did life go live?”

How can a universe of mindless matter produce beings with intrinsic ends, self-replication capabilities, and “coded chemistry”?

How can self-reproduction arise by natural means from a material base?

Why does living matter possess an inherent goal or end-centred organisation that is nowhere present in the matter that preceded it?

“Life is more than just complex chemical reactions. The cell is also an information-storing, processing and replicating system. We need to explain the origin of this information, and the way in which the information processing machinery came to exist”. (Paul Davies, physicist and cosmologist)

The Nobel Prize-winning physiologist George Wald once famously argued that “We choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance”

Chapter 8 “Did something come from nothing?”

Here, Flew notes how modern cosmology has placed the need to explain the universe centre stage again.

“No matter how you describe the universe – as having existed for ever, or as having originated from a point outside space-time, or else in space but not in time, or as starting off so quantum-fuzzily that there was no definite point at which it started, or as having a total energy that is zero – the people who see a problem in the sheer existence of Something Rather Than Nothing will be little inclined to agree that the problem has been solved” (John Leslie).

In other words, “the universe is something that begs an explanation” (Richard Swinburne).

Chapter 9 “Finding space for God”

Flew formerly argued that the very concept of God is incoherent because it presupposes the idea of an incorporeal omnipresent spirit. In this (unsatisfactory) section, he discusses his new thinking on the subject.

 

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Making Sense of Faith and Science

Uploaded on May 16, 2008

Dr. H. Fritz Schaefer confronts the assertion that one cannot believe in God and be a credible scientist. He explains that the theistic world view of Bacon, Kepler, Pascal, Boyle, Newton, Faraday and Maxwell was instrumental in the rise of modern science itself. Presented as part of the Let There be Light series. Series: Let There Be Light [5/2003] [Humanities] [Show ID: 7338]

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Antony Flew – World’s Most Famous Atheist Accepts Existence of God

Uploaded on Nov 28, 2008

Has Science Discovered God?

A half-century ago, in 1955, Professor Antony Flew set the agenda for modern atheism with his Theology and Falsification, a paper presented in a debate with C.S. Lewis. This work became the most widely reprinted philosophical publication of the last 50 years. Over the decades, he published more than 30 books attacking belief in God and debated a wide range of religious believers.

Then, in a 2004 Summit at New York University, Professor Flew announced that the discoveries of modern science have led him to the conclusion that the universe is indeed the creation of infinite Intelligence.

For More Info Visit:
http://ScienceFindsGod.com

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Intelligent Design: Is It Viable? William Lane Craig vs. Francisco J. Ayala

Published on Nov 10, 2013

Date: November 5, 2009
Location: Indiana University

Christian/Intelligent Design proponent debater: William Lane Craig
Christian/Darwinist debater: Francisco J. Ayala

For William Lane Craig: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/
For Francisco Ayala: http://www.faculty.uci.edu/profile.cf…
To purchase this debate: http://apps.biola.edu/apologetics-sto…

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Related posts:

Antony Flew did not make a public profession of faith in Christ but will his conversion from atheism to theism have an impact?

____________ Jesus’ Resurrection: Atheist, Antony Flew, and Theist, Gary Habermas, Dialogue Published on Apr 7, 2012 http://www.veritas.org/talks – Did Jesus die, was he buried, and what happened afterward? Join legendary atheist Antony Flew and Christian historian and apologist Gary Habermas in a discussion about the facts surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Join the […]

Concerning the book THERE IS A GOD Antony Flew stated, “This is my book and it represents my thinking!

_______ ________ Does God Exist?: William Lane Craig vs Antony Flew Uploaded on Dec 16, 2010 http://drcraigvideos.blogspot.com – William Lane Craig and Antony Flew met in 1998 on the 50th anniversary of the famous Copleston/Russell debate to discuss the question of God’s existence in a public debate. Unlike Richard Dawkins, Flew was one of the most […]

Bill Muehlenberg’s review of “There Is a God” By Antony Flew

_________________   Antony Flew on God and Atheism Published on Feb 11, 2013 Lee Strobel interviews philosopher and scholar Antony Flew on his conversion from atheism to deism. Much of it has to do with intelligent design. Flew was considered one of the most influential and important thinker for atheism during his time before his […]

Former Atheist Antony Flew noted that Evolutionists failed to show “Where did a living, self-reproducing organism come from in the first place?”

____   Does God Exist? Thomas Warren vs. Antony Flew Published on Jan 2, 2014 Date: September 20-23, 1976 Location: North Texas State University Christian debater: Thomas B. Warren Atheist debater: Antony G.N. Flew For Thomas Warren: http://www.warrenapologeticscenter.org/ ______________________ Antony Flew and his conversion to theism Uploaded on Aug 12, 2011 Antony Flew, a well known […]

Educated Scholars like Antony Flew can believe in God!!!

__________ Discussion (1 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas Uploaded on Sep 22, 2010 A discussion with Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas. This was held at Westminster Chapel March, 2008 Debate – William Lane Craig vs Christopher Hitchens – Does God Exist? Uploaded on Jan 27, 2011 April 4, 2009 – Craig […]

Antony Flew rightly noted that Richard Dawkins’ “monkey theorem was a load of rubbish”

________   William Lane Craig versus Eddie Tabash Debate Uploaded on Feb 6, 2012 Secular Humanism versus Christianity, Lawyer versus Theologian. Evangelical Christian apologist William Lane Craig debates humanist atheist lawyer Eddie Tabash at Pepperdine University, February 8, 1999. Visit http://www.Infidels.org andhttp://www.WilliamLaneCraig.com ________________ Antony Flew on God and Atheism Published on Feb 11, 2013 Lee […]

Article from 2005 indicated Antony Flew abandoned atheism because of Law of Biogenesis!!!!

___________   Does God Exist? Thomas Warren vs. Antony Flew Published on Jan 2, 2014 Date: September 20-23, 1976 Location: North Texas State University Christian debater: Thomas B. Warren Atheist debater: Antony G.N. Flew For Thomas Warren: http://www.warrenapologeticscenter.org/ ______________________ Antony Flew and his conversion to theism Uploaded on Aug 12, 2011 Antony Flew, a well known […]

The Christian influence on society is real and that is one of the reasons Antony Flew left Atheism!!!

_____________ Antony Flew on God and Atheism Published on Feb 11, 2013 Lee Strobel interviews philosopher and scholar Antony Flew on his conversion from atheism to deism. Much of it has to do with intelligent design. Flew was considered one of the most influential and important thinker for atheism during his time before his death […]

Antony Flew, George Wald and David Noebel on the Origin of Life

___________ Does God Exist?: William Lane Craig vs Antony Flew Uploaded on Dec 16, 2010 http://drcraigvideos.blogspot.com – William Lane Craig and Antony Flew met in 1998 on the 50th anniversary of the famous Copleston/Russell debate to discuss the question of God’s existence in a public debate. Unlike Richard Dawkins, Flew was one of the most respected […]

The Fine Tuning Argument for the Existence of God from Antony Flew!

___________ ________ Jesus’ Resurrection: Atheist, Antony Flew, and Theist, Gary Habermas, Dialogue Published on Apr 7, 2012 http://www.veritas.org/talks –Did Jesus die, was he buried, and what happened afterward? Join legendary atheist Antony Flew and Christian historian and apologist Gary Habermas in a discussion about the facts surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Join […]

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Did Antony Flew include George Wald quote after listening to cassette tape I sent him in late 1990s?

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Does God Exist? Thomas Warren vs. Antony Flew

Published on Jan 2, 2014

Date: September 20-23, 1976
Location: North Texas State University

Christian debater: Thomas B. Warren
Atheist debater: Antony G.N. Flew

For Thomas Warren: http://www.warrenapologeticscenter.org/

______________________

Antony Flew and his conversion to theism

Uploaded on Aug 12, 2011

Antony Flew, a well known spokesperson for atheism for several decades, changed his mind and turned from atheism to Deism. Professor Flew, who was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Reading, has given clear reasons why he made that transition. These reasons have been presented briefly in this compilation.

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The Bible and Science (Part 01)

Discussion (1 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas

Uploaded on Sep 22, 2010

A discussion with Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas. This was held at Westminster Chapel March, 2008

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Moral Implications of Atheism – Kyle Butt

Quotes William Provine, Dan Barker, Charles Darwin,Peter Singer, James Rachels, Eric R. Pianka,  Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris

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Ricky Gervais act outs atheist bewilderment and frustration in the face of nice Christian nonsense

Uploaded on Jan 20, 2010

Scene from Extras series one, “Kate Winslet”, in a conversation all atheists will recognise only too well.

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Is There a God? William Lane Craig vs Victor J. Stenger (University of Hawaii, 2003)

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During the 1990′s I actually made it a practice to write famous atheists and scientists that were mentioned by Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer and challenge them with the evidence for the Bible’s historicity and the claims of the gospel. Usually I would send them a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers’ messages “6 reasons I know the Bible is True,” “The Final Judgement,” “Who is Jesus?” and the message by Bill Elliff, “How to get a pure heart.”  I would also send them printed material from the works of Francis Schaeffer and a personal apologetic letter from me addressing some of the issues in their work. My second cassette tape that I sent to both Antony Flew and George Wald was Adrian Rogers’ sermon on evolution.  This cassette included the George Wald quoted mentioned in Flew’s last book. Did Antony Flew include George Wald quote after listening to cassette tape I sent him in late 1990s?

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Photo of Pastor Adrian Rogers Memorial Tribute

Below is the video of Rogers’ sermon on Evolution.

Check out this short article by Adrian Rogers:

I think that Antony Flew may have pondered this quote from George Wald which was in Adrian Rogers’ sermon.

Dr. George Wald of Harvard:

“When it comes to the origin of life, we have only two possibilities as to how life arose. One is spontaneous generation arising to evolution; the other is a supernatural creative act of God. There is no third possibility…Spontaneous generation was scientifically disproved one hundred years ago by Louis Pasteur, Spellanzani, Reddy and others. That leads us scientifically to only one possible conclusion — that life arose as a supernatural creative act of God…I will not accept that philosophically because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generationarising to evolution.” – Scientific American, August, 1954.

Adrian Rogers said the lack of an  answer for the  origin of life was a big reason Rogers rejected evolution.  Rogers noted, “Evolution offers no answers to the origin of life. It simply pushes the question farther back in time, back to some primordial event in space or an act of spontaneous generation in which life simply sprang from nothing.”

I actually had the chance to correspond with George Wald twice before his death. He wrote me two letters and in the first one he suggested that he was just using hyperbole when he made the assertion that is quoted by Dr. Rogers. He also suggested the religion of Buddhism although he said he was not a Buddhist himself, but he thought that would be closest to the truth which he thought was atheism. This does seem to contradict what Flew says of Wald’s views in the 1990’s. Flew contended concerning Wald:

In later years, he concluded that a preexisting mind, which he posits as the matrix of physical reality, composed a physical universe that breeds life: ‘the stuff of which physical reality is constructed is mind-stuff. It is mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life…’ 

In my letters to both Wald and Flew in the 1990’s I demonstrated that  there is evidence that points to the fact that the Bible is historically true as Schaeffer pointed out in episode 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACEThere is a basis then for faith in Christ alone for our eternal hope. This link shows how to do that.

Fortunately some modern philosophers and scientists are starting to wake up and realize that materialistic chance evolution was not responsible for the origin of the universe but it was started by a Divine Mind. In fact, Antony Flew who was probably the most famous atheist of the 20th century took time to read several letters I sent him the 1990’s which included much material from Francis Schaeffer and he listened to several cassette tapes I sent him from Adrian Rogers and then in 2004 he reversed his view that this world came about through evolution and he left his atheism behind and  because a theist.  I still have several of the letters that Dr. Flew wrote back to me and I will be posting them later on my blog at some point. One of the letters I got back in 1994 said specifically that he enjoyed listening to whole cassette tape.

This fine article below was written two years before Antony Flew’s death in 2010. In Flew’s book THERE IS A GOD he quotes George Wald as saying, “We choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance.”

A short summary of the book, THERE IS A GOD (how the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind) in which Antony Flew explains why he changed his mind.

There Is A God  (How The World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind)

BOOK REVIEW: There is a God (How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind)

“Following the evidence wherever it may lead”42

Antony Flew became an atheist at the age of 15. He has been a champion of atheism for over six decades, has held positions at Oxford and the University of Keele and has published thirty-five works.

To the surprise of many, in 2007 Flew published his book entitled: “There is a God (How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind)”.

Flew writes, “I have embraced since the beginning of my philosophical life – (the principle) of following the argument no matter where it leads.”75 Following the argument has led Antony Flew to conclude “I now believe there is a God!”1 (Words in bracket added.)

Richard Dawkins’ comical effort to explain the origin of life – ‘it’s game over!’

In an interview with Dr. Benjamin Wikera, Flew commented on Richard Dawkins’ comical effort to argue in ‘The God Delusion’ that the origin of life can be attributed to a lucky chance.  “If that’s the best argument you have, then the game is over. No, I did not hear a Voice. It was the evidence itself that led me to this conclusion.”a

“We choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance”131

(Flew also cited the Nobel Prize-winning physiologist George Wald who made the above comment.)

Flew was persuaded by the argument that showed the absolute impossibility of producing a Shakespearean sonnet (let alone a living thing) using time and chance.b Flew writes “ … it’s simply absurd to suggest that the more elaborate feat of the origin of life could have been achieved by chance”. 78

DNA – “looked to me like the work of intelligence”75

When Flew looked at the extraordinary complexity and subtlety of the workings of DNA, he concluded “it looked to me like the work of intelligence. … What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinary diverse elements to work together”. 75

When Flew mentions the DNA material, he is referring to the massive increase in our knowledge of DNA over the last 50 years.

Brilliant modern day scientists – not all hardened atheists!

There is sometimes a false perception that the only position for any modern, logical thinking scientist is one of disbelief in the existence of God. The author of this article once had this false idea. The below scientists may not have believed in the God of the Bible but they did believe there was a God.

To the question “Who wrote the laws of nature?” Flew answers, “This is certainly the question that scientists from Newton to Einstein to Heisenberg have asked – and answered. Their answer was the Mind of God.”96

Albert Einstein – humble in the face of a vastly superior spirit
“Every one who is seriously engaged in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that the laws of nature manifest the existence of a spirit vastly superior to that of men, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”102

Stephen Hawking – the Mind of God
“… We shall all … be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we should know the mind of God.”97

[Sadly, Stephen Hawking has now concluded that the ‘mind of God’ is no longer required and that the universe can supposedly create itself from nothing!]

Werner Heisenberg – science and religion pointing to the same reality
“In the course of my life I have repeatedly been compelled to ponder on the relationship of these two regions of thought [science and religion], for I have never been able to doubt the reality of that to which they point.”103

Paul Dirac – ‘God is a mathematician of a very high order’
“God is a mathematician of a very high order and He used advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.”105

Erwin Schrodinger – science is deficient … it knows nothing of good, God or beauty
“The scientific picture of the world around me is very deficient … It knows nothing of beauty and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously. Science is reticent too when it is a question of the great Unity of which we somehow form a part, to which we belong. The most popular name for it in our time is God, with a capital “G”.104

Max Plank – science and religion fighting the incessant battle against skepticism
“There can never be any real opposition between religion and science; for one is the compliment of the other.”105

“Religion and natural science are fighting a joint battle in an incessant, never relaxing crusade against skepticism … against unbelief and superstition … [and therefore] ‘On to God!’”105

Scientists know about the reality of invisible things

These brilliant modern-day scientists (Einstein, Hawking, Heisenberg, Dirac, Schrodinger and Plank) were all well accustomed with demonstrating that invisible things were a reality.

Because of the consistency of the universe, these great scientists saw “a direct connection between their scientific work and their affirmation of a “superior mind,” the Mind of God.”c To these scientists, God who is invisible, was a reality. They may not have all believed in a personal God with whom they could communicate but they did believe there was a God who was real.

What Antony Flew believes

“I now believe that the universe was bought into existence by an infinite Intelligence. I believe that this universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source.”88

“The design that is apparent in nature suggests the existence of a cosmic Designer” … “I have since come to see … a persuasive case for the existence of God.”95

“The only satisfactory explanation for the origin of such ‘end-directed, self-replicating’ life as we see on earth is an infinitely intelligent Mind.”132

‘The endemic evil of dogmatic atheism’

“And in this, it seems to me, lies the peculiar danger, the endemic evil, of dogmatic atheism. Take such utterances as ‘We should not ask for an explanation of how it is that the world exists; it is here and that’s all’ or “Since we cannot accept a transcendent source of life, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance from matter” or “The laws of physics are ‘lawless laws’ that arise from the void – end of the discussion.”

“They look at first sight like rational arguments that have a special authority because they have a no-nonsense air about them. Of course, this is no more a sign that they are either rational or arguments.”86

Christianity is the one to beat!

Although Antony Flew does not claim to be a Christian, he is very sympathetic towards Christianity.

He writes, “As I have said more than once, 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!”157

We urge you to get to know the true living God

If you have concluded in your mind that God exists, we urge you come to know the only true living God. The only way the Bible says you can do this is through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to God.

Come to know the Creator

References

a In a desperate attempt to override the very powerful argument that life could never arise by chance, Richard Dawkins conjectures that “If the odds of life originating spontaneously on a planet were a billion to one against …” (The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins, Bantam Press, London, page 138.)

A billion to one is only 1 in 10 raised to the power of 9. BUT the probability of even one single protein molecule consisting of 200 amino acids arising spontaneously by chance is 1 in 10 raised to the power of 260. This is calculated by raising 20 (the number of different types amino acids available) to the power of 200 (the number of amino acids in the protein chain).

Even if the whole universe was packed with amino acids combining frantically for billions of years, it would not produce even one such protein molecule let alone produce a living cell!

The chance of producing a Shakespearean sonnet by chance is 26 (number of letters in the alphabet) raised to the power of 488 (number of letters in a sonnet) which equals 10 to the power of 690. If the whole universe was packed with typewriters frantically typing out letters for billions of years, not even one such Shakespearean sonnet would be produced.

c From the preface (page XXIII) of “There is a God”. Preface is written by Roy Abraham Varghese.

All numbers noted are page numbers from the book: “There is a God: How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind” written by Antony Flew (with Roy Abraham Varghese), Harper One Publications, New York, 2007. All quotes in italics are directly from Antony Flew’s book.

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ANTONY FLEW’S SIGNIFICANCE IN THE HISTORY OF ATHEISM by Roy Abraham Varghese

________________ ________ Antony Flew – World’s Most Famous Atheist Accepts Existence of God Uploaded on Nov 28, 2008 Has Science Discovered God? A half-century ago, in 1955, Professor Antony Flew set the agenda for modern atheism with his Theology and Falsification, a paper presented in a debate with C.S. Lewis. This work became the most […]

Antony Flew did not make a public profession of faith in Christ but will his conversion from atheism to theism have an impact?

____________ Jesus’ Resurrection: Atheist, Antony Flew, and Theist, Gary Habermas, Dialogue Published on Apr 7, 2012 http://www.veritas.org/talks – Did Jesus die, was he buried, and what happened afterward? Join legendary atheist Antony Flew and Christian historian and apologist Gary Habermas in a discussion about the facts surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Join the […]

Concerning the book THERE IS A GOD Antony Flew stated, “This is my book and it represents my thinking!

_______ ________ Does God Exist?: William Lane Craig vs Antony Flew Uploaded on Dec 16, 2010 http://drcraigvideos.blogspot.com – William Lane Craig and Antony Flew met in 1998 on the 50th anniversary of the famous Copleston/Russell debate to discuss the question of God’s existence in a public debate. Unlike Richard Dawkins, Flew was one of the most […]

Bill Muehlenberg’s review of “There Is a God” By Antony Flew

_________________   Antony Flew on God and Atheism Published on Feb 11, 2013 Lee Strobel interviews philosopher and scholar Antony Flew on his conversion from atheism to deism. Much of it has to do with intelligent design. Flew was considered one of the most influential and important thinker for atheism during his time before his […]

Former Atheist Antony Flew noted that Evolutionists failed to show “Where did a living, self-reproducing organism come from in the first place?”

____   Does God Exist? Thomas Warren vs. Antony Flew Published on Jan 2, 2014 Date: September 20-23, 1976 Location: North Texas State University Christian debater: Thomas B. Warren Atheist debater: Antony G.N. Flew For Thomas Warren: http://www.warrenapologeticscenter.org/ ______________________ Antony Flew and his conversion to theism Uploaded on Aug 12, 2011 Antony Flew, a well known […]

Educated Scholars like Antony Flew can believe in God!!!

__________ Discussion (1 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas Uploaded on Sep 22, 2010 A discussion with Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas. This was held at Westminster Chapel March, 2008 Debate – William Lane Craig vs Christopher Hitchens – Does God Exist? Uploaded on Jan 27, 2011 April 4, 2009 – Craig […]

Antony Flew rightly noted that Richard Dawkins’ “monkey theorem was a load of rubbish”

________   William Lane Craig versus Eddie Tabash Debate Uploaded on Feb 6, 2012 Secular Humanism versus Christianity, Lawyer versus Theologian. Evangelical Christian apologist William Lane Craig debates humanist atheist lawyer Eddie Tabash at Pepperdine University, February 8, 1999. Visit http://www.Infidels.org andhttp://www.WilliamLaneCraig.com ________________ Antony Flew on God and Atheism Published on Feb 11, 2013 Lee […]

Article from 2005 indicated Antony Flew abandoned atheism because of Law of Biogenesis!!!!

___________   Does God Exist? Thomas Warren vs. Antony Flew Published on Jan 2, 2014 Date: September 20-23, 1976 Location: North Texas State University Christian debater: Thomas B. Warren Atheist debater: Antony G.N. Flew For Thomas Warren: http://www.warrenapologeticscenter.org/ ______________________ Antony Flew and his conversion to theism Uploaded on Aug 12, 2011 Antony Flew, a well known […]

The Christian influence on society is real and that is one of the reasons Antony Flew left Atheism!!!

_____________ Antony Flew on God and Atheism Published on Feb 11, 2013 Lee Strobel interviews philosopher and scholar Antony Flew on his conversion from atheism to deism. Much of it has to do with intelligent design. Flew was considered one of the most influential and important thinker for atheism during his time before his death […]

Antony Flew, George Wald and David Noebel on the Origin of Life

___________ Does God Exist?: William Lane Craig vs Antony Flew Uploaded on Dec 16, 2010 http://drcraigvideos.blogspot.com – William Lane Craig and Antony Flew met in 1998 on the 50th anniversary of the famous Copleston/Russell debate to discuss the question of God’s existence in a public debate. Unlike Richard Dawkins, Flew was one of the most respected […]

Gary Habermas explains the reasons for Antony Flew’s change of mind

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Antony Flew on God and Atheism

Published on Feb 11, 2013

Lee Strobel interviews philosopher and scholar Antony Flew on his conversion from atheism to deism. Much of it has to do with intelligent design. Flew was considered one of the most influential and important thinker for atheism during his time before his death (he’s a much better thinker than Richard Dawkins too – even when he was an atheist). His conversion to God-belief has caused an uproar among atheists. They have done all they can to lessen the impact of his famous conversion by shamelessly suggesting he’s too old, senile and mentally deranged to understand logic and science anymore.

News on Antony Flew’s conversion:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1e4FU…

Interview and discussion with Antony Flew:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53REH…

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Does Belief in God Make Sense in Light of Tsunamis? William Lane Craig vs. A.C. Grayling

Published on Aug 14, 2013

Date: 2005
Location: Oxford Union, University of Oxford (audio replayed July 5, 2011 on Unbelievable? Premier Christian Radio)

Christian debater: William Lane Craig
[New] Atheist debater: A.C. Grayling

For William Lane Craig: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/
For A.C. Grayling: http://www.acgrayling.com/
To purchase this debate: http://apps.biola.edu/apologetics-sto…

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The Kalam Cosmological Argument (Scientific Evidence) (Henry Schaefer, PhD)

Published on Jun 11, 2012

Scientist Dr. Henry “Fritz” Schaefer gives a lecture on the cosmological argument and shows how contemporary science backs it up.

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Discussion (1 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas

Uploaded on Sep 22, 2010

A discussion with Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas. This was held at Westminster Chapel March, 2008

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During the 1990′s I actually made it a practice to write famous atheists and scientists that were mentioned by Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer and challenge them with the evidence for the Bible’s historicity and the claims of the gospel. Usually I would send them a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers’ messages “6 reasons I know the Bible is True,” “The Final Judgement,” “Who is Jesus?” and the message by Bill Elliff, “How to get a pure heart.” I would also send them printed material from the works of Francis Schaeffer and a personal apologetic letter from me addressing some of the issues in their work.

The famous atheist Antony Flew was actually took the time to listen to several of these messages and he wrote me back in the mid 1990′s several times.

Gary Habermas does a great job below of quoting Flew’s own words and documenting the reasons Flew left atheism.

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Antony Flew’s Deism Revisited

Antony Flew’s Deism Revisited

There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His MindA Review Essay on There Is a God

Gary Habermas
Department of Philosophy and Theology
Liberty University
Lynchburg, Virginia


There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. By Antony Flew and Roy Abraham Varghese. New York: HarperCollins, 2007. 256 pages. $24.95.

When preeminent philosophical atheist Antony Flew announced in 2004 that he had come to believe in God’s existence and was probably best considered a deist, the reaction from both believers and skeptics was “off the chart.” Few religious stories had this sort of appeal and impact, across the spectrum, both popular as well as theoretical.  No recent change of mind has received this much attention. Flew responded by protesting that his story really did not deserve this much interest. But as he explained repeatedly, he simply had to go where the evidence led.

Some Background

It was this last sentence, repeated often in interviews, that really interested me. Having known Tony well over more than twenty years, I had heard him repeat many things like it, as well as other comments that might be termed “open minded.” He had insisted that he was open to God’s existence, to special revelation, to miracles, to an afterlife, or to David Hume being in error on this or that particular point. To be truthful, I tended to set aside his comments, thinking that while they were made honestly, perhaps Tony still was not as open as he had thought.

Then very early in 2003 Tony indicated to me that he was considering theism, backing off a few weeks later and saying that he remained an atheist with “big questions.” One year later, in January 2004, Tony told me that he had indeed become a theist, just as quickly adding, however, that he was “not the revelatory kind” of believer. That was when I heard him say for the first time that he was just following where the evidence led. Then I remembered all the earlier occasions when he had insisted that he was not objecting to God or the supernatural realm on a priori grounds. I was amazed. Tony was indeed willing to consider the evidence!

There was an immediate outcry from many in the skeptical community. Perhaps Tony Flew was simply too old, or had not kept up on the relevant literature. The presumption seemed to be that, if he had been doing so, then he would not have experienced such a change of mind. One joke quipped that, at his advanced age, maybe he was just hedging his bets in favor of an afterlife!

One persistent rumor was that Tony Flew really did not believe in God after all. Or perhaps he had already recanted his mistake. Paul Kurtz’s foreword to the republication of Flew’s classic volume God and Philosophy identified me as “an evangelical Christian philosopher at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University,” noting my interview with Flew and my “interpretation” that Tony now believed in God.[1] Kurtz seemed to think that perhaps the question still remained as to whether Flew believed in God. After explaining that Flew’s “final introduction” to the reissued volume had undergone the process of four drafts, Kurtz concluded that readers should “decide whether or not he has abandoned his earlier views.”[2]

In his introduction to this same text, Flew both raised at least a half-dozen new issues since his book had first appeared in 1966, as well as mentioning questions about each of these subjects. Included were discussions on contemporary cosmology, fine-tuning arguments, some thoughts regarding Darwin’s work, reflections on Aristotle’s view of God, as well as Richard Swinburne’s many volumes on God and Christian theism. Hints of theism were interspersed alongside some tough questions.[3]

Of course, book text must be completed well before the actual date of publication. But several news articles had appeared earlier, telling the story of what Flew referred to as his “conversion.”[4] Early in 2005, my lengthier interview with Flew was published in Philosophia Christi.[5] Another excellent interview was conducted by Jim Beverly, in which Flew also evaluated the influence of several major Christian philosophers.[6]

In many of these venues, Flew explained in his own words that he was chiefly persuaded to abandon atheism because of Aristotle’s writings about God and due to a number of arguments that are often associated with Intelligent Design. But his brand of theism – or better yet, deism[7] – was not a variety that admitted special revelation, including either miracles or an afterlife. While he acknowledged most of the traditional attributes for God, he stopped short of affirming any divine involvement with humans.

Along the way, Flew made several very positive comments about Christianity, and about Jesus, in particular. Jesus was a first rate moral philosopher, as well as a preeminent charismatic personality, while Paul had a brilliant philosophical mind. While rejecting miracles, Flew held that the resurrection is the best-attested miracle-claim in history.[8]

It is against this background that we turn to the latest chapter in the ongoing account of Antony Flew’s pilgrimage from ardent atheism to deism. Further clarifying his religious views, especially for those who might have thought that the initial report was too hasty, or suspected incorrect reporting, or later backtracking on Flew’s part, the former atheistic philosopher has now elucidated his position. In a new book that is due to be released before the end of the year, Flew chronicles the entire story of his professional career, from atheism to deism, including more specific reasons for his change. Along the way, several new aspects have been added.

Discussion (2 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas

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Antony Flew’s Influence

Signifying his change of view, the cover of Flew’s new book cleverly reads, “There Is No God,” but the word “No” is scribbled out and the word “A” is handwritten above it. Flew terms this work his “last will and testament,” noting that the subtitle “was not my own invention” (1).[9] The contents are nothing short of a treasure trove of details from Flew’s life, including his family, education, publications, and interactions with many now world-famous philosophers, not to mention the long-awaited reasons for his becoming a deist.

The volume begins with a preface written by Roy Varghese,[10] followed by an introduction by Flew. Part 1, “My Denial of the Divine,” contains three chapters on Flew’s previous atheism.

The book opens with a reverberating bang. Varghese’s eighteen-page preface sets the tone for much of the remainder of the text. He begins with the breaking news in late 2004 of Antony Flew’s newly-announced belief in God. Varghese then notes that

the response to the AP story from Flew’s fellow atheists verged on hysteria. . . . Inane insults and juvenile caricatures were common in the freethinking blogosphere. The same people who complained about the Inquisition and witches being burned at the stake were now enjoying a little heresy hunting of their own. The advocates of tolerance were not themselves very tolerant. And, apparently, religious zealots don’t have a monopoly on dogmatism, incivility, fanaticism, and paranoia. (vii – viii)

Varghese ends by stating that, “Flew’s position in the history of atheism transcends anything that today’s atheists have on offer” (viii).

This last comment serves as an entree to two of the more interesting arguments in the book. Considering Flew’s impact in the history of modern atheism, Varghese argues initially that, “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 Antony Flew’s fifty years of antitheological writings” (ix). He then considers the contributions to atheism produced by well-known philosophers such as A. J. Ayer, Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Martin Heidegger. Varghese finds that none of these scholars “took the step of developing book-length arguments to support their personal beliefs” (x).

More recent writers are also mentioned, among them Richard Rorty, Jacques Derrida, J. L. Mackie, Paul Kurtz, and Michael Martin. While they might be said to have contributed more material on behalf of atheism, “their works did not change the agenda and framework of discussion the way Flew’s innovative publications did” (x).

But Flew’s writings like “Theology and Falsification” (“the most widely reprinted philosophical publication of the last century” [vi – vii]), God and Philosophy, The Presumption of Atheism, and other publications set the philosophical tone of atheism for a generation of scholars. Along with Flew’s many other books and essays, one could hardly get through a contemporary philosophy class, especially in philosophy of religion, without being at least introduced to his theses.

Varghese also raises a second crucial topic in the history of twentieth-century philosophy – Flew’s relation to logical positivism. Many works treat Flew’s ideas, especially those in “Theology and Falsification,” as a more subtle, analytic outgrowth of positivism. Sometimes it is thought that Flew attempted to refurbish a less dogmatic application of the discredited verification principle, popularized by Ayer’s Language, Truth, and Logic.[11]

However, Flew did not interpret his essay in this manner. In 1990, he explained his thinking that logical positivism made an “arrogant announcement” that sought to rule out theology and ethics in an a priori manner. The resulting discussion had often become stagnated. Flew wanted to provide an opportunity for the free discussion of religious issues: “Let the believers speak for themselves, individually and severally” (xiii – xiv).

In an article in 2000, Flew explained that his purpose in first reading the paper at a meeting of C. S. Lewis’ Socratic Club, was that “I wanted to set these discussions off onto new and hopefully more fruitful lines.”[12] In another interview that I did with Tony in Oxford in 2005, Flew attested that he saw his essay as slamming the door on positivism at the Socratic Club. He attests that the purpose of his essay “was intended to simply refute the positivistic stance against religious utterances. It succeeded in that, but then its influence spread outside of Oxford.”[13]

These two topics – Flew’s influence on the philosophical atheism of the second half of the twentieth century and his purpose in first presenting his essay “Theology and Falsification” – are key chapters in the life of this major British philosopher. Varghese does well to remind us of Flew’s influence. As he concludes, it is in this context that “Flew’s recent rejection of atheism was clearly a historic event” (xi).

Flew then begins the remainder of the book with an introduction. Referring to his “conversion” from atheism to deism, he begins by affirming clearly that, “I now believe there is a God!” (1). As for those detractors who blamed this on Flew’s “advanced age” and spoke of a sort of “deathbed conversion,” Flew reiterates what he has said all along: he still rejects the afterlife and is not placing any “Pascalian bets” (2).

In a couple stunning comments, Flew then reminds his readers that he had changed his mind on other major issues throughout his career. He states, “I was once a Marxist.” Then, more than twenty years ago, “I retracted my earlier view that all human choices are determined entirely by physical causes” (3).

Discussion (3 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas

The Making of an Atheist

Part 1 (“My Denial of the Divine”) consists of three chapters, intriguingly titled, “The Creation of an Atheist,” “Where the Evidence Leads,” and “Atheism Calmly Considered.” This material is simply a delightful read, consisting of many autobiographical details regarding Flew’s career and research, along with many enjoyable as well as amusing anecdotes.

In chapter 1, Flew reviews his childhood and early life. This includes detailed references to his father: an Oxford University graduate, with two years of study at Marburg University in Germany, who had become a Methodist minister very much interested in evangelism, as well as a professor of New Testament at a theological college in Cambridge. It was from his father that Tony learned, at an early age, the value of good research and of checking relevant sources before conclusions are drawn.

Flew even stated in some of his atheist publications that he was never satisfied with the way that he had become an atheist – here described as a process that was accomplished “much too quickly, much too easily, and for what later seemed to me the wrong reasons.” Incredibly, he now reflects on his early theism that changed to atheism: “for nearly seventy years thereafter I never found grounds sufficient to warrant any fundamental reversal” (12 – 13). Nonetheless, it was an aspect of the problem of evil that affected Tony’s conversion to atheism. During family travels to Germany, he witnessed first hand some of the horrors of Nazi society and learned to detest “the twin evils of anti-Semitism and totalitarianism” (13 – 14).

Chapter 1 also includes accounts of Flew’s basically private education at a boarding school along with his years at Oxford University, interspersed with military service during World War II, as well as his “locking horns with C. S. Lewis” at Socratic Club meetings. He was present at the famous debate between Lewis and Elizabeth Anscombe in February, 1948 (22 – 4). Flew also met his wife Annis at Oxford. For all those (including myself) who have wondered through the years about Tony’s incredible notions of ethical responsibility, he states that while he had left his father’s faith, he retained his early ethics, reflected in his treatment of Annis before their marriage (25 – 6).

In Chapter 2 (“Where the Evidence Leads”), Flew reflects on his early tenure as “a hotly-energetic left-wing socialist” (33), and narrates his early philosophical interests: parapsychology, Darwinian social ethics and the notion of evolutionary progress, problems with idealism, and analytic philosophy. More details on the Socratic Club introduce some of the philosophical reactions to Flew’s “Theology and Falsification,” along with his writing of his epic God and Philosophy, his “systematic argument for atheism” (49). Flew discusses reactions from Richard Swinburne, J. L. Mackie, and Frederick Copleston. His conclusion today, as Tony has told me on several occasions, is that God and Philosophy is “a historical relic,” due to changes in his thinking which arose from other’s response to his writing. These changes are set forth in this volume (52).

Flew also discusses in chapter 2 his well-known volumes The Presumption of Atheism and Hume’s Philosophy of Belief. Philosophical reactions are recounted from Anthony Kenny, Kai Nielson, Ralph McInerny, and especially Alvin Plantinga, whose thoughts Flew calls, “By far, the headiest challenge to the argument” of the former volume (55). The chapter concludes with Flew’s changes of mind regarding some of Hume’s ideas, plus his holding and then abandoning compatibilism (56 – 64).

Ending his section on his atheism, Flew’s third chapter is “Atheism Calmly Considered.” Here he notes a number of his debates and dialogues over the years, both public and written, with Thomas Warren, William Lane Craig, Terry Miethe, Richard Swinburne, Richard Dawkins, and myself. Two conferences are also mentioned. The first (“The Shootout at the O.K. Corral”) occurred in Dallas, Texas, in 1985 and featured four prominent atheistic philosophers, playfully called “gunslingers” (Flew, Paul Kurtz, Wallace Matson, and Kai Nielson) dueling with four equally prominent theistic philosophers (Alvin Plantinga, Ralph McInerny, George Mavrodes, and William Alston). The second conference at New York University in 2004 notably included Scottish philosopher John Haldane and Israeli physicist Gerald Schroeder. Here Flew stunned the participants by announcing that he had come to believe in God (74).

There Is a God

The second half of the book consists of the long-awaited reasons for Flew’s conversion to deism, titled “My Discovery of the Divine.” It includes seven chapters on Flew’s religious pilgrimage, along with the nature of the universe and life. Two appendices complete the volume.

“A Pilgrimage of Reason” (chapter 4), is the initial contribution to this section. In this essay, Flew chiefly makes the crucial point that his approach to God’s existence has been philosophical, not scientific. As he notes, “My critics responded by triumphantly announcing that I had not read a particular paper in a scientific journal or followed a brand-new development relating to abiogenesis.” But in so doing, “they missed the whole point.” Flew’s conversion was due to philosophical arguments, not scientific ones: “To think at this level is to think as a philosopher. And, at the risk of sounding immodest, I must say that this is properly the job of philosophers, not of the scientists as scientists” (90).

Thus, if scientists want to get into the fray, they “will have to stand on their own two philosophical feet” (90). Similarly, “a scientist who speaks as a philosopher will have to furnish a philosophical case. As Albert Einstein himself said, “?The man of science is a poor philosopher'” (91). Flew ends the chapter by pointing out that it is Aristotle who most exemplifies his search: “I was persuaded above all by the philosopher David Conway’s argument for God’s existence” drawn from “the God of Aristotle” (92).

The fifth chapter, “Who Wrote the Laws of Nature?” discusses the views of many major scientists, including Einstein and Hawking, along with philosophers like Swinburne and Plantinga, to argue that there is a connection between the laws of nature and the “Mind of God” (103). Flew thinks that this is still a philosophical discussion. As Paul Davies asserted in his Templeton address, “science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview,” because, “even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith the existence of a lawlike order in nature that is at least in part comprehensible to us” (107). The existence of these laws must be explained. Flew concludes that many contemporary thinkers “propound a vision of reality that emerges from the conceptual heart of modern science and imposes itself on the rational mind. It is a vision that I personally find compelling and irrefutable” (112).

Chapter 6 (“Did the Universe Know We Were Coming?”) discusses fine-tuning arguments and the multiverse option as another angle on the laws of nature. Among the opponents of the multiverse option, Flew lists Davies, Swinburne, and himself, in part because it simply extends the questions of life and nature’s laws (119). Regardless, Flew concludes, “So multiverse or not, we still have to come to terms with the origins of the laws of nature. And the only viable explanation here is the divine Mind” (121).

Chapter 7 (“How Did Life Go Live?”) continues what Flew insists is a philosophical rather than a scientific discussion of items that are relevant to God’s existence. He discusses at least three chief issues: how there can be fully materialistic explanations for the emergence of life, the problem of reproduction at the very beginning, and DNA. Although science has not concluded these matters either, they are answering questions that are different from the philosophical issues that Flew is addressing (129). Flew concludes by agreeing with George Wald that, “The only satisfactory explanation for the origin of such ?end-directed, self replicating’ life as we see on earth is an infinitely intelligent Mind” (132).

In the title of chapter 8, Flew asks, “Did Something Come from Nothing?” In spite of our twenty years of friendship, I was still not prepared to see Tony developing and defending a cosmological argument for God’s existence! In an essay published back in 1994, Flew had raised questions about David Hume’s philosophy and its inability to explain causation or the laws of nature (139). Then, works by philosophers David Conway and Richard Swinburne convinced him that Hume could be answered on the cosmological argument, as well. Buoyed by these refutations of Hume, Flew was now free to explore the relation between a cosmological argument for God’s existence and recent discussions regarding the beginning of the universe. Flew concludes that, “Richard Swinburne’s cosmological argument provides a very promising explanation, probably the finally right one” (145).

In chapter 9, “Finding Space for God,” Flew begins with his long-time objection to God, that a concept of “an incorporeal omnipresent Spirit” is incoherent – something analogous to talking about a “person without a body” (148). But through the 1980s and 1990s, theistic philosophers in the analytic tradition enjoyed a renaissance. Two of these, David Tracy and Brian Leftow (who succeeded Swinburne at Oxford), answered Flew’s questions. Flew now concedes that the concept of an omnipresent Spirit outside space and time is not intrinsically incoherent (153 – 4).

In “Open to Omnipotence” (chapter 10), Flew summarizes that his case for God’s existence centers on three philosophical items – the origin of the laws of nature, the organization of life, and the origin of life. What about the problem of evil? Flew states that this a separate question, but he had two chief options – an Aristotelian God who does not interfere in the world or the free-will defense. He prefers the former, especially since he thinks the latter relies on special revelation (156).

Closing the main portion of the book with some further shocking comments, Flew states, “I am entirely open to learning more about the divine Reality,” including “whether the Divine has revealed itself in human history” (156 – 7). The reason: Everything but the logically impossible is “open to omnipotence” (157).

Further, “As I have said more than once, 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!” (157; see also 185 – 6). He ends the chapter a few sentences later: “Some claim to have made contact with this Mind. I have not – yet. But who knows what could happen next? Some day I might hear a Voice that says, ?Can you hear me now?'” (158).

Two appendices close the book. The first is an evaluation of the “New Atheism” of writers like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris. The author of the first appendix, Roy Varghese, argues that “five phenomena are evident in our immediate experience that can only be explained in terms of the existence of God” (161). These five are rationality, life, consciousness, conceptual thought, and the human self, each of which is discussed. Varghese concludes that by arguing from “everyday experience” we are able to “become immediately aware that the world of living, conscious, thinking beings has to originate in a living Source, a Mind” (183).

The second appendix is an essay on the self-revelation of God, written by New Testament theologian N. T. Wright, with brief responses by Flew. Wright argues very succinctly that Jesus existed, was God incarnate, and rose from the dead (187 – 213). Flew precedes this treatment by commenting that though he does not believe the miracle of the resurrection, it “is more impressive than any by the religious competition” (186 – 7). Flew’s final reflection on Wright’s material is that it is an impressive argument – “absolutely wonderful, absolutely radical, and very powerful.” In the end, Flew remains open to divine revelation, since omnipotence could act in such a manner (213).

Comments

As I have indicated, Flew’s new book was a delightful read. This especially applies to the many autobiographical details. The intersection of his life with some of the best-known philosophers in the previous half century was nothing short of exhilarating.

It will be no surprise to anyone who has followed my published debates or dialogues with Tony that the clarification found in this volume was more than welcome. For one thing, many of his comments here were also made in our published dialogue in Philosophia Christi. Most of all, this book should clear up the rumors as to the nature of Tony’s “conversion.” He indeed believes in God, and while from the beginning rejecting special revelation along with any religious affiliation, his view of God’s nature is otherwise quite robust. Indeed, his deism includes most of the classical theological attributes. Further, Flew is also clear several times that he is open to special revelation. As Tony told me just recently, he “won’t shut the door” to the possibility of such revelation or even to hearing a word from the Deity.[14]

Of course, I predict that various skeptics will still have profound problems with the book’s content. They will not be satisfied with its proclamations. I can only imagine the nature of the complaints. If I am right about this, it may even confirm further Varghese’s charge of the vociferous nature of this community’s response to the original announcement (viii). If Varghese is also correct that Flew had produced the most vigorous defense of philosophical atheism in the last century, a guess is that some skeptics are still stung by the loss of their most prominent philosophical supporter.

I would like to have seen further clarification on a few issues in the book. For instance, it would have been very helpful if Tony had explained the precise sense in which he thought that “Theology and Falsification” was an attempt to curtail the growth of positivism. That has remained unclear to me. I, too, was taught that the article was a defense of an analytic position that only softened the force of the positivistic challenge.

Another potential question surrounds Tony’s excellent distinction between giving philosophical as opposed to scientific reasons for his belief in God. However, a discussion or chart that maps out the differences between the two methodological stances would have been very helpful. Philosophers are used to these distinctions. But I am sure that others will think that Tony is still providing two sorts of arguments for God: Aristotle plus scientific arguments like Intelligent Design scenarios.

As Tony has said several times in recent years, he remains open to the possibility of special revelation, miracles like Jesus’s resurrection, and the afterlife. In this volume he also continues to be very complimentary towards these options. I cannot pursue further this topic here. While mentioning evil and suffering, I did wonder about Tony’s juxtaposition of choosing either Aristotle’s deism or the free-will defense, which he thinks “depends on the prior acceptance of a framework of divine revelation” (156). It seems to me that the free-will defense neither asks nor requires any such revelatory commitment. So I think that it could be pursued by a deist, too. If so, that is one more potential defeater to the evil and suffering issue. I will leave it here for now.

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The Bible and Archaeology (1/5)

The Bible maintains several characteristics that prove it is from God. One of those is the fact that the Bible is accurate in every one of its details. The field of archaeology brings to light this amazing accuracy.

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Many people have questioned the accuracy of the Bible, but I have posted many videos and articles with evidence pointing out that the Bible has many pieces of evidence from archaeology supporting the view that the Bible is historically accurate. Take a look at the video above and below.

The Bible and Archaeology (2/5)

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Easter Morning April 24, 2011,List of posts on series: Is the Bible historically accurate? (Updated 1 through 14C)

“In Christ Alone” music video featuring scenes from “The Passion of the Christ”. It is sung by Lou Fellingham of Phatfish and the writer of the hymn is Stuart Townend. On this Easter Morning April 24, 2011 there is no other better time to take a look at the truth and accuracy of the Bible.  […]

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Prophecy–The Biblical Prophesy About Tyre.mp4 Uploaded by TruthIsLife7 on Dec 5, 2010 A short summary of the prophecy about Tyre and it’s precise fulfillment. Go to this link and watch the whole series for the amazing fulfillment from secular sources. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvt4mDZUefo ________________ John MacArthur on the amazing fulfilled prophecy on Tyre and how it was fulfilled […]

 

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I have posted many of the sermons by John MacArthur. He is a great bible teacher and this sermon below is another great message. His series on the Book of Proverbs was outstanding too.  I also have posted several of the visits MacArthur made to Larry King’s Show. One of two most popular posts I […]

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I have posted many of the sermons by John MacArthur. He is a great bible teacher and this sermon below is another great message. His series on the Book of Proverbs was outstanding too.  I also have posted several of the visits MacArthur made to Larry King’s Show. One of two most popular posts I […]

 

“Woody Wednesday” Discussing Woody Allen’s movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” and various other subjects with Ark Times Bloggers (Part 6) Judah ” I believe in God, Miriam. I know it… because without God the world is a cesspool”

_____________________________ Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 3 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 3 of 3: ‘Is Woody Allen A Romantic Or A Realist?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, Crimes and Misdemeanors, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras.http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca ______________ I have gone back and forth and back and forth with many liberals on the Arkansas Times […]

“Woody Wednesday” Discussing Woody Allen’s movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” and various other subjects with Ark Times Bloggers (Part 5) “Judah knew in his heart that God was watching his every move!!!”

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The finest article on Antony Flew’s long path from Atheism to Theism!!


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 This is the finest article yet I have read that traces Antony Flew’s long path from atheism to theism.

Among the world’s atheists there was hardly any with the intellectual stature of Anthony Flew.  He was a contemporary with C.S. Lewis and has been a thorn in the side of theists for more than fifty years.  Quite frankly Anthony Flew’s intellectual stature far transcends the squawking and loud atheists of today like Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Lewis Wolpert, Victor Stenger or Sam Harris.  These men couldn’t stand in the same room with Flew in true rigorous discussion.  I will have more on these loud mouths later, but I want to explore the recent book by Anthony Flew entitled There is A God (the A written over a scratched over NO).

First I wish to celebrate the intellect of Anthony Flew because it is to be admired for what path He put himself on that lead to God.   In his youth he adhered to the Socratic philosophy of “following the evidence wherever it leads.”  This is a powerful idea that most atheists would say that they adhere to, but actually fall far short on.  Many just follow the evidence to a pre-decided point and no further.

Anthony Flew was probably one of the most original thinkers in modern times in theological thinking or perhaps a-theological thinking.  In “Theology and Falsification”, God and Philosophy and The Presumption of Atheism he raised the question of how religious statements can make meaningful claims.  He claimed that no discussion of the concept of God can begin until the coherence of the concept of an omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent spirit had been established.  In The Presumption of Atheism he argued that the burden of proof rests with theism and the atheism is the default position.  It was this reorientation of the frames of reference that eventually changed the whole nature of discussion.  This changed discussion eventually also lead to a revitalized theism as well.

His Youth

Son of a Methodist minister he traveled to Germany, as a child, prior to WWII.  He remembers the banners and signs outside villages proclaiming “Jews not wanted here”.  He saw the march of thousands of brown shirts in Bavaria and saw squads of Waffen-SS in the black uniforms with the skull and crossbones.  This was the face of evil and powerfully spoke to him that such evil seemed to preclude an all loving and all powerful God.

Always an avid reader and with no predilection to anything religious the young Flew read science and philosophy and gradually drew away from his religious upbringing.  He tried to hide it from His parents, but after service in the War in 1946 the word got out to his parents that he had become an atheist.   A brilliant young man, Flew, attended Oxford University in 1942 and graduated with his undergraduate degree in the summer of 1947.  He passed with top honors and arranged to pursue post graduate work in philosophy and metaphysical philosophy.  During his time at Oxford Flew joined the Socratic Club at Oxford which was headed by C.S. Lewis.  He and Lewis locked horns more than once in this club and the Socratic principle of going where the evidence leads became even more important and had a surprising impact in Flew’s a theological thought that even set the stage for his future theism.

What Makes an Atheist?

I wish to inject a truth here about the cause of atheism in our culture and especially in our church culture.  Flew is a bit unusual in his atheism direction, but we can see how the church still failed him in this though he never points out that truth.  He steps all around that truth saying that the church and religion held no interest for him and that very statement holds a profound truth.  In the preface of the book is a statement from Katharine Tait, Bertrand Russell’s daughter, from her book My Father, Bertrand Russell.  She indicated that her father would not even talk to her about religion or Christianity, which Katharine had accepted.  She said: “I could not even talk to him about religion.” Page XX.  She states later: “I would have liked to convince my father that I had found what he had been looking for, the ineffable something he had longed for all his life.  I would have liked to persuade him that the search for God does not have to be in vain.  But it was hopeless.  He had known too many blind Christians, bleak moralists who sucked the joy from life and persecuted their opponents; he would never have been able to see the truth they were hiding.” Page XXI

This is a stunning truth that I have seen in my personal debates with atheists and that I have seen in writings of some atheists.  It is that Christians in a mistaken legalistic, judgmental attitude have more to do with engendering and creating atheism than perhaps the secular humanism and the other faith killing philosophies.  Many atheists are atheists because of some encounter with a Christian somewhere that hammered the life out of them and hid the glory of a Lord who loved them.  We need to look at ourselves and become the person Jesus wants the world to really see.

Anthony Flew’s Early Impact

Flew’s first target in his incisive logic was not theology, but rather an atheistic philosophy called logical positivism.  Logical positivism was introduced by a European group called the Vienna Circle and was popularized by A. J. Ayer in his 1936 book Language, Truth and Logic.  Logical Positivists believed any statement that was truly meaningful were statements that could be only verified through the sense experience or were true simply by their form and the meaning of the words used.  This meant that a statement was only meaningful if it could be verified as true or false by empirical observations or science.   This resulted in only statements that were true or verified were statements used in science, logic or mathematics.

Anthony Flow considered his paper Theology and Falsification to be the final argument that sealed the fate of logical positivism.   In 1990 Flew stated:

“As an undergraduate I had become increasingly frustrated and exasperated by philosophical debates which always seemed to revert to, and never to move forward from, the logical positivism most brilliantly expounded in . . . Language, Truth and Logic. . . The intentions in both these papers (the versions of “Theology and Falsification” first presented in the Socratic Club and then published in University) was the same.  Instead of an arrogant announcement that everything which any believer might choose to say it to be ruled out of consideration a priori as allegedly constituting a violation of the supposedly sacrosanct verification principle – here curiously maintained as a secular revelation – I preferred to offer a more restrained challenge.  Let the believers speak for themselves, individually and severally.”  Page XIV

I will have to say that Flew’s thinking that logical positivism was utterly defeated is a little premature as the “New Atheism” has brought forth the logical positivism redux in all its illogical and arrogant glory.  Even A. J. Ayers has long abandoned logical positivism as anything worth a philosophical breath.  But is appears the new atheists have revived this errant philosophy to use in their tomes of unreason and illogic.

50 Years an Atheist

I would have to say that Anthony Flew, while a thorn in the side of Theology, with his impeccable and incisive logic and honorable ways was actually a worthy opponent as well.  His life was spent in many and varied places and his academic career spanned the continents.  The list of academic organizations at which Flew was a professor is simply astounding.  First was the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, he then became professor of philosophy at the University College of North Staffordshire.  Later he joined the philosophy department of the University of Keele and then moved to the University of Calgary in Alberta Canada.  He joined the University of Reading until the end of 1982, took an early retirement and taught at York University of Toronto.  Half way through that assignment he resigned and joined Bowling Green State University to be a part of the Social Philosophy and Policy Center for the next three years.  Three years later he retired and lives today in Reading.  It was a very long and distinguished career.

Following the Evidence

As I mentioned before the Socratic principle of following the evidence where it leads was a guiding principle of Anthony Flew and to his credit this principle lead him into many changes.  In 1966 Flew published God and Philosophy where he attempted to present a case for Christian theism where he challenged the theists to come up with a better idea.  Since that time many theists have done just that and in “following the evidence” Flew also changed his views.  He later stated: “What do I think about today about the arguments laid out in God and Philosophy?  In a 2004 letter toPhilosophy Now, I observed that I now consider God and Philosophy to be a historic relic (but of course, one cannot follow the evidence where it leads without giving others the chance to show you new perspectives you had not fully considered).” Page 52

Flew first looked at the concept of free will and determinism as propounded by Hume as the free will defense had often been put forth with the atheist “problem of evil” argument.  He tried to maintain a position that even though man could have a will that appeared free, he believed that the free choices were physically caused.  He called this system a compatibilism and later rejected this view by examining the idea of Hume’s causes.  Hume failed to properly understand the freedom of an independent person to make a choice that was not physically dependent on anything else.  Flew defined three notions of identity, one is being an agent, two is having a choice and three is being able to do something other than what we actually do.  This necessitated a distinction between the ideas of movings and motions that can explain the equally fundamental concept of action.  He states: “The nerve of the distinction between the movings involved in an action and the motions that constitute necessitated behavior is that the latter behavior is physically necessitated, whereas the sense, the direction, and the character of actions as such are that, as a matter of logic, they necessarily cannot be physically necessitated (and as a matter of brute face, they are not).  It therefore becomes impossible to maintain the doctrine of universal physically necessitating determinism, the doctrine that says all movement in the universe – including every human bodily movement, the movings as well as motions – area determined by physically necessitating physical causes.” Page 64 – 65   Flew viewed this philosophical change as just as radical as any change he made on the question of God.

Flew was one of the heavy hitters in the atheist world and in 2004 he made the change from atheism to theism, that rocked that world profoundly.  It was not a sudden change, but as presented above, a piece by piece revamping of Flew’s philosophy as he followed the evidence.

Flew had been in many debates with theists over the years and some proved to be profound in his later change.  Terry Miethe of the Oxford presented a “formidable version of the cosmological argument” in a debate with Flew.

Some limited, changing being(s) exist

The present existence of every limited, changing being is caused by another.

There cannot be an infinite regress of caused of being,

Because an infinite regress of finite beings would

Not cause the existence of anything.

Therefore, there is a first Cause of the present existence of these beings.

The first cause must be infinite, necessary eternal and one

The first uncaused Cause is identical with the God of the Judeo – Christian tradition.  Page 70 – 71

This argument by Miethe was based not on the principle of sufficient reason as most cosmological arguments of this type were, but upon the principle of existential causality.  Flew rejected this argument but it later came to him again in the idea of design in the universe and nature.

In 2004 Flew came to the last of his long line of public debates in a symposium at New York University.  In this debate about science and theology Flew, to the surprise of all announced that he had now accepted the existence of God.  This announcement has caused no small stir among those in the atheist world and those in the theist camp as well.  Many, harsh and strong statements have risen especially from those aforementioned loud mouthed, new atheists.  I will not go into these comments now, but suffice it to say they show no tolerance they so famously shout for their own ideas.

Finding the Divine

Anthony Flew in the above debate made the following statement when asked if the “recent work on the origin of life pointed to the activity of a creative Intelligence . . .

“Yes, I now think it does . . . almost entirely because of DNA investigations.  What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together.  It’s the enormous complexity of the number of elements and the enormous subtlety of the ways they work together.  The meeting of these two parts at the right time by chance is simply minute.  It is all a matter of the enormous complexity by which the results were achieved, which looked to me like the work of intelligence.”  Page 74 – 75

Flew has seen the very same things I and many others have observed to convince him of the divine in all creation and life.  Flew has had many writing debates with Richard Dawkins whom he has had some admiration in his earlier days, but drew, and continues to draw distinctions in Dawkin’s selfish-gene school of thought.  He says:

“In my book Darwinian Evolution, I pointed out that natural selection dies not positively produce anything.  It only eliminates, or tends to eliminate, whatever is not competitive.  A variation does not need to bestow any actual competitive advantage in order to avoid elimination; it is sufficient that is does not burden its owner with any competitive disadvantage.  To choose a rather silly illustration, suppose I have useless wings tucked away under my suit coat, wings that are too weak to lift my frame off the ground.  Useless as they are, these wings to not enable me to escape predators or gather food.  But as long as they don’t make me more vulnerable to predators, I will probably survive to reproduce and pass on my wings to my descendants. Darwin’s mistake in drawing too positive an inference with his suggestion that natural selection produces something was perhaps due to his employment of the expressions ‘natural selection’ or ‘survival of the fittest’ rather than his own ultimately preferred alternative, ‘natural preservation.’” Page 78 – 79

He goes on and continues to skewer Dawkins by saying: “Richard Dawkin’s The Selfish Gene was a major exercise in popular mystification.” Page 79   He also states that: “Dawkins on the other hand, labored to discount or depreciate the upshot of fifty or more years’ work in genetics – the discovery that the observable traits of organisms are for the most part conditioned by the interactions of many genes, while most genes have manifold effects on many such traits.  For Dawkins, the main means for producing human behavior is to attribute to genes characteristics that can significantly be attributed only to persons. Then after insisting that we are all the choiceless creatures of our genes, he infers that we cannot help but share the unlovely personal characteristics of those all-controlling monads.”  Page 79 – 80

Dawkin’s premise is that we are merely robots created by our genes to house them and spread them and we are totally subject to the physical laws of genetics.  Flew makes a final deadly thrust at Dawkins when he says: “If any of this were true, it would be no use to go on, as Dawkins does, to preach: ‘Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish.’ No eloquence can move programmed robots.  But in fact none if it is true – or even faintly sensible.  Genes, as we have seen, do not and cannot necessitate our conduct. Nor are they capable of the calculation and understanding required to plot a course of either ruthless selfishness or sacrificial compassion.”  Page 80

Anthony Flew also takes aim at dogmatic atheism and it’s misapplication of science when the atheists let preconceived theories shape the way they see the evidence rather than letting the evidence shape their theories. About this he says: “And in this, it seems to me, lies the peculiar danger, the endemic evil, of dogmatic atheism.  Take such utterances as ‘We should not ask for an explanation of how it is that the world exists; it is here and that is all’ or ‘Since we cannot accept a transcendent source of life, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance from matter’, or ‘The laws of physics are ‘lawless laws’ that arise from the void – end of discussion.’  They look at first sight like rational arguments that have special authority because they have a no-nonsense air about them.  Of course, this is no more sign that they are either rational or arguments.” Page 86 – 87

He also takes umbrage at the continuing effort of dogmatic atheism and militant evolutionists as couching every argument as their “science” confronting our “philosophy, religion and non-science.      He states: “You might ask how I, a philosopher, could speak to issues treated by scientists. The best way to answer this is with another question.  Are we engaging in science or philosophy here?  When you study the interaction of two physical bodies, for instance, two subatomic particles, you are engaged in science.  When you ask how it is that those subatomic particles – oranything physical – could exist and why, you are engaged in philosophy.  When you draw philosophical conclusions from scientific data, then you are thinking as a philosopher.” Page 89

Flew says that the three domains of scientific inquiry that he as a philosopher feels are especially important are; how did the laws of nature come to be, how did life originate from non-life, and how did the universe (all that is physical) come into being and why.  It is in this domain that Flew is so devastating to the pretend philosophers of evolution and atheism.

He goes on to point out that the God Aristotle believe in as presented in David Conway’s book The Recovery of Wisdom: From Here to Antiquity in Quest of Sophia.  Conway says and Flew agrees: “In sum, to the Being whom he considered to be the explanation of the world and its broad form, Aristotle ascribed the following attributes: immutability, immateriality,   omnipotence, omniscience, oneness or indivisibility, perfect goodness and necessary existence.  There is an impressive correspondence between this set of attributes and those traditionally ascribed to God within the Judaeo-Christian tradition.  It is one that fully justifies us in viewing Aristotle as having had the same Divine Being in mind as the cause of the world that is the object of worship of these two religions.”

Anthony Flew had correctly perceived that the universe and life itself had to have a vast intelligent designer behind it as it was impossible to have been self caused or uncaused.  He looks further into the laws of the universe and the concept of the first cause of all we see.  He quotes the physicist Paul Davies: “in his Templeton address, Paul Davies makes the point that ‘science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.’  Nobody asks where the laws of physics come from, but ‘even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith the existence of a lawlike order in nature that is at least in part incomprehensible to us.” Page 107

Davies in again quoted: “Science is based on the assumption that the universe is thoroughly rational and logical at all levels.’ Writes Paul Davies, arguably the most influential contemporary expositor of modern science. ‘Atheists claim that the laws (of nature) exist reasonlessly and that the universe is absurd.  As a scientist, I find this hard to accept.  There must be an unchanging rational ground in which the logical, orderly nature of the universe is rooted.” Page 111

Flew examines the finely tuned universe or the idea of a man centered universe called the anthropic universe.  It appears that the constants in the universe from the cosmic to the quantum are all finely tuned to cause life to occur.  It appears that the universe was waiting for us.  Flew says: “In his book Infinite Minds, John Leslie, a leading anthropic theorist, argues that the fine tuning is best explained by divine design.  He says that he is impressed not by particular arguments for instances of fine tuning, but by the fact that these arguments exist in such profusion. ‘If, then, there were aspects of nature’s workings that appeared every fortunate and also entirely fundamental,’ he writes, ‘then there might well be seen as evidence specially favoring belief in God.” Page 115

Many physicists have explored the idea of ultra high density physics of multi-verses in hyper dimensions that are truly speculative and very hard to prove. In fact another universe outside of our universe would by our technology and any technology we can envision impossible to examine  Very few physicists actually hold to this multi-verse idea with the exception of those who do not want to believe in a intelligent creator.  Physicist Davies weighs in again: “It is trivially true that, in an infinite universe, anything that can happen will happen.’ But this is not an explanation at all.  If we are trying to understand why the universe if bio-friendly, we are not helped by being told that all possible universes exist. ‘Like a blunderbuss, it explains everything and nothing.”  Page 118   Physicist Richard Swineburne rejects the multi-verse and says: “It is crazy to postulate a trillion (causally unconnected) universes to explain the features of one universe, when postulating one entity (God) will do the job.”  Page 119   Flew likens the argument to a child coming to his teacher and saying “The dog ate my homework.”  When the teacher indicates unbelief the child changes his story to” “A whole pack of dogs ate my homework.”  It is an answer waiting for a question as it will not answer any current questions.

Anthony Flew, as mentioned before also saw the idea of biological life and the complex coding necessary for that life to be an insurmountable problem with atheism and evolution.  He perceived through is incisive logic that the age of the universe and the current theories of abiogenesis left too little time for life to happen in the random way that it had to occur.  He states: “A far more important consideration is the philosophical challenge facing origin-of-life studies.  Most studies on the origin of life are carried out by scientists who rarely attend to the philosophical dimension of their findings.  Philosophers, on the other hand, have said little on the nature and origin of life.  The philosophical question that has not been answered in origin-of- life studies is this: How can a universe of mindless matter produce beings with intrinsic ends, self-replication capabilities, and ‘coded chemistry’?  Here we are not dealing with biology, but an entirely different category of problem.”  Page 124   Flew understood the deep issues.  It is not what the current abiogenesis study is and how maybe a few amino acids can be formed in a test tube, but why does life depend on the hyper complex code even at all and what does it point out in the big picture of causality. Most evolutionists are utterly lost in the details of this missing link or that whale vestigial foot or whatever they can club the creationist over the head with.  They never raise their head like Flew did, and look at the big picture this code points too. One of the issues Flew raises is that life is teleological in nature, it posses intrinsic ends, goals and purposes.  We are self aware, we think, we plan, we love, we are alive in a profound teleological way.  The very origin of this life presents profound problems for the scientist who doesn’t understand the philosophy inherent in his work.  Flew says: “The origin of self-reproduction is a second key problem.  Distinguished philosopher John Haldane notes that origin-of-life theories ‘do not provide sufficient explanation, since they presuppose the existence at an early stage of self-reproduction, and it has not been shown that this can arise by natural means from a material base.”  Page 125   It is the profound problem of the biological scientist who wants to adhere to the evolutionist philosophy.  If you cannot start out life by abiogenesis then the rest tends to fall down and become irrelevant.  George Wald a Nobel Prize winning physiologist once said: “we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance.”  But years later he changed his belief to a preexisting mind.  He said: “How is it that, with so many other apparent options, we are in a universe that possesses just that peculiar nexus of properties that breeds life?  It has occurred to me lately – I must confess with some shock at first to my scientific sensibilities – that both questions might be brought into some degree of congruence.  This is with the assumption that mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality – that the stuff of which physical reality is constructed is mind-stuff.  It is mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life, and so eventually evolves creature that know and create: science, art and technology making creatures.”  Page 131 – 132.

Flew in his paper The Presumption of Atheism argued that we had to take the universe and its most fundamental laws as ultimate.  But you see this is the materialist trap, if all is material and there can be nothing that is not material then God a priori doesn’t exist.  It blocks out the possibility of something that can transcend that universe.  The idea of the infinite and unending universe was the cosmology of Flew’s early years and that view allowed plenty of time and energy for the atheistic views.  But is has been fairly well documented that the universe had a beginning and this had a profound impact on Antony Flew.  It reminded him of the first sentence in the Bible: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  He stated that while the universe was assumed to be eternal and unending then it was the ultimate by brute fact.  But a beginning postulated another something the caused the beginning.  This presented a problem.  Cosmologist were also disturbed by this problem and presented many ideas that would allow them to retain their nontheist status quo.  We have previously looked at those attempts.  But suffice it to know that if one universe requires an explanation for a beginning then multiverses will also require multiple explanations as well.  One of the troubles is that science has a severe problem with the cause of the universe.  Swineburne arguing about the Humean idea of a beginningless series of nonnecessary existent beings, being the sufficient cause for the universe as a whole said: “The whole infinite series will have no explanation at all, for there will be no causes of members of the series lying outside the series.  In that case, the existence of the universe over infinite time will be an inexplicable brute fact. There will be an explanation (in terms of laws) of why, once existent, it continues to exist.  But what will be inexplicable is it existence at all throughout infinite time.  The existence of a complex physical universe over finite or infinite time is something ‘too big’ for science to explain.”  Page 141  So we see that the, now known, finite universe is not the brute fact and ultimate thing and it is also too big for science to explain and certainly they cannot explain away that nothing never creates something.

Anthony Flew in his publications argued that the concept of God was not coherent because it presupposed the idea of an incorporeal omnipresent being.  Again this is the materialist trap and Flew finally found his way out.  Theologians were busy with their answers.  They stated that a body is necessary for being to exist; the condition for a being to be an agent is to be simply capable of intentional action.  God is spoken as being a personal being; this is to talk of Him as an agent to intentional action.

God also dwelling outside of space and time was entirely consistent with the theory of special relativity.  Brian Leftow in his book Time and Eternity showed that God could be transcendent of the universe and went on to explore what He would be like.  It is these studies that showed Flew that an incorporeal spirit could exist and have an impact in our world.  He says: “At the very least, the studies and Tracy and Leftow show that idea of an omnipresent Spirit is not intrinsically incoherent if we see such a Spirit as an agent outside space and time that uniquely executed His intentions in the spatio-temporal continuum. The question of whether such a Spirit exists, as we have seen, lies at the heart of the arguments for God’s existence.”  Page 154

Flew made the transition from atheist to theist.  It was a path of simply following the evidence to where it leads.  He says: “Science qua science cannot furnish an argument for God’s existence.  But the three items of evidence we have considered in this volume – the laws nature, life with its teleological organization, and the existence of the universe – can only be explained in the light of an Intelligence that explains both its own existence and that of the world.  Such a discovery of the Divine does not come through experiments and equations, but through the understanding of the structures they unveil and map.”  Page 155   Flew was willing to learn more and connect with others in their thoughts and was open to new ideas.   He now believes in an infinitely intelligent mind that created the universe.  He knows many who have claimed to have contacted that mind and remains hopeful that that mind may contact him.  His final statement is: “I have not (contacted the mind) yet.  But who knows what could happen next?  Someday I might hear a Voice that says, ‘Can you hear me now?”

I have no doubt that Anthony Flew with his humility will soon hear that wonderful voice of the Lord who loves him.

Evan Wiggs

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Robert Jastrow on God and the Big Bang

 

 

Published on Jun 26, 2012

 

Henry “Fritz” Schaefer comments on a popular quote made by scientist Robert Jastrow. Jastrow (who Carl Sagan was too scared to debate) is an agnostic but believes that the Big Bang leaves room for the existence of God.

 

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Discussion (3 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas

 

 

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William Lane Craig vs Peter Atkins: “Does God Exist?”, University of Manchester, October 2011

 

 

Published on Apr 10, 2012

 

This debate on “Does God Exist?” took place in front of a capacity audience at the University of Manchester (including an overspill room). It was recorded on Wednesday 26th October 2011 as part of the UK Reasonable Faith Tour with William Lane Craig.

William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, California and a leading philosopher of religion. Peter Atkins is former Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Lincoln College.

The debate was chaired by Christopher Whitehead, Head of Chemistry School at the University. Post-debate discussion was moderated by Peter S Williams, Philosopher in Residence at the Damaris Trust, UK.

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Making Sense of Faith and Science

Uploaded on May 16, 2008

Dr. H. Fritz Schaefer confronts the assertion that one cannot believe in God and be a credible scientist. He explains that the theistic world view of Bacon, Kepler, Pascal, Boyle, Newton, Faraday and Maxwell was instrumental in the rise of modern science itself. Presented as part of the Let There be Light series. Series: Let There Be Light [5/2003] [Humanities] [Show ID: 7338]

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___________ Article from 2005 indicated Antony Flew abandoned atheism because of Law of Biogenesis!!!! Weighing the Evidence An Atheist Abandons Atheism By Chuck Colson|Published Date: January 10, 2005 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 […]

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The Christian influence on society is real and that is one of the reasons Antony Flew left Atheism!!! Beggar to Beggar Saved by Increments By Chuck Colson|Published Date: January 11, 2005 A leading intellectual elaborates on why he abandoned atheism. But, surprisingly, he says his reasons were not entirely intellectual. British philosophy professor Dr. Antony […]

Antony Flew, George Wald and David Noebel on the Origin of Life

In the below comment section David Noebel stated the following: Since writing my article on the origin of life I have read two books that basically make the same point and I will quote briefly from them, but encourage anyone interested in the subject to read both books from cover to cover: (1) John C. […]

The Fine Tuning Argument for the Existence of God from Antony Flew!

___________ The Fine Tuning Argument for the Existence of God from Antony Flew! Imagine entering a hotel room on your next vacation. The CD player on the bedside table is softly playing a track from your favorite recording. The framed print over the bed is identical to the image that hangs over the fireplace at […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Tagged  | Edit | Comments (0)

Mark Oppenheimer of Time Magazine claims Antony Flew was convinced by PSEUDOSCIENCE that God exists!!!

_____________ Mark Oppenheimer of Time Magazine claims Antony Flew was convinced by PSEUDOSCIENCE that God exists!!! Below you will read:  ”There Is a God” is perhaps the handiest primer ever written on the science (many would say pseudoscience) of religious belief. Regis Nicoll does a good job of refuting the claim that Flew was manipulated by […]

A review of “There is a God” by Antony Flew March 31, 2012

________ During the 1990′s I actually made it a practice to write famous atheists and scientists that were mentioned by Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer and challenge them with the evidence for the Bible’s historicity and the claims of the gospel. Usually I would send them a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers’ messages “6 reasons I […]

Review of Antony Flew Book: THERE IS A GOD Article by R.C. Sproul May 2008

During the 1990′s I actually made it a practice to write famous atheists and scientists that were mentioned by Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer and challenge them with the evidence for the Bible’s historicity and the claims of the gospel. Usually I would send them a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers’ messages “6 reasons I know […]

The Death of a (Former) Atheist — Antony Flew, 1923-2010 Antony Flew’s rejection of atheism is an encouragement, but his rejection of Christianity is a warning. Rejecting atheism is simply not enough, by Al Mohler

________________________________ Discussion (1 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas Uploaded on Sep 22, 2010 A discussion with Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas. This was held at Westminster Chapel March, 2008 ______________________ During the 1990′s I actually made it a practice to write famous atheists and scientists that were mentioned by Adrian […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Tagged  | Edit | Comments (0)

Antony Flew’s journey from Atheism to Theism

During the 1990′s I actually made it a practice to write famous atheists and scientists that were mentioned by Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer and challenge them with the evidence for the Bible’s historicity and the claims of the gospel. Usually I would send them a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers’ messages “6 reasons I […]

Antony Flew incorrectly wrote that George Wald later abandoned atheism!!!

 

Making Sense of Faith and Science

Uploaded on May 16, 2008

Dr. H. Fritz Schaefer confronts the assertion that one cannot believe in God and be a credible scientist. He explains that the theistic world view of Bacon, Kepler, Pascal, Boyle, Newton, Faraday and Maxwell was instrumental in the rise of modern science itself. Presented as part of the Let There be Light series. Series: Let There Be Light [5/2003] [Humanities] [Show ID: 7338]

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Antony Flew – World’s Most Famous Atheist Accepts Existence of God

Uploaded on Nov 28, 2008

Has Science Discovered God?

A half-century ago, in 1955, Professor Antony Flew set the agenda for modern atheism with his Theology and Falsification, a paper presented in a debate with C.S. Lewis. This work became the most widely reprinted philosophical publication of the last 50 years. Over the decades, he published more than 30 books attacking belief in God and debated a wide range of religious believers.

Then, in a 2004 Summit at New York University, Professor Flew announced that the discoveries of modern science have led him to the conclusion that the universe is indeed the creation of infinite Intelligence.

For More Info Visit:
http://ScienceFindsGod.com

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Intelligent Design: Is It Viable? William Lane Craig vs. Francisco J. Ayala

Published on Nov 10, 2013

Date: November 5, 2009
Location: Indiana University

Christian/Intelligent Design proponent debater: William Lane Craig
Christian/Darwinist debater: Francisco J. Ayala

For William Lane Craig: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/
For Francisco Ayala: http://www.faculty.uci.edu/profile.cf…
To purchase this debate: http://apps.biola.edu/apologetics-sto…

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Ninth

 

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Antony Flew wrote in his book, THERE IS A GOD: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, p. 124 and 131, “The latest work I have seen shows that the present physicists’ view of the age of the universe gives too little time for these theories of abiogenesis [life from nonlife] to get the job done…How can a universe of mindless matter produce beings with intrinsic ends, self-replication capabilities, and ‘coded chemistry’?…So how do we account for the origin of life? The Nobel Prize-winning physiologist George Wald once famously argued that ‘we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance.’ In later years, he concluded that a preexisting mind, which he posits as the matrix of physical reality, composed a physical universe that breeds life: ‘the stuff of which physical reality is constructed is mind-stuff. It is mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life…’ The only satisfactory explanation for the origin of such ‘end-directed, self-replicating’ life as we see on earth is an infinitely intelligent Mind.” 

During the 1990′s I actually made it a practice to write famous atheists and scientists that were mentioned by Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer and challenge them with the evidence for the Bible’s historicity and the claims of the gospel. Usually I would send them a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers’ messages “6 reasons I know the Bible is True,” “The Final Judgement,” “Who is Jesus?” and the message by Bill Elliff, “How to get a pure heart.”  I would also send them printed material from the works of Francis Schaeffer and a personal apologetic letter from me addressing some of the issues in their work. My second cassette tape that I sent to both Antony Flew and George Wald was Adrian Rogers’ sermon on evolution.  

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Photo of Pastor Adrian Rogers Memorial Tribute

Below is the video of Rogers’ sermon on Evolution.

Check out this short article by Adrian Rogers:

I think that Antony Flew may have pondered this quote from George Wald which was in Adrian Rogers’ sermon.

Dr. George Wald of Harvard:

“When it comes to the origin of life, we have only two possibilities as to how life arose. One is spontaneous generation arising to evolution; the other is a supernatural creative act of God. There is no third possibility…Spontaneous generation was scientifically disproved one hundred years ago by Louis Pasteur, Spellanzani, Reddy and others. That leads us scientifically to only one possible conclusion — that life arose as a supernatural creative act of God…I will not accept that philosophically because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generation arising to evolution.” – Scientific American, August, 1954.

Adrian Rogers said the lack of an  answer for the  origin of life was a big reason Rogers rejected evolution.  Rogers noted, “Evolution offers no answers to the origin of life. It simply pushes the question farther back in time, back to some primordial event in space or an act of spontaneous generation in which life simply sprang from nothing.”

I actually had the chance to correspond with George Wald twice before his death. He wrote me two letters and in the first one he suggested that he was just using hyperbole when he made the assertion that is quoted by Dr. Rogers. He also suggested the religion of Buddhism although he said he was not a Buddhist himself, but he thought that would be closest to the truth which he thought was atheism. This does seem to contradict what Flew says of Wald’s views in the 1990’s. Flew contended concerning Wald:

In later years, he concluded that a preexisting mind, which he posits as the matrix of physical reality, composed a physical universe that breeds life: ‘the stuff of which physical reality is constructed is mind-stuff. It is mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life…’ 

In my letters to both Wald and Flew in the 1990’s I demonstrated that  there is evidence that points to the fact that the Bible is historically true as Schaeffer pointed out in episode 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACEThere is a basis then for faith in Christ alone for our eternal hope. This link shows how to do that.

Fortunately some modern philosophers and scientists are starting to wake up and realize that materialistic chance evolution was not responsible for the origin of the universe but it was started by a Divine Mind. In fact, Antony Flew who was probably the most famous atheist of the 20th century took time to read several letters I sent him the 1990’s which included much material from Francis Schaeffer and he listened to several cassette tapes I sent him from Adrian Rogers and then in 2004 he reversed his view that this world came about through evolution and he left his atheism behind and  because a theist.  I still have several of the letters that Dr. Flew wrote back to me and I will be posting them later on my blog at some point. One of the letters I got back in 1994 said specifically that he enjoyed listening to whole cassette tape.

An Atheist No More 3 by Larry Jones

Here is my third offering this week in remembrance of my grandfather. Antony Flew, the famous former atheist, addresses the problem of the purpose and origin of life.
“Let us first look at the nature of life from a philosophical standpoint. Living matter possesses an inherent goal or end-centered organization that is nowhere present in the matter that preceded it.”
“The first challenge is to produce a materialistic explanation for “the very first emergence of living matter from non-living matter. In being alive, living matter possesses a teleological organization that is wholly absent from everything that preceded it.” The second challenge is to produce an equally materialist explanation for “the emergence, from the very earliest life-forms which were incapable of reproducing themselves, of life-forms with a capacity for reproducing themselves. Without the existence of such a capacity, it would not have been possible for different species to emerge through random mutation and natural selection. Accordingly, such mechanism cannot be invoked in any explanation of how life-forms with this capacity first ‘evolved’ from those that lacked it.” Conway concludes that these biological phenomena “provide us with reason for doubting that it is possible to account for existent life-forms in purely materialistic terms and without recourse to design.”
“Paul Davies observes that most theories of biogenesis have concentrated on the chemistry of life, but “life is more than just complex chemical reactions. The cell is also an information storing, processing and replicating system. We need to explain the origin of this information, and the way in which the information processing machinery came to exist.” He emphasizes the fact that a gene is nothing but a set of coded instructions with a precise recipe for manufacturing proteins. Most important, these genetic instructions are not the kind of information you find in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics; rather, they constitute semantic information. In other words, they have a specific meaning. These instructions can be effective only in a molecular environment capable of interpreting the meaning in the genetic code. The origin question rises to the top at this point. ‘The problem of how meaningful or semantic information can emerge spontaneously from a collection of mindless molecules subject to blind and purposeless forces presents a deep conceptual challenge.’”
“The Nobel Prize–winning physiologist George Wald once famously argued that ‘we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose”spontaneously by chance.’ In later years, he concluded that a preexisting mind, which he posits as the matrix of physical reality, composed a physical universe that breeds life:.. This, too, is my conclusion. The only satisfactory explanation for the origin of such “end-directed, self-replicating” life as we see on earth is an infinitely intelligent Mind.”, [Antony Flew with Roy Abraham Varghese, There is a God]
This book can be purchased at many book stores including Amazon.com, or as an e version at various sources including e-books. I own both. A hardback copy to keep, and an e copy for quoting.
Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

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Antony Flew rightly noted that Richard Dawkins’ “monkey theorem was a load of rubbish”

________   Antony Flew rightly noted that Richard Dawkins’  ”monkey theorem was a load of rubbish.” Sunday, 9 September 2012 Why Richard Dawkins’ typing monkey theorem is a load of nonsense The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a […]

Article from 2005 indicated Antony Flew abandoned atheism because of Law of Biogenesis!!!!

___________ Article from 2005 indicated Antony Flew abandoned atheism because of Law of Biogenesis!!!! Weighing the Evidence An Atheist Abandons Atheism By Chuck Colson|Published Date: January 10, 2005 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 […]

The Christian influence on society is real and that is one of the reasons Antony Flew left Atheism!!!

The Christian influence on society is real and that is one of the reasons Antony Flew left Atheism!!! Beggar to Beggar Saved by Increments By Chuck Colson|Published Date: January 11, 2005 A leading intellectual elaborates on why he abandoned atheism. But, surprisingly, he says his reasons were not entirely intellectual. British philosophy professor Dr. Antony […]

Antony Flew, George Wald and David Noebel on the Origin of Life

In the below comment section David Noebel stated the following: Since writing my article on the origin of life I have read two books that basically make the same point and I will quote briefly from them, but encourage anyone interested in the subject to read both books from cover to cover: (1) John C. […]

The Fine Tuning Argument for the Existence of God from Antony Flew!

___________ The Fine Tuning Argument for the Existence of God from Antony Flew! Imagine entering a hotel room on your next vacation. The CD player on the bedside table is softly playing a track from your favorite recording. The framed print over the bed is identical to the image that hangs over the fireplace at […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Tagged  | Edit | Comments (0)

Mark Oppenheimer of Time Magazine claims Antony Flew was convinced by PSEUDOSCIENCE that God exists!!!

_____________ Mark Oppenheimer of Time Magazine claims Antony Flew was convinced by PSEUDOSCIENCE that God exists!!! Below you will read:  ”There Is a God” is perhaps the handiest primer ever written on the science (many would say pseudoscience) of religious belief. Regis Nicoll does a good job of refuting the claim that Flew was manipulated by […]

A review of “There is a God” by Antony Flew March 31, 2012

________ During the 1990′s I actually made it a practice to write famous atheists and scientists that were mentioned by Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer and challenge them with the evidence for the Bible’s historicity and the claims of the gospel. Usually I would send them a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers’ messages “6 reasons I […]

Review of Antony Flew Book: THERE IS A GOD Article by R.C. Sproul May 2008

During the 1990′s I actually made it a practice to write famous atheists and scientists that were mentioned by Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer and challenge them with the evidence for the Bible’s historicity and the claims of the gospel. Usually I would send them a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers’ messages “6 reasons I know […]

The Death of a (Former) Atheist — Antony Flew, 1923-2010 Antony Flew’s rejection of atheism is an encouragement, but his rejection of Christianity is a warning. Rejecting atheism is simply not enough, by Al Mohler

________________________________ Discussion (1 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas Uploaded on Sep 22, 2010 A discussion with Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas. This was held at Westminster Chapel March, 2008 ______________________ During the 1990′s I actually made it a practice to write famous atheists and scientists that were mentioned by Adrian […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Tagged  | Edit | Comments (0)

Antony Flew’s journey from Atheism to Theism

During the 1990′s I actually made it a practice to write famous atheists and scientists that were mentioned by Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer and challenge them with the evidence for the Bible’s historicity and the claims of the gospel. Usually I would send them a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers’ messages “6 reasons I […]

Some say Steve Jobs was an atheist jh42

Some people have called Steve Jobs an atheist. According to published reports Steve Jobs was a Buddhist and he had a very interesting quote on death which I discussed in another post. Back in 1979 I saw the film series HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? by Francis Schaeffer and I also read the book.

Francis Schaeffer observes in How Should We Then Live: The Rise And Decline Of Western Thought And Culturethat evolutionary theory in the form of humanistic thought has reduced everything to the level of a component in a great universal machine.

Of this outlook, Schaeffer writes, “In one form of reductionism, man is explained by reducing him to the smallest particles which make up his body. Man is seen as being only the molecule or the energy particle, more complex but not intrinsically different (164).”

To prove such an observation is more than Evangelical hyperbole, Schaeffer quotes Harvard University Chemistry Professor George Wald who said, “Four hundred years ago there was a collection of molecules named Shakespeare which produced Hamlet(164).”

In order to remain consistent, those holding to such a perspective have to concede such a masterpiece is not so much the result of creative insight as it is a fortuitous case of gas. And to any naturalist offended by my remarks, they cannot very well complain about them since by their own worldview, I had no control over what I wrote.

(Above remarks taken from blog of  Frederick Meekins)

After I read that I had the opportunity three times in the 1990′s to correspond with Dr. George Wald of Harvard. In one of his letters he suggested that Atheism and Buddhism are the same thing. I tend to agree.

Many Buddhists do not believe in reincarnation. I would call these individuals atheists. The article below points out that the others believe: “When a person becomes enlightened, reincarnation ceases.” Both views are close to the same end result of atheism.

Below is a futher discussion of Buddhism.

Steve McConkey, president of 4 WINDS, a website also known as christianinvestigator.com, and minister to track and field athletes (www.trackandfieldreport.com): “From all indications, Steve Jobs was a Buddhist. The college dropout started Apple Computer with friend Steve Wozniak in the late 1970s. By 1980, he was a millionaire. Jobs was born in San Francisco. His favorite musicians were the Beatles and Bob Dylan. The San Francisco counterculture had an influence on Jobs. He experimented with psychedelic drugs. The name Apple was inspired by the Beatles’ Apple Corps. Like the Beatles, Jobs went to India to seek spiritual truth. He eventually converted to Buddhism. Buddhist monk Kobun Chino presided over his wedding. Also, Forbes magazine is publishing a comic book about Steve Jobs. The book focuses on Steve’s travels to Japan. The [comic] book re-creates the relationship with his mentor, Kobun Chino Otogawa, a Buddhist priest. Ö Steve Jobs’ mission was to understand Buddhism better. Steve Jobs was the Einstein of our time with advances in technology that shape everything we do. Because of his Buddhist beliefs, our concern is about this worldview. Buddha was a prince in India and founded Buddhism. Buddhists do not believe in a Supreme Being. Seven percent of the world’s population are Buddhists. Buddhists believe suffering comes from desire. In order to remedy the situation, they believe a person should have right thoughts and do good things. They follow the ‘Eightfold Path’ and ‘The Four Noble Truths.’ Many Buddhists believe in reincarnation. When a person becomes enlightened, reincarnation ceases. Christianity counters Buddhism. Christians believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. There is one God who reveals Himself eternally through the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christians believe that all people have sinned and need salvation through Jesus Christ. Good works cannot save a person. Christians believe that Jesus Christ died for man’s sins so that those who believe in Christ will be saved. Once a Christian, a person will spend eternity with Jesus Christ.”

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Some say Steve Jobs was an atheist

According to published reports Steve Jobs was a Buddhist and he had a very interesting quote on death which I discussed in another post. Back in 1979 I saw the film series HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? by Francis Schaeffer and I also read the book. Francis Schaeffer observes in How Should We Then Live: The Rise […]

Steve Jobs and Adoption

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I have written several posts on Steve Jobs and they are listed below. Today I want to look at the eternal impact of Steve Jobs’ life. Below are the words of – R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.: “Christians cannot leave the matter where the secular world will […]

Steve Jobs versus President Obama: Who created more jobs?

I loved reading this article below. (Take a look at the link to other posts I have done on Steve Jobs.) David Boaz makes some great observations: How much value is the Post Office creating this year? Or Amtrak? Or Solyndra? And if you point out that the Post Office does create value for its […]

Steve Jobs’ view of death and what the Bible has to say about it

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address Uploaded by StanfordUniversity on Mar 7, 2008 Drawing from some of the most pivotal points in his life, Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks — including death […]

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Steve Jobs was a Buddhist: What is Buddhism?

Steve Jobs passed away on October 5, 2011. I personally am very grateful to him for helping the world so much with his ideas and I have written about that before. Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute noted: He’s built a $360 billion company. That presumably means at least $352 billion of wealth in the […]

  Did Steve Jobs help people even though he did not give away a lot of money? (I just finished a post concerning Steve’s religious beliefs and a post about 8 things you may not know about Steve Jobs) Uploaded by UM0kusha0kusha on Sep 16, 2010 clip from The First Round Up *1934* ~~enjoy!! ______________________________________________ In the short film […]

Steve Jobs was a Buddhist: What is Buddhism?

Apple CEO Steve Jobs  (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

(If you want to check out other posts I have done about about Steve Jobs: Some say Steve Jobs was an atheist , Steve Jobs and Adoption , What is the eternal impact of Steve Jobs’ life? ,Steve Jobs versus President Obama: Who created more jobs? ,Steve Jobs’ view of death and what the Bible has to say about it ,8 things you might not know about Steve Jobs ,Steve Jobs was a Buddhist: What is Buddhism? ,Did Steve Jobs help people even though he did not give away a lot of money? )

 
Steve Jobs passed away on October 5, 2011. I personally am very grateful to him for helping the world so much with his ideas and I have written about that before. Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute noted:

He’s built a $360 billion company. That presumably means at least $352 billion of wealth in the hands of people other than himself. And that doesn’t even begin to count how consumers have benefited from his products, the jobs he has created, and the indirect positive impact of his company on suppliers and retailers.

According to published reports Steve Jobs was a Buddhist and he had a very interesting quote on death which I discussed in another post. Back in 1979 I saw the film series HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? by Francis Schaeffer and I also read the book.

Francis Schaeffer observes in How Should We Then Live: The Rise And Decline Of Western Thought And Culturethat evolutionary theory in the form of humanistic thought has reduced everything to the level of a component in a great universal machine.

Of this outlook, Schaeffer writes, “In one form of reductionism, man is explained by reducing him to the smallest particles which make up his body. Man is seen as being only the molecule or the energy particle, more complex but not intrinsically different (164).”

To prove such an observation is more than Evangelical hyperbole, Schaeffer quotes Harvard University Chemistry Professor George Wald who said, “Four hundred years ago there was a collection of molecules named Shakespeare which produced Hamlet(164).”

In order to remain consistent, those holding to such a perspective have to concede such a masterpiece is not so much the result of creative insight as it is a fortuitous case of gas. And to any naturalist offended by my remarks, they cannot very well complain about them since by their own worldview, I had no control over what I wrote.

(Above remarks taken from blog of  Frederick Meekins)

After I read that I had the opportunity three times in the 1990’s to correspond with Dr. George Wald of Harvard. In one of his letters he suggested that Atheism and Buddhism are the same thing. I tend to agree. Below is a futher discussion of Buddhism.

Buddhism Print E-mail

Patrick Zukeran Written by Pa

For centuries, Buddhism has been the dominant religion of the Eastern world. With the rise of the Asian population in the United States, Buddhism has had a tremendous impact on this country as well. Presently, there are an estimated 300 million Buddhists in the world and 500 thousand in the United States.{1} It remains the dominant religion in the state of Hawaii, and many prominent Americans have accepted this religion, including the former governor of California, Jerry Brown,{2} Tina Turner, Phil Jackson (coach of the Los Angeles Lakers), Richard Gere, and Steven Seagal. The Dalai Lama has become a prominent spiritual figure for many throughout the world.

The Origin of Buddhism

Buddhism began as an offspring of Hinduism in the country of India. The founder was Siddhartha Gautama. It is not easy to give an accurate historical account of the life of Gautama since no biography was recorded until five hundred years after his death. Today, much of his life story is clouded in myths and legends which arose after his death. Even the best historians of our day have several different–and even contradictory–accounts of Gautama’s life.

Siddhartha Gautama was born in approximately 560 B.C. in northern India. His father, Suddhodana, was the ruler over a district near the Himalayas which is today the country of Nepal. Suddhodana sheltered his son from the outside world and confined him to the palace where he surrounded Gautama with pleasures and wealth.

Despite his father’s efforts, however, Gautama one day saw the darker side of life on a trip he took outside the palace walls. He saw four things that forever changed his life: an old man, a sick man, a dead man, and an ascetic. Deeply distressed by the suffering he saw, he decided to leave the luxury of palace life and begin a quest to find the answer to the problem of pain and human suffering.

Gautama left his family and traveled the country seeking wisdom. He studied the Hindu scriptures under Brahmin priests, but became disillusioned with the teachings of Hinduism. He then devoted himself to a life of extreme asceticism in the jungle. He soon concluded, however, that asceticism did not lead to peace and self-realization but merely weakened the mind and body.

Gautama eventually turned to a life of meditation. While deep in meditation under a fig tree known as the Bohdi tree (meaning, “tree of wisdom”), Gautama experienced the highest degree of God-consciousness called nirvana. Gautama then became known as Buddha, the “enlightened one.” He believed he had found the answers to the questions of pain and suffering. His message now needed to be proclaimed to the whole world.

As he began his teaching ministry, he gained a quick audience with the people of India since many had become disillusioned with Hinduism. By the time of his death at age 80, Buddhism had become a major force in India.

Expansion and Development of Buddhism

Buddhism remained mostly in India for three centuries until King Ashoka, who ruled India from 274-232 B.C., converted to Buddhism. Ashoka sent missionaries throughout the world, and Buddhism spread to all of Asia.

Even before its expansion, two distinct branches developed, a conservative and a liberal school of thought. The conservative school is labeled Theravada, and it became the dominant form of Buddhism in Southeast Asia. Thus, it is also called Southern Buddhism. Southern Buddhism has remained closer to the original form of Buddhism. This school follows the Pali Canon of scripture, which, although written centuries after Gautamas death, contains the most accurate recording of his teachings.

The liberal school is Mahayana Buddhism, which traveled to the north into China, Japan, Korea, and Tibet, and is also called Northern Buddhism. As it spread north, it adopted and incorporated beliefs and practices from the local religions of the land. The two branches of Buddhism are so different they appear to be two different religions rather than two branches of the same tree. Here are a few differences.

Theravada Buddhism sees Buddha as a man. Gautama never claimed to be deity, but rather a “way shower.” Mahayana Buddhism, however, worships Buddha as a manifestation of the divine Buddha essence. Since Gautama, many other manifestations or bodhisattvas have appeared. An example is Tibetan Buddhism, which worships the spiritual leader the Dalai Lama as a bodhisattva.

Theravada adheres to the Pali Canon and Buddhas earliest teachings. Since Mahayana believes there have been many manifestations, this branch incorporates many other texts written by the bodhisattvas as part of their canon.

Theravada teaches that each person must attain salvation through their own effort, and this requires one to relinquish earthly desires and live a monastic life. Therefore, only those few who have chosen this lifestyle will attain nirvana. Mahayana teaches that salvation comes through the grace of the bodhisattvas and so many may attain salvation.

Divine beings do not have a place in Theravada. The primary focus is on the individual attaining enlightenment, and a divine being, or speculations of such, only hinders the process. Therefore, several sects of this branch are atheistic. Mahayana, on the other hand, has many diverse views of God since this branch is inclusive, and has adopted the beliefs and practices of various religions. Many schools are pantheistic in their worldview while others are animistic. Buddha is worshipped as a divine being. Some schools pay homage to a particular bodhisattva sent to their people. Other schools have a mixture of gods whom they worship. For example, Japanese Buddhism blended with Shintoism and includes worship of the Shinto gods with the teachings and worship of Buddha.

When speaking with a Buddhist, it is important to understand what branch of Buddhism they are talking about. The two branches are dramatically different. Even within Mahayana Buddhism, the sects can be as different as Theravada is to Mahayana.

The Way of Salvation

The main question Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, sought to answer was, “Why is there pain and suffering?” His belief in reincarnation (the belief that after death one returns to earthly life in a higher or lower form of life according to his good or bad deeds) prompted a second question that also needed to be answered: “How does one break this rebirth cycle?” The basic teachings of Buddhism, therefore, focus on what Gautama believed to be the answer to these questions. These basic tenets are found in the Four Noble Truths and in the Eight-fold Path. Let us begin with the Four Noble Truths.

The First Noble Truth is that there is pain and suffering in the world. Gautama realized that pain and suffering are omnipresent in all of nature and human life. To exist means to encounter suffering. Birth is painful and so is death. Sickness and old age are painful. Throughout life, all living things encounter suffering.

The Second Noble Truth relates to the cause of suffering. Gautama believed the root cause of suffering is desire. It is the craving for wealth, happiness, and other forms of selfish enjoyment which cause suffering. These cravings can never be satisfied for they are rooted in ignorance.

The Third Noble Truth is the end of all suffering. Suffering will cease when a person can rid himself of all desires.

The Fourth Noble Truth is the extinguishing of all desire by following the Eight-fold path. “The Eight-fold path is a system of therapy designed to develop habits which will release people from the restrictions caused by ignorance and craving.”{3}

Here are the eight steps in following the Eight-fold path. The first is the Right View. One must accept the Four Noble Truths. Step two is the Right Resolve. One must renounce all desires and any thoughts like lust, bitterness, and cruelty, and must harm no living creature. Step three is the Right Speech. One must speak only truth. There can be no lying, slander, or vain talk. Step four is the Right Behavior. One must abstain from sexual immorality, stealing, and all killing.

Step five is the Right Occupation. One must work in an occupation that benefits others and harms no one. Step six is the Right Effort. One must seek to eliminate any evil qualities within and prevent any new ones from arising. One should seek to attain good and moral qualities and develop those already possessed. Seek to grow in maturity and perfection until universal love is attained. Step seven is the Right Contemplation. One must be observant, contemplative, and free of desire and sorrow. The eighth is the Right Meditation. After freeing oneself of all desires and evil, a person must concentrate his efforts in meditation so that he can overcome any sensation of pleasure or pain and enter a state of transcending consciousness and attain a state of perfection. Buddhists believe that through self-effort one can attain the eternal state of nirvana.

In Buddhism, ones path to nirvana relies on the effort and discipline of the individual. By contrast, Jesus taught our goal is not a state of non-conscious being, but an eternal relationship with God. There is nothing one can do to earn a right relationship with God. Instead, we must receive His gift of grace, the sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus Christ and this restores our relationship with our creator.

Karma, Samsara, and Nirvana

Three important concepts in understanding Buddhism are karma, samsara, and nirvana.

Karmarefers to the law of cause and effect in a person’s life, reaping what one has sown. Buddhists believe that every person must go through a process of birth and rebirth until he reaches the state of nirvana in which he breaks this cycle. According to the law of karma, “You are what you are and do what you do, as a result of what you were and did in a previous incarnation, which in turn was the inevitable outcome of what you were and did in still earlier incarnations.”{4} For a Buddhist, what one will be in the next life depends on one’s actions in this present life. Unlike Hindus, Buddha believed that a person can break the rebirth cycle no matter what class he is born into.

The second key concept is the law of samsara or transmigration. This is one of the most perplexing and difficult concepts in Buddhism to understand. The law of Samsara holds that everything is in a birth and rebirth cycle. Buddha taught that people do not have individual souls. The existence of an individual self or ego is an illusion. There is no eternal substance of a person, which goes through the rebirth cycle. What is it then that goes through the cycle if not the individual soul? What goes through the rebirth cycle is only a set of feelings, impressions, present moments, and the karma that is passed on. “In other words, as one process leads to another, … so one’s human personality in one existence is the direct cause of the type of individuality which appears in the next.”{5} The new individual in the next life will not be exactly the same person, but there will be several similarities. Just how close in identity they will be is not known.

The third key concept is nirvana. The term means “the blowing out” of existence. Nirvana is very different from the Christian concept of heaven. Nirvana is not a place like heaven, but rather an eternal state of being. It is the state in which the law of karma and the rebirth cycle come to an end. It is the end of suffering; a state where there are no desires and the individual consciousness comes to an end. Although to our Western minds this may sound like annihilation, Buddhists would object to such a notion. Gautama never gave an exact description of nirvana, but his closest reply was this. “There is disciples, a condition, where there is neither earth nor water, neither air nor light, neither limitless space, nor limitless time, neither any kind of being, neither ideation nor non-ideation, neither this world nor that world. There is neither arising nor passing-away, nor dying, neither cause nor effect, neither change nor standstill.”{6}

In contrast to the idea of reincarnation, the Bible teaches in Hebrews 9:27 that “man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment.” A major diverging point between Buddhism and Christianity is that the Bible refutes the idea of reincarnation. The Bible also teaches that in the eternal state, we are fully conscious and glorified individuals whose relationship with God comes to its perfect maturity.

Jesus and Gautama

There is much I admire in the life and teachings of Gautama. Being raised in the Japanese Buddhist culture, I appreciate the ethical teachings, the arts, and architecture influenced by Buddhism. As I studied the life and teachings of Gautama and of Jesus, I discovered some dramatic differences.

First, Buddha did not claim to be divine. Theravada remains true to his teaching that he was just a man. The idea that he was divine was developed in Mahayana Buddhism 700 years after his death. Furthermore, Northern Buddhism teaches that there have been other manifestations of the Buddha or bodhisattvas and some believe Jesus to be one as well. However, Jesus did not claim to be one of many manifestations of God; He claimed to be the one and only Son of God. This teaching was not the creation of his followers but a principle He taught from the beginning of His ministry. In fact, the salvation He preached was dependent on understanding His divine nature.

Second, Buddha claimed to be a way shower. He showed the way to nirvana, but it was up to each follower to find his or her own path. Christ did not come to show the way; He claimed to be the way. While Buddhism teaches that salvation comes through Buddhas teachings, Christ taught salvation is found in Him. When Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life” (John 14:6), He was saying He alone is the one who can give eternal life, for He is the source of truth and life. Not only did He make the way possible, He promises to forever be with and empower all who follow Him to live the life that pleases God.

Third, Buddha taught that the way to eliminate suffering and attain enlightenment was to eliminate all desire. Christ taught that one should not eliminate all desire but that one must have the right desire. He stated, “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied.” Christ taught that we should desire to know Him above all other wants.

Fourth, Buddha performed no miracles in his lifetime. Christ affirmed His claims to be divine through the miracles He performed. He demonstrated authority over every realm of creation: the spiritual realm, nature, sickness, and death. These miracles confirmed the claims that He was more than a good teacher, but God incarnate.

Finally, Buddha is buried in a grave in Kusinara at the foot of the Himalaya Mountains. Christ, however, is alive. He alone conquered sin and the grave. His death paid the price for sin, and His resurrection makes it possible for all people to enter into a personal and eternal relationship with God.

After a comparative study, I came to realize Buddha was a great teacher who lived a noble life, but Christ is the unique revelation of God who is to be worshipped as our eternal Lord and Savior.

Notes

1. Isamu Yamamoto, Buddhism, Taoism and Other Eastern Religions, (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing, 1998), p. 23.

2. Walter Martin, Kingdom of the Cults (Minneapolis: Bethany House 1985), p. 261.

3. Kenneth Boa, Cults, World Religions, and the Occult (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, (1977) p. 35

4. Davis Taylor and Clark Offner, The World’s Religions, Norman Anderson, ed. (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1975), p. 174.

5. John Noss, Man’s Religions (New York: Macmillan Company, 1968), p. 182.

6. Taylor and Offner, The World’s Religions, p. 177.

©1994 Probe Ministries.


About the Author

Patrick ZukeranPatrick Zukeran is a Hawaii-based research associate with Probe Ministries. He has a B.A. in Religion from Point Loma Nazarene University, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a D.Min. from Southern Evangelical Seminary. He is an author, radio talk show host, and a national and international speaker on apologetics, cults, world religions, Bible, theology, and current issues. His nationally syndicated radio talk show “Evidence and Answers” is broadcast on the KTLW Network (covering the West Coast), through all of Asia (through World Harvest Radio), and on the web at evidenceandanswers.org. Before joining Probe, Pat served for twelve years as an Associate Pastor. He can be reached at pzukeran@probe.org.

Earlier I mentioned another post I wrote about Steve Jobs, but I mentioned Francis Schaeffer above and here are some links to posts about his film series.

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 “Final Choices”

E P I S O D E 1 0 How Should We Then Live 10#1 FINAL CHOICES I. Authoritarianism the Only Humanistic Social Option One man or an elite giving authoritative arbitrary absolutes. A. Society is sole absolute in absence of other absolutes. B. But society has to be led by an elite: John Kenneth […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 9 “The Age of Personal Peace and Affluence”

E P I S O D E 9 How Should We Then Live 9#1 T h e Age of Personal Peace and Afflunce I. By the Early 1960s People Were Bombarded From Every Side by Modern Man’s Humanistic Thought II. Modern Form of Humanistic Thought Leads to Pessimism Regarding a Meaning for Life and for Fixed […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 8 “The Age of Fragmentation”

E P I S O D E 8 How Should We Then Live 8#1 I saw this film series in 1979 and it had a major impact on me. T h e Age of FRAGMENTATION I. Art As a Vehicle Of Modern Thought A. Impressionism (Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, Degas) and Post-Impressionism (Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 7 “The Age of Non-Reason”

E P I S O D E 7 How Should We Then Live 7#1 I am thrilled to get this film series with you. I saw it first in 1979 and it had such a big impact on me. Today’s episode is where we see modern humanist man act on his belief that we live […]