Saturday, April 17, 2010

Reflections on the Death of Antony Flew

Word has spread fast since the world found out that former atheist Antony Flew died this past Thursday. Flew was a first class atheist as opposed to those who number among the New Atheists. His most popular book was God and Philosophy which has become a classic in atheist literature. He was marked by a keen intelligence and philosophical sophistication. He was considered a formidable opponent in debates. He debated some of the top Christian apologists including William Lane Craig, Terry Miethe and Gary Habermas. What sparked the most controversy was his late-life conversion from atheism to deism. The book that recounts what convinced him was aptly titled There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. Criticism was quick and sharp. Some accused him of being just a senile old man. Others alleged that the co-author of the book, Roy Abraham Varghese, was the real author of the book with little input from Flew. The inference was that Varghese blew things out of proportion to any thoughts Flew may have had about denying atheism.

Flew is reported to have said "I don't want a future life. I want to be dead when I'm dead and that's an end to it. I don't want an unending life. I don't want anything without end." I’m sorry Flew felt this way. As Christians we should pray for his family and friends as they grieve the loss of their loved one.

Flew said his conversion was as a result of “following the evidence.” We can pray that those who continue to read his books will follow the evidence as well. Pray that God will use the transparent honesty of a former atheist to show the way that leads not simply to theism but to Christianity in all its glory. Atheists are far better served by the model left by Flew in conversations and debates with Christians rather than the models of Hitchens or Dawkins. It will be a tribute to him if they debate hard, reason well and follow the evidence where it leads.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Thanks for this post, Louis. I hadn't heard.

You've written a nice tribute hear.