There Is A God (book review)

There Is A GodIt’s a mark of a strong, confident person that can admit, “I was wrong. I made a mistake.” Anthony Flew is just such a strong man. His book is called There Is A God: How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind.

The one sentence summary of this book could be: Anthony Flew was a noted philosopher who concluded there was no God, but then was persuaded to rethink his position and came to a complete reversal. But that would sell his story short.

The real meat-and-potatoes of the book are the arguments which helped change Anthony Flew’s mind. This, I must warn you, is no easy reading. The arguments are so nuanced and metaphysical at times, that it really requires a careful reading. This was not a book I could speed read, because the chain of logic in the arguments was simply too good to miss anything.

I throughly appreciated the candor with which Flew shared his metamorphosis from atheist to Theist. The book also includes two appendices which address the current state of modern atheism, and an interview with N.T. Wright on Jesus being God Incarnate.

If you are ready to study some of the atheistic and theistic arguments that the brightest apologists for both viewpoints are presenting today, then this is the book for you! I thought the journey of discovery was fantastic and mind-expanding!

8 Responses to “There Is A God (book review)”

  1. Atomic Mutant Says:

    Honestly, I was never impressed by the “We don’t know how X can happen, so X cannot happen, thus god” argument. It’s a really weak argument and a god of the gaps on top of that. Never understood how Flew could accept that as a central point for a divine being.

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    • Craig T. Owens Says:

      There are many more arguments presented in the book. If you haven’t read it yet, you really should.

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      • Linuxgal Says:

        There’s always a far end of the bell curve. Flew lost his confidence at the end and decided to take Pascal’s Wager. If Jesus really is the creator of heaven and earth he will probably put Flew’s shade in with the death row last-minute converts and all the atheists who ended up in World War I foxholes.

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        • Craig T. Owens Says:

          Have you read this book? My take was the Flew was convinced by the arguments, not scared into a deathbed conversion. In fact, Flew himself says he has only “converted” from an atheist to a theist (not a Christian).

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  2. Linuxgal Says:

    What you fail to mention in this article, and it’s difficult to see from the low-resolution image of the cover, is that the book was ghost-written by Roy Abraham Varghese and includes a great deal of content that Flew himself could not recall during subsequent interviews. And so to answer your query, no I have not read this book, for the simple reason that Flew didn’t write it.

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  3. moine (@moinedeisme) Says:

    There seems to be a certain amount of “dancing in the end zone” from christians over Flew’s change of position away from atheism. The inference being that somehow atheism isn’t a valid conclusion to hold any longer. [Fallacy of Argument from Authority] I would say, based on Flew’s own words from his interview with Habermas, that the closest he got to theism was a panthiest/deist view a la Einstein. He certainly never embraced any form of monotheism. Hardly a ringing endorsement for today’s christianity.

    To summarize the Aristotlean definition of god:
    Aristotle identifies a “Mover” as God, but this figure is unlike standard models of a divine being. He asserts it is a living creature and represents the pinnacle of goodness, it also has no interest in the world, no recognition of man, for it exists in a completely metaphysical and abstract state. The activity of God is simply knowledge of itself, because an abstracted being is above sense and experience. He believed that god would have no knowledge of evil. His conception is full of paradoxes. God is the ultimate cause of everything in the world, but it also remains completely detached.

    Reading the interview [http://www.forananswer.org/Top_Ath/Exclusive%20Interview%20with%20Former%20Atheist%20Antony%20Flew.pdf ]
    strips some of the illusory commentary by Habermas found in his book, and leaves a clearer idea of Flew’s positions in my opinion. It’s an interesting read.

    In conclusion, reasoning didn’t stop with Aristotle, or the five ways of Aquinas, or any of the other successive philosophers up to and including including Dr. Flew. Many have built on their foundations and come to differing conclusions. The existence of god is still a very open question. I don’t place any faith in anything beyond the boundaries of my knowledge.

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    • Craig T. Owens Says:

      Dear Moine,
      I cannot speak to others’ dancing in the end zone, but I was impressed by the depth of the arguments presented in this book. I never made the claim that atheism isn’t a valid conclusion, but was simply impressed that someone like Anthony Flew, who held his atheist position for so long, would be open to consider other arguments. And I certainly agree with you that this book presents no “Christianity conversion” on Flew’s part, but simply a shift from atheism to theism.

      Further, I agree with you that reasoning didn’t stop (or start, for that matter) with Aristotle. I am always impressed and a little intimidated when I read the profound thoughts of philosophers like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. I am also intrigued by David Conway’s observation: “In sum, to the Being who he considered to be the explanation of the world and its broad form, Aristotle ascribed the following attributes: immutability, immateriality, omnipotence, omniscience, oneness or indivisibility, perfect goodness and necessary existence. There is an impressive correspondence between this set of attributes and those traditionally ascribed to God within the Judaeo-Christian tradition. It is one that fully justifies us in viewing Aristotle as having had the same Divine Being in mind as the cause of the world that is the object of worship of these two religions.” I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this too.

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with me!

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  4. A.L.I.V.E.—The “L” Is For Lives Changed | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] discovery of the Divine has been a pilgrimage of reason and not of faith,” wrote Flew in his book There Is A God, which is why last week I shared the first way we can know Jesus is alive in “A” is for […]

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