Christmas………….

A time for Christians to reflect,

A time for non-Christians to reconsider

many things…

 

–As one prominent Atheist recently did–

 

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In 2004, Antony Flew, the world’s notorious atheist¹, rethought what he’d believed most of his life,  gave up his atheism and became a deist² in the Jeffersonian sense.

The reason was the compelling arguments of the Intelligent Design movement which, briefly, rejects the idea that philosophical naturalism successfully explains the origin and development of the universe.

In his last published book, Flew (who died at 87 in 2004), the Oxford scholar, once crusading for atheism for a half century, announced, and gave extended reasons for, his very dramatic change of heart about belief in God.  And his new-found respect for Jesus the Messiah.  In the book’s concluding remarks, Andrew Flew emphasizes: “…no other religion enjoys anything like the combination of a charismatic figure like Jesus and a first-class intellectual like St. Paul.” 

                    —Antony Flew, There Is A God  (HarperCollins, 2007, p. 157.)

Further, in Appendix B, Flew lets Bishop N. T. Wright go further and outline a strong case for the resurrection of Jesus.

 

What happened? ask his colleagues.  Partly his continuing encounter with modern science in his latter years.  And how in science, as we’ve said, especially how the theory of Intelligent Design, now informs science and philosophy.  For more than half a century Flew (in the spirit of Plato’s Socrates) had simply been “following the argument no matter where it leads” (p. 75).   And while “proving” the existence God isn’t part of isn’t part of ID’s “design” or purpose, it’s certainly friendly to other evidences, especially those from history and places apart from science.  And for Flew came a growing respect for the Jesus of the Bible, though he did not, as far as we know, go as far as personally accepting Jesus as the Son of God.

At this time of year, we celebrate Jesus’ birth. It’s fitting to stop and consider once again Jesus’s teaching, and the the Bible, have affected the world–especially in ways that science hasn’t, and can never do.

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¹ “Notorious atheist” is a common description in many newspaper accounts.  It’s not my term.

² “Deism” admits there is a god of some kind, but that after an original creation of matter and energy,”he” essentially “walked away” from whatever happened or happens afterwards. The God of the Bible, and the Bible itself, has no necessary connection with ID theory. If Christians warm up to considering Intelligent Design, it is because Naturalism, or Materialism comes up short in providing proof.