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April 23, 2010

Antony Flew, a former atheist who discovered God, RIP

World Pays Tribute on Death of Atheist Turned Believer

Leading academics, philosophers and members of the Christian faith across the world continue to pay tribute to Antony Flew, the famed British atheist and thinker who discovered God at the end of his life.

The renowned rationalist philosopher died earlier this month at age 87 and continues to be remembered in obituaries and tributes world-wide.

Those paying tribute to him include Catholic Theology professors from the Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, well known American rabbis such as Rabbi Brad Hirshfield from New York and leading philosphers from academia such as Dr Gary Habermas.

Describing Flew as one of the great intellectuals of his time, Rabbi Hirschfield lauded the Englishman's "intellectual generosity."

The son of a Methodist minister, Antony Flew spent most of his life denying the existence of God until just six years before his death when he dramatically changed his mind after studying research into genetics and DNA.

"The almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, show that intelligence must have been involved," he announced in 2004 and went on to make a video of his conversion called : "Has Science Discovered God."

Ironically, although modern day atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens claim in the rational world of science there is no proof of God exists, it is from the world of science that Antony Flew in his final years discovered "empirical evidence" that God exists, which overturned beliefs he had held for more than 60 years.

Like Einstein before him, Flew found that God was the only possible answer when it came to increasingly complex discoveries from sub atomic particles to the human genome to the very origins of the Cosmos.

"How can a universe of mindless matter produce beings with intrinsic ends, self replication capabilities and ‘coded chemistry'?" he asked, giving this as the main reason for his discovery of God in his final decade.

Flew's conclusion that there was in fact a God in his 81st year came as a shock to his fellow atheists, particularly Dawkins and Hitchens two of the world's most outspoken proponents of atheism.

But Flew refused to back down even when some of his former followers decided his volte-face on God was the result of old age dementia and confusion rather than scholarly research and intellectual rigour.

Flew's late life change of mind about God's existence was remarkable because of the huge volume of his writings which until then had embraced the atheist cause. Throughout most of his academic life he was adamant that one should presuppose atheism until there was empirical evidence to the contrary. Then in his final decade through as DNA and the human genome began to be understood along with the complexities of life, Flew found evidence which proved to him God exists and is the Creator of life. And from being a rationalist philosopher and non-believer for most of his life, one of the world's leading thinkers suddenly became a staunch believer.

"The most impressive arguments for God's existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries," he said. . . . (continue reading)

Bishop Vangheluwe of Bruges, Belgium, resigns

Another episcopal domino topples as public awareness of and outrage at the clergy sexual abuse problem increases in Europe. I wish this problem would evaporate quickly, like waking up from a nightmare, but my guess is that the more likely scenario will be a protracted agony of more dominoes falling for some time to come.

"When I was still just a priest, and for a certain period at the beginning of my episcopate, I sexually abused a minor from my immediate environment. The victim is still marked by what happened. Over the course of these decades I have repeatedly recognised my guilt towards him and his family, and I have asked forgiveness; but this did not pacify him, as it did not pacify me. The media storm of recent weeks has increased the trauma, and the situation is no longer tenable. I profoundly regret what I did and offer my most sincere apologies to the victim, to his family, to all the Catholic community and to society in general. I have presented my resignation as bishop of Bruges to Pope Benedict XVI. It was accepted on Friday and so I retire". . . . (continue reading -- more coverage here)