There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind [NOOK Book]

Overview

In one of the biggest religion news stories of the new millennium, the Associated Press announced that Professor Antony Flew, the world's leading atheist, now believes in God.

Flew is a pioneer for modern atheism. His famous paper, Theology and Falsification, was first presented at a meeting of the Oxford Socratic Club chaired by C. S. Lewis and went on to become the most widely reprinted philosophical publication of the last five decades. Flew earned his fame by arguing that ...

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There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind

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Overview

In one of the biggest religion news stories of the new millennium, the Associated Press announced that Professor Antony Flew, the world's leading atheist, now believes in God.

Flew is a pioneer for modern atheism. His famous paper, Theology and Falsification, was first presented at a meeting of the Oxford Socratic Club chaired by C. S. Lewis and went on to become the most widely reprinted philosophical publication of the last five decades. Flew earned his fame by arguing that one should presuppose atheism until evidence of a God surfaces. He now believes that such evidence exists, and There Is a God chronicles his journey from staunch atheism to believer.

For the first time, this book will present a detailed and fascinating account of Flew's riveting decision to revoke his previous beliefs and argue for the existence of God. Ever since Flew's announcement, there has been great debate among atheists and believers alike about what exactly this "conversion" means. There Is a God will finally put this debate to rest.

This is a story of a brilliant mind and reasoned thinker, and where his lifelong intellectual pursuit eventually led him: belief in God as designer.

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Editorial Reviews

Anthony Gottlieb
"Flew now thinks "the world picture ... that has emerged from modern science" points to an "infinite Intelligence" that brought the universe into being. He believes the fact that nature obeys precise mathematical laws, the fact that life and mind have emerged from inanimate matter, and the fact that the universe exists at all are best explained by positing a God."
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

British philosopher Flew has long been something of an evangelist for atheism, debating theologians and pastors in front of enormous crowds. In 2004, breathless news reports announced that the nonagenarian had changed his mind. This book tells why. Ironically, his arguments about the absurdity of God-talk launched a revival of philosophical theists, some of whom, like Alvin Plantinga and Richard Swinburne, were important in Flew's recent conversion to theism. Breakthroughs in science, especially cosmology, also played a part: if the speed or mass of the electron were off just a little, no life could have evolved on this planet. Perhaps the arrogance of the "New Atheists" also emboldened him, as Flew taunts them for failing to live up to the greatness of atheists of yore. The book concludes with an appendix by New Testament scholar and Anglican bishop N.T. Wright, arguing for the coherence of Christian belief in the resurrection. Flew praises Wright, though he maintains some distance still from orthodox Christianity. The book will be most avidly embraced by traditional theists seeking argumentative ammunition. It sometimes disappoints: quoting other authorities at length, citing religion-friendly scientists for pages at a time and belaboring side issues, like the claim that Einstein was really a religious believer of sorts. (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Booklist
“Flew couldn’t be more engaging and remain an analytic philosopher...”
American Spectator
“A most valuable and readable overview of the many evidential changes of landscape that 20th century science is furnishing to the oldest question in Western civilization: Is there a God?”
Denver Post
“In clear prose and brief chapters, Flew explains the four lines of evidence that convinced him....An intellectual conversion of great significance.”
The Catholic Herald
“The most lucid and penetrative pieces of philosophical theology to appear in years, altogether brilliant.”
John Polkinghorne
“A clear, accessible account of the ‘pilgrimage of reason’ which has led Flew to a belief in God.”
Ian H. Hutchinson
“Antony Flew’s book will incense atheists who suppose (erroneously) that science proves there is no God.”
Francis S. Collins
“Towering and courageous... Flew’s colleagues in the church of fundamentalist atheism will be scandalized.”
Richard Swinburne
“A very clear and readable book tracing his path back to theism, revealing his total openness to new rational arguments.”
Huston Smith
“This is a remarkable book in many ways.”
John Hick
"This is a fascinating and very readable account …"
Michael Behe
“A stellar philosophical mind ponders the latest scientific results. The conclusion: a God stands behind the rationality of nature.”
Ralph McInerny
“Antony Flew not only has the philosophical virtues; he has the virtues of the philosopher. Civil in argument, relentlessly reasonable….”
Nicholas Wolterstorff
“A fascinating record …it will come as a most uncomfortable jolt to those who were once his fellow atheists.”
Daniel N. Robinson
“Flew’s exposition will be a source for reflective inquiry for many, many years...”
Professor John Hick
“This is a fascinating and very readable account …”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061758171
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 155,606
  • File size: 698 KB

Meet the Author

Philosopher and former atheist Antony Flew set the agenda for modern atheism with his 1950 essay "Theology and Falsification," which became the most widely reprinted philosophical publication of the last half century. Flew has published over thirty books, including God and Philosophy, The Presumption of Atheism, and How to Think Straight. He spent twenty years as professor of philosophy at the University of Keele and has also held positions at Oxford, the University of Aberdeen, and the University of Reading. He now lives in Reading, England.

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Read an Excerpt

There Is a God

How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind
By Antony Flew

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Antony Flew
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061335297

Chapter One

The Creation of an Atheist

I was not always an atheist. I began life quite religiously. I was raised in a Christian home and attended a private Christian school. In fact, I am the son of a preacher.

My father was a product of Merton College, Oxford, and a minister of religion in the Wesleyan Methodist rather than the established church, the Church of England. Although his heart remained always in evangelism and, as Anglicans would say, in parish work, my own earliest memories of him are as tutor in New Testament studies at the Methodist theological college in Cambridge. Later he succeeded the head of that college and was to eventually retire and die in Cambridge. In addition to the basic scholarly and teaching duties of these offices, my father undertook a great deal of work as a Methodist representative in various interchurch organizations. He also served one-year terms as president of both the Methodist Conference and the Free Church Federal Council.

I would be hard-pressed to isolate or identify any signs in my boyhood of my later atheist convictions. In my youth, I attended Kingswood School in Bath, known informally as K.S. It was, and happilystill remains, a public boarding school (an institution of a kind that everywhere else in the English-speaking world would be described, paradoxically, as a private boarding school). It had been founded by John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, for the education of the sons of his preachers. (A century or more after the foundation of Kingswood School, Queenswood School was founded in order to accommodate the daughters of Methodist preachers in the appropriately egalitarian way.)

I entered Kingswood as a committed and conscientious, if unenthusiastic, Christian . I could never see the point of worship and have always been far too unmusical to enjoy or even participate in hymn singing. I never approached any religious literature with the same unrestrained eagerness with which I consumed books on politics, history, science, or almost any other topic. Going to chapel or church, saying prayers, and all other religious practices were for me matters of more or less weary duty. Never did I feel the slightest desire to commune with God.

Why I should be—from my earliest memory—generally uninterested in the religious practices and issues that so shaped my father's world I cannot say. I simply don't recall feeling any interest or enthusiasm for such observances. Nor do I think I ever felt my mind enchanted or "my heart strangely warmed," to use Wesley's famous phrase, in Christian study or worship. Whether my youthful lack of enthusiasm for religion was a cause or effect—or both—who can say? But I can say that whatever faith I had when I entered K.S. was gone by the time I finished.

A theory of devolution

I am told that the Barna Group, a prominent Christian demographic polling organization, concluded from its surveys that in essence what you believe by the time you are thirteen is what you will die believing. Whether or not this finding is correct, I do know that the beliefs I formed in my early teenage years stayed with me for most of my adult life.

Just how and when the change began, I cannot remember precisely. But certainly, as with any thinking person, multiple factors combined in the creation of my convictions. Not the least among these factors was what Immanuel Kant called "an eagerness of mind not unbecoming to scholarship," which I believe I shared with my father. Both he and I were disposed to follow the path of "wisdom" as Kant described it: "It is wisdom that has the merit of selecting, from among innumerable problems that present themselves, those whose solution is important to humankind." My father's Christian convictions persuaded him that there could be nothing more "important to humankind" than the elucidation, propagation, and implementation of whatever is in truth the teaching of the New Testament. My intellectual journey took me in a different direction, of course, but one that was no less marked by the eagerness of mind I shared with him.

I also recall being most beneficially reminded by my father on more than one occasion that when biblical scholars want to become familiar with some peculiar Old Testament concept, they do not try to find an answer simply by thinking it through on their own. Instead, they collect and examine, with as much context as they can find, all available contemporary examples of the employment of the relevant Hebrew word. This scholarly approach in many ways formed the basis of my earliest intellectual explorations—and one I have yet to abandon—of collecting and examining, in context, all relevant information on a given subject. It is ironic, perhaps, that the household in which I grew up very likely instilled in me the enthusiasm for critical investigation that would eventually lead me to reject my father's faith.

The face of evil

I have said in some of my later atheist writings that I reached the conclusion about the nonexistence of God much too quickly, much too easily, and for what later seemed to me the wrong reasons. I reconsidered this negative conclusion at length and often, but for nearly seventy years thereafter I never found grounds sufficient to warrant any fundamental reversal. One of those early reasons for my conversion to atheism was the problem of evil.

My father took my mother and me on annual summer holidays abroad. Although these would not have been affordable on a minister's salary, they were made possible because my father often spent the early part of summer examining for the Higher School Certificate Examinations Board (now called A-level examinations) and had been paid for that work. We were also able to travel abroad cheaply since my father was fluent in German after two years of theological study in the University of Marburg before World War I. He was thus able to take us on holiday in Germany, and . . .



Continues...

Excerpted from There Is a God by Antony Flew Copyright © 2007 by Antony Flew. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Preface     VII
Introduction     I
My Denial of the Divine     7
The Creation of an Atheist     9
Where the Evidence Leads     31
Atheism Calmly Considered     65
My Discovery of the Divine     83
A Pilgrimage of Reason     85
Who Wrote the Laws of Nature?     95
Did the Universe Know We Were Coming?     113
How Did Life Go Live?     123
Did Something Come from Nothing?     133
Finding Space for God     147
Open to Omnipotence     155
Appendices     159
The "New Atheism": A Critical Appraisal of Dawkins, Dennett, Wolpert, Harris, and Stenger   Roy Abraham Varghese     161
The Self-Revelation of God in Human History: A Dialogue on Jesus with N.T. Wright     185
Notes     215
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 27, 2011

    Eh, So So

    Wasn't exactly the content that I thought it was going to be. I doubt it will convince very many people who don't already peripherally believe.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 23, 2009

    A good book, will steer theists towards pandeism

    The brilliant thing about this book is that, as an account of an atheist accepting a metaphysical element to the story of the Universe, it will be embraced by religious thinkers -- but those who read Flew's logic will be drawn away from primitive theistic faiths and towards an enlightened pandeism, belief in a Creator of the Universe that exists as the Universe itself, and does not interfere with its goings-on.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2013

    Disappointing

    Flew has written many books that rank high on the list of insightful, intellectual and informative philosophy. Unfortunately, his latest book falls well short. A lifetime of philosophical expertise, and the best argument Flew can advance for the existence of God is "The watch and the watchmaker"? The quality of his arguments are more like one would see on Facebook, rather than a professional Christian Apologist, and nowhere close to his former works.
    I was very disappointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2009

    Book was great!

    Well worth the money

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted April 25, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted September 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted January 11, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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