Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Death of a Deist

I saw in the paper yesterday that Anthony Flew had died. Back in his younger days, he was a notorious atheist. He, along with Bertrand Russell were like the Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens of our generation.

A few years ago, it was reported that he had abandoned his atheism as it were and had embraced the tenets of intelligent design. The Christian community that promotes the typical, popular apologetics of evidentialism, like Gary Habermas, who was Flew's personal friend, Greg Koukl, and Hank Hanegraaf, held Flew's intellectual turn about aloft as a trophy that demonstrated just how powerful the argumentation presented by ID advocates can be when considered by a person with the willingness to have an open mind and to evaluate the evidence upon its own merits.
According to Flew, he was compelled by the DNA evidence and could not reconcile what we were learning about DNA with the Darwinian notion of descent with modification over millions of years.

Now many would say such a turn about is a good thing. Right? Here was a man hostile to God and when he saw how the evidence so demolished his beliefs of atheism, there was nothing a truly intellectual man can do but abandon these faulty convictions for ones which comport to reality. At least that is how his change of mind was painted by the Christian apologists. The problem, however, is that Flew merely moved from atheism to deism, and as much as Greg Koukl considered such a move in the right direction a "good thing," according to scripture, it's a bad thing. Flew remained in rebellion against his creator until the very end as far as I know in spite of his positive acknowledgment of ID principles.

Going back all the way to the first week I started my blog, my second post as it were was on this exact subject of Flew's alleged "conversion." Or should I say "deconversion" from atheism. I present that post again, all five short paragraphs, and I believe it is just as relevant now as it was then five years ago.

I am sure many folks remember the stunning announcement toward the end of 2004 made by legendary atheist philosopher, Anthony Flew, of his abandonment of materialistic atheism as a credible means of explaining life on earth. He now professes to be a deist of some sorts who recognizes a higher cause, but still firmly rejects Christianity, because in his mind, the religion cannot adequately account for evil in the world. (As if any other world view can? I digress).

I gave a devotional on the subject that has been posted at my main website Fred's Bible Talk.
Those with MP3 capabilities can click the file and listen on line here.

Dr. Flew's "conversion" to deism, or theism with a little "t," only reveals the inability for the alleged evidence for God and creation to genuinely convince a person of his or her need for Jesus Christ. Dr. Flew has said in various interviews, the most candid being a dialog between himself and long time Christian friend, Dr. Gary Habermas, that he was challenged by the arguments Intelligent Design proponents are making in explaining the many complexities of our world, both biological and physical. Atheism fails to give a rational justification for such overwhelming evidence and according to Dr. Flew, he had to go "where the evidence takes him."

Yet, the so-called evidence does not take him far enough, because he still rejects God's sovereign authority. Dr. Flew states he cannot believe in the God of the Bible because all this God does is produce lots of evil. When I read such blasphemy, Paul's words from Romans 9:20 ring in my mind: "But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, 'why have you made me like this?'"

God's Word is clear that Dr. Flew's problem is not a matter of evidence. To be quite honest, the evidence for God screams in the faces of all men everywhere. No, Dr. Flew's problem is a spiritual/moral problem. He needs a new heart and a new mind to evaluate the clear evidence correctly, and according to scripture (Romans 1:20ff.), men and women like Dr. Flew will only continue to dismiss any and all evidence until he submits to his creator as being the only true God, and our savior, Jesus Christ, as the only means to be made right with his creator. Until that happens, all the arguments made by ID proponents Dr. Flew believes is compelling will only be suppressed by his rebellious heart and will only serve to condemn him before the very God he rejects.

Labels: ,


Blogger Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Hi Fred,

The ID proponents wouldn't disagree with you. They'd agree with you that Flew likely died as an unregenerate.

7:13 AM, April 16, 2010  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

They probably would, but our goal as Christians is to bring the sinner to salvation in Christ, not just convince them the evidence is true.
That is what I see as a major problem with this approach. I have heard Koukl say many times about situations like this that he is not wanting to tell anyone the gospel or talk about Jesus. His main objective is to just "put a stone in their shoe." That is not the gospel in my mind.

7:18 AM, April 16, 2010  
Blogger Lynda O said...

Indeed this does show man's total depravity and inability, and that only a rebirth from God can save man. Dr. Flew's "conversion" actually makes him worse off than before, since he sinned against the greater knowledge when he recognized a creator yet rejected Christ -- granted that all men are without excuse and have enough revelation to damn them, but by leaving atheism he has even less excuse before God and thus even greater punishment.

11:44 AM, April 16, 2010  
Blogger The Seeking Disciple said...

I read Flew's story on his move from atheism to theism but sadly, as far as I know, he never embraced Jesus as Lord. You make the point, and I fully agree with you, that its simply not enough to believe in God (James 2:19) but we must be Jesus' disciples to be saved (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:1-6). Our only hope for salvation is through Jesus Christ alone.

6:06 PM, April 16, 2010  

Post a Comment

<< Home