23 April 2010

Atheist-turned-theist, Anthony Flew: RIP

One of the most prominent atheists-turned-theists in the 20th century, Anthony Flew, has died.

Prof. Flew was an exemplary philosophical critic of theism during his decades of intellectual toil.  He was widely respected by theists for his charitable argumentation and willingness to debate w/o the P.R. fireworks of rabble-rousers like Dawkins and Hitchens.  Like most British philosophers of his generation, he wrote with startling clarity, precision, and careful attention to the ideas of his opponents--again, in stark contrast to the New Atheists.

Late in life he came to embrace the existence of God based on the so-called "fine-tuning argument."  Though he did not espouse any particular form of sectarian theism, he noted in his last book, There Is a God:  How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind,* that, if pressed, he would be comfortable with a deistic understanding of Christianity (something like 19h century Anglican-Unitarianism, perhaps?).

Young theistic philosophers and theologians should be encouraged to study his early atheistic work with an eye toward honing their skills in answering sensible objections to basic theistic arguments.  
May he rest in peace. 

* Be sure to read the review comments on the Amazon site.  You will get a taste of the venom spewed by atheists who felt betrayed by Flew's conversion.  The god of reason that atheists claim to honor is little in evidence.

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