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Atheists Tuesday: The Death of a (Former) Atheist

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Antony Flew was a respected life-long atheist who stirred the unbelieving world when he cast off his unbelief and acknowledged that there probably was a God. Sadly, he fell short of believing that God was personal, and, ultimately died without Christ. This short biographical sketch from the estimable Albert Mohler shows that while rejection of atheism is encouraging, one’s rejection of Christianity is a warning. Unforunately, rejecting atheism is simply not enough.

The Death of a (Former) Atheist:
Antony Flew, 1923-2010

by Dr. Albert Mohler

The death [in April 2010] of Antony Flew brings an end to one of the most interesting lives in twentieth century philosophy. Throughout the last half of that century, Professor Flew was recognized as one of the most significant philosophical advocates of atheism, eventually writing at least 35 works, many arguing for the non-existence of God. Then, at age 81, Antony Flew changed his mind. God, he explained, probably does exist.  Click here to read the rest.

14 Comments

  1. Actually, deism isn’t all that stirring. It merely presents a god with no identity as a hypothesis for first cause. There’s little altercation of one’s personality and worldview. I find it a bit pointless, but it’s one of the most reasonable kinds of theism.

  2. “By 2004, Flew publicly denied that life could have emerged from matter alone.”

    I’m not sure a philosopher is the best authority on how life could have emerged. Wouldn’t that fall under life science?

    “Many prominent Christians, now and in the past, were once fervent atheists.”

    And? I’m unimpressed unless they’ve changed their minds for solid reasons, other than just emotional ones. (I’m thinking specifically of Strobel and Zacharias here.)

  3. Hmmm I thought the discussion of Chick Tracts was going to occur sometime soon. It was an interesting article nonetheless. I have to agree with Perdita though, a philosopher changing his mind about something is hardly worth batting an eye lash at, its more like a ‘See! See! The atheist changed his mind right before he passed on type deal!’ He could have adopted deism, its quite easy to do, I have a lot of Christian friends who are deist and utterly reject the dogma of the Bible and don’t even try and defend it.

  4. Vin –

    Why do you call them “Christian” friends?
    A Christian by definition is someone who follows and has put his faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
    Going to church, reading your bible, none of that make someone Christian. I hope you know that. A TRUE Christian is someone who has repented of their sins and put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
    He is the one who gave his life on the cross to pay for our sins.

    Someone that calls themselves a Christian without having repented and without having faith and trust in Jesus Christ – is NOT a follower of Christ – therefore is NOT a Christian.

    Might be better to say your religious friends, or false convert friends, or something along those lines. Not believing the bible also a huge indicator of not really being a Christian.

    Just saying.

  5. @ Dennis

    You can have faith in Jesus and not believe the Bible and get saved Dennis. When Jesus was on the cross, the thief that was hanging next to him didn’t have a Bible and he wasn’t a follower of Jesus but he asked him to save him. Jesus responded by saying he’d be in heaven with him. All he had to do was believe and asked to be saved. Which is why I still call my Christian friends who aren’t dogmatic about the Bible Christian, because they argue for Christ and believe in him as Savior and Lord. Its merely convenient for you to assume they’re false converts or ‘religious’ just because they aren’t dogmatic with the Bible or fundamentalist.

  6. Dennis,

    I’d be careful. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’re trying to stir things up a bit…

    Since Deism was mentioned I thought I’d include this. I am fascinated with the back-and-forth of people regarding our Founding Fathers and whether or not they were deists. This website is a good read for anyone interested.

    http://citizentom.com/2008/09/10/deism-and-the-founding-fathers/

  7. “Many prominent Christians, now and in the past, were once fervent atheists.”

    And, contrariwise, many prominent atheists, now and in the past, were once fervent Christians. Not really seeing the point.

  8. Well put Dennis, well put!

  9. Hi Vin

    You said your Christian friends are deists.
    That would be like me saying I am a Muslim Christian.
    It doesn’t make sense.
    Looking up a definition of the beliefs deists hold is in complete opposition to those beliefs I hold as a born again believer in Christ.

    Also if you take away God’s word and still claim to be saved and believe in Jesus Christ – where do you get your information? Does the information that confirms your salvation not come from the very word of God? Otherwise you might as well be a Mormom they believe in Jesus to some extent. Or you can be Jehova, or any number of cults.

    When you chose to ignore the word of God as truth – and instead pick and chose what you like / don’t like. Well that pretty much leaves you open to make your own religion, with a god of your own making.
    A god that doesn’t exist sorry to say.

    Seems to me from reading your posts that you don’t like to be accountable to the God of the Bible. That you see yourself as a “good” person and never having acknowledged what sin is – who Jesus really is -and really tried to understand the Gospel.

    The thief on the cross made it into Heaven because Jesus saw his repentant heart and belief in Him as Lord and Savior. The whole point of that story is that you don’t earn your way into Heaven – it’s by grace alone that we are saved. Salvation is a gift from God. There is NOTHING that thief could offer other than repentance and faith. God does the rest. Catholics, Muslims, Jehova’s, Mormon’s all believe they have to do works to earn salvation. The bible (which you dismiss) tells us that we are saved by grace alone. Even our righteous deeds are as filthy rags in the eyes of the Lord. Think about it. What can you honestly offer to God? Your next breath is in the hands of allmighty God.

    If your friends dismiss the Bible where do they get fed? Do they go to church? Maybe a church where they don’t crack open the Bible like one of those ever so popular emergent churches? Maybe have a cup of coffee and say how Jesus is your homeboy?

    Curious…

    Also the topic with Anthony Flew being a deist – just shows that there are not many hardcore atheists. You might not believe in a god – but you just don’t know – and so it brings you to being agnostic.
    Also sad that Anthony Flew believed that there must be a god – but even the demons believe and tremble. Sadly his belief in a god did not lead to salvation. I pray that those visiting this blog would not end up the same way – but that God would have mercy and bring salvation.

    Vin – I pray that God would shine deep down into your heart and reveal His truth, His love, and His glory that it would lead you to that place of being broken and repentant before the King of Kings. That you would bow your knee and humbly ask for that forgiveness only He can provide. That you would be Born Again – as Jesus said to Nicodemus.
    You must be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of God.

  10. Since you’re kidnapping the thread 🙂

    “I am fascinated with the back-and-forth of people regarding our Founding Fathers and whether or not they were deists.”

    There shouldn’t be a back-and-forth. Saying they were deists is just as wrong as saying they were Christians and completely misses the complexity and diversity of their beliefs.

    “During the time of the Founding Fathers, Americans were not especially tolerant of non-Christians.” (from the article)

    A good point that shouldn’t be overlooked.

    “If these men were Deists, then they were Christian Deists. ”

    What does that even mean? Some of the F.F.’s didn’t believe in the divinity of Jesus. I’m sure most of the Christians that read here would consider that of utmost importance to labeling someone ‘Christian’.

    ‘He attended church services, but in the later part of his life he was not a communicant.”

    Washington was famous for not participating in communion. His beliefs seem to have been shaped more by Masonry than his stated religion.

    “And Jefferson scoured the Bible for something in which he could believe.”

    LOL – Jefferson ripped out anything that smacked of the supernatural.

  11. @ Dennis

    Isn’t that the point Dennis? Ray Comfort loves to say things like how he hates religion. That you can be a Mormon or a Witness or a Catholic and get saved, all you have to do is believe in Jesus as your lord and Savior, it doesn’t matter what denomination you belong to. In Luke the criminal that joined Jesus in heaven merely admitted that he was a sinner and said to Jesus, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” He could have believed he was God, as far as looking into his heart it never stated that in the Bible in Luke though it might be implied, but again if its never written down one is free to imply whatever one wishes, which is why specifics are a must when this stuff is the most important information every human being needs to know.

    And when it comes to taking away God’s word, millions of people have lived and died on this planet without hearing God’s word but yet I’ve heard some Christians say that ignorance is not an excuse, which always boggles my mind in that if God wanted everyone in the world to know about Jesus and how to get saved he’d proclaim it to everyone alah Moses or Job or any of the other people he’s spoken with in the past. If he loves us would he not tell us ALL these things? Why rely on a book with errors that contradict reality that took HUNDREDS of years to spread around be the best method for which an all powerful deity informs people about what he wants, what to do, what not to do, and how to get saved. Especially when there were humans all around the globe unaware that the only way to get saved was to believe in Jesus as Christ and to get baptized. Think of all those millions of people who were condemned to hell because the Bible hadn’t arrived in their part of the world yet.

    I also find it funny that you condemn other religions because of their ‘good works’ when they stress belief in Christ just as much as you do and baptize accordingly. Unless you’re referring to indulgences which were stopped in the church after the reformation. I’ve never had a priest tell me if I do enough good deeds I get into heaven. Also I’d be a bit more respectful of Catholics because without them you wouldn’t even have a religion in the first place.

    And finally, you can read my posts and make all the assumptions about me you want Dennis, you assume I don’t want to be accountable for anything I do, not sure how many times I’ve posted that I’ve prayed to God, admitted my sins, asked for forgiveness, and trusted in Jesus to save me. Doesn’t mean I have to turn off my brain or stop scratching my head when the Genesis account doesn’t make any sense. That whole world wide flood thing just hurts my sense of logic and reasoning that God saw fit to give me.

    And I understand your problem Dennis, you feel that if you discount or dismiss parts of the Bible that would mean that God lied or that you can’t trust any part of it if some of it is not valid. For you its sort of an all or nothing sort of thing. You sneer at people who choose to cherry pick it when things in it don’t make sense to them, can’t be interpreted, or can’t be applied to modern society (Such as what people are acceptable to be slaves in God’s opinion) but most people who are Christian are smart enough to know that a many parts of the Bible are allegorical and not literal, and that anything pertaining to the Golden Rule, or just common sense stuff in the Ten Commandments are worth obeying, whereas the stuff in Leviticus and Deuteronomy are garbage and should no longer be obeyed anymore because they’re reprehensible.

    Think about it, did the Hebrews really need God to tell them, Thou Shalt Not Kill, in order for them not to kill each other. I think its pretty safe to assume they had figured that out already otherwise they would have never made it out of Egypt.

  12. Perdita,

    I wasn’t trying to hijack the thread. Sorry! For the record, I don’t believe they were deists. That’s why I am fascinated by the whole “debate” if you will.

    Your comments are exactly why I am fascinated. And I would love to get my hands on a Thomas Jefferson Bible. It’d be an interesting read, no doubt.

  13. Bizzle, it’s on-line. Google “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.”

  14. Thanks Perdita,

    I will check it out, but I want to get a copy of the book as well. I’m one of those that likes holding the book in my hands.

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