Home » Atheism » Professor Antony Flew dies at 87

Professor Antony Flew dies at 87

Roy Varghese has just notified me of the death of Professor emeritus Antony Flew, the rationalist philosopher who died on April 8 aged 87, spent much of his life denying the existence of God, and then in 2004, dramatically changed his mind.

Here is Britain’s Telegraph’s obituary.

I feel lonely now. I remember sitting in the window seat at the U rez in about 1968, studying Flew. He really made people think.

Varghese is kind enough to thank me for contributions I have made to the discussion – essentially defending Flew.

For the record, here are some of those items:

Flew calls Dawkins a bigot – and I would say he has a pretty good case. On that point, also here.

New atheists vs the ex-atheist

Response to hit review of Flew’s “There IS a God” in The New York Times.

Antony Flew: Is emotion really better than reason in religious matters?

Antony Flew: The authorship controversy

Antony Flew: Author or puppet?

Antony Flew: Is he too old to believe in God?

Why lifelong atheist Antony Flew decided there must be a God

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15 Responses to Professor Antony Flew dies at 87

  1. World Famous Atheist, Anthony Flew, Converts To Theism – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4209283

  2. Let us pray that his discussions with Habermas and others eventually led Him to give himself to Christ. I hear prayers may just work retroactively!

  3. Are you serious? I only came on here to see if Paul Nelson really did link to that recent ICP video, only to find that one of my newest idols is dead???

    The internet has really done a number on me lately. :D

    BTW: Flew was a DEIST, not a theist. In particular, he was one who rejected the possibility of any kind of afterlife. Either he has now changed his mind, or he literally doesn’t have an opinion on the matter anymore.

  4. Antony Flew is something of a hero of mine, because he had the courage to follow the evidence where it ultimately led, late in life (especially difficult), even though the new evidence invalidated to a great extent the relevance and purpose of his previous life’s work. This is tough, and I have some experience in the arena of a major worldview shift that requires abandoning everything one philosophically held dear in favor of evidence that suggests everything one always believed, about everything that ultimately matters, is wrong.

    I believe that C.S. Lewis and Antony Flew have laid up some amazing treasures in heaven, and I would love to hear their debates now.

  5. Having dealt with aged people, I can safely say that many, even when afflicted with cognitive losses, can see clearly what they missed before. Sometimes, it is a sad moment, but a healing one. I pray for safe landing for all. We are instructed to think of God as compassionate, and I know no reason to doubt it.

  6. I have prayed many times since Flew’s conversion to theism that he would accept Christ as his Saviour. Reading his book, There Is A God, and the responses/counter responses I came to have a great deal of respect and care for the man.
    One last prayer.

  7. Professor Flew may have come to believe in a God but that is not enough. GilDodgen, Professor Flew will have no conversation with C.S. Lewis if he died as a Deist. I hope this is not the case but no Prayers will avail now. It is too late.

  8. I was always an admirer of Flew even when he was an atheist, he was always thoughtful, displayed a wide-ranging knowledge, was always humble, cautious and interesting. A genuine philosopher in the real sense of the word.

    However going by some of the responses above I have to say if I were P Z Myers or Dawkins I would be all over this thread. If UD and ID wants to be seen as more than just Creationism in a tuxedo, if ID scientists and academics and journalists like O’Leary want to make the case for ID being science and not Creationism, then thread commentary like this one on one of the most important ID blogs are about as much help as barrels of gasoline in putting out a forest fire. My point is – let me spell it out – that blogs like this one need to attract a less fundamentalist commentary, or at least a more varied one, if they are going to be taken seriously at all. And I say that as an IDist.

    I don’t want to start a flame-war, this is just some friendly advice, take it or leave it.

    How does that song go, I see trouble ahead but while there’s moonlight and music and love and romance..

  9. zephyr,

    The commentary on this blog is actually very varied. We have atheists, deists, Theistic Evolutionists, IDists, YECs, etc who regularly contribute to this blog.

    Most articles posted are science centered, but many branch out to theology, philosophy, culture and history.

  10. zephyr at 8, please,

    A prominent philosopher has just died, and we will hear a variety of opinions about his life and work.

    I agree that opinions about his ultimate fate are in poor taste, as they would be at the reception after a funeral.

    Obits are not the general business of this list anyway, but we pause to remember the noble dead, and people offer the tributes they think fit.

    If someone wants to be “all over” this list, please be advised that we have a troll monitor. So they had better not try it here.

    “Say nothing but good of the dead” is an old and wise maxim.

  11. I read his paper, “Theology and Falsification” in the late 70′s and although in disagreement, was stunned by his reasoning skills and insight. Yet his intellectual honesty led him to toss it, along with his GOD AND PHILOSOPHY aside. What a courageous man.

    Dr. Flew, RIP.

  12. The commentary on this blog is actually very varied. We have atheists, deists, Theistic Evolutionists, IDists, YECs, etc who regularly contribute to this blog.

    And don’t forget UD’s resident ex-atheist. :-)

    In Flew’s interview with Habermas there is constant reference to Flew’s conversion to theism.

    I read Flew’s last book and followed his conversion in great detail, because I have much in common with him.

    It takes one to know one (although I was a mindless robotic atheist like Dawkins, while Flew was never anything of the sort).

    It is transparently clear that Flew, despite his former atheism, had great respect for Christianity. This is undeniable when one reads his writings and transcripts of his interviews over the last few years.

    Flew has provided much inspiration for people like I was: It’s never too late to follow the evidence where it ultimately leads. This is the treasure laid up in heaven that I mentioned.

    Only God knows a person’s heart. I’m putting my money on Flew as an example of the thief on the cross, to whom Jesus declared: “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

  13. However going by some of the responses above I have to say if I were P Z Myers or Dawkins I would be all over this thread. If UD and ID wants to be seen as more than just Creationism in a tuxedo, if ID scientists and academics and journalists like O’Leary want to make the case for ID being science and not Creationism, then thread commentary like this one on one of the most important ID blogs are about as much help as barrels of gasoline in putting out a forest fire.

    PZ Myers spends very little time talking about science and almost all of his posts are merely slams against the dumbest religious people he can find, or the Pope, or (recently, and apropos of nothing) Alice von Hildebrand, or the latest survey being run by Christians that he and his suckup fanboys can storm, etc, ad nauseum. Should mainstream evolutionary biology, then, be regarded as the lowest form of know-nothing atheism dressed up in a cheap leotard?

  14. Our hope is that the seeker will find. We do not even need to truly know we are seeking, just to be a little bit open.

    Anthony Flew was a real seeker. Like all of us he was flawed and probably made his journey more difficult than it needed to be. That being said, we do know that he was moving in the right direction.

    May he rest with God.

  15. Read Christ’s own description of the Last Judgment in Matthew’s gospel, the only one in the whole of Judaeo-Christian scripture, and you will see that you are mistaken.

    The criterion is not credence qua intellectual assent, but the expression of it in terms of practical compassion for those in need or trouble of some kind. As James pointed out, even the devil believes and trembles.

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