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The Religious Affiliation of World-Famous Philosopher, Former Atheist
Anthony Flew: alternative spelling: Antony Flew.
Flew was the son of a Methodist minister. He became an atheist at the age of 15 and was for fifty years one of the world's leading proponents of atheism. He taught philosophy at prestigious universities including Oxford, Aberdeen, Keele, and Reading universities in Britain. He lectured around the world and wrote many important books and articles proclaiming atheism and the impossibility of God. In 2004 he changed his mind, explaining in the video "Has Science Discovered God?" that based on scientific principles he believes there must be a God who is responsible for creating life as we know it. He further outlined his new position in the 2005 edition of his book God and Philosophy. Flew's concept of God is a pointedly Deist one. He specifically said he believes in "the non-interfering God of the people called Deists--such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin." [Source: The Secular Web; URL: http://www.secweb.org/asset.asp?AssetID=369] As for reports that he had been attending Quaker meetings, Flew explained that he had attended only 3 or 4 Quaker meetings, one of which was his cousin's wedding. He said the main attraction in Quakerism for him was "the lack of doctrines." The significance of the shift in Flew's thinking should not be exaggerated. He did not formally join a religious denomination, nor is his overall thinking substantially different from what it had been, aside from the fact that he used to believe in atheism and he now believes there must be a God.
From: Associated Press, "Famous Atheist Now Believes in God", ABC News, 9 December 2004; (URL: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=315976):
A British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than a half-century has changed his mind. He now believes in God more or less based on scientific evidence, and says so on a video released Thursday. At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England. Flew said he's best labeled a deist like Thomas Jefferson, whose God was not actively involved in people's lives... "[God] could be a person in the sense of a being that has intelligence and a purpose, I suppose." Flew first made his mark with the 1950 article "Theology and Falsification"... Over the years, Flew proclaimed the lack of evidence for God while teaching at Oxford, Aberdeen, Keele, and Reading universities in Britain, in visits to numerous U.S. and Canadian campuses and in books, articles, lectures and debates. There was no one moment of change but a gradual conclusion over recent months for Flew... Yet biologists' investigation of DNA "has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved," Flew says in the new video, "Has Science Discovered God?"... The first hint of Flew's turn was a letter to the August-September issue of Britain's Philosophy Now magazine. "It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism," he wrote... Flew's "name and stature are big. Whenever you hear people talk about atheists, Flew always comes up," [atheistic webpage author Richard] Carrier said [infidels.org]... A Methodist minister's son, Flew became an atheist at 15.
Webpage created 12 July 2005. Last modified 12 July 2005.
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