Friday, April 16, 2010

Intellectual Honesty Personified

Antony Flew died on April 8, 2010. For those who are not familiar with him, Professor Flew was, for a great portion of his academic career, considered the leading philosophical atheist in the world. He wrote several books defending his atheism and refuting the claims of anyone who believed in any kind of God.

Then, in 2004, Antony Flew announced to the world that he had become a deist. The enormity of his "conversion" to belief in some kind of deity is hard to fathom. It was a courageous move on his part considering the flack and derision he received from many of his skeptical and atheist colleagues. Interestingly, Flew attributed his change of mind to the strength of the arguments he saw in the Intelligent Design movement. The evidence was simply too strong for him to ignore.

If you want to read his own description of his intellectual journey his book, There Is A God: How The World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, is a quick and delightful read. Though (as far as I know) he never made the complete jump to Christian Theism, the book includes a concise, powerful account of the strongest argument he had ever heard regarding the resurrection of Jesus. It is an argument he received from a fellow British intellectual (and theologian), N.T. Wright that is outlined in Wright's massive tome, The Resurrection of the Son of God.

I don't think anyone who is realistic could claim they would be honestly open to changing their mind about something as huge as the basis for their entire worldview. I wish more of us (on both sides of the atheist - theist debate) would be. It is a rare and courageous person who could do such a thing.

One of Flew's favorite phrases was that he was determined to "follow the evidence wherever it leads." I greatly admire Antony Flew for his willingness to practice what he preached. I pray that he followed the Truth all the way to Christ, and that all of us would display the intellectual honesty and willingness to do the same.

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