FLEW: Consistent with Russell’s comments that you mention, Russell would
have regarded these developments as evidence. I think we can be sure that
Russell would have been impressed too, precisely because of his comments to
which you refer. This would have produced an interesting second dialogue between
him and that distinguished Catholic philosopher, Frederick Copleston.
HABERMAS: In recent years you’ve been called the world’s most
influential philosophical atheist. Do you think Russell, Mackie, or Ayer would
have been bothered or even angered by your conversion to theism? Or do you
think that they would have at least understood your reasons for changing your
FLEW: I’m not sure how much any of them knew about Aristotle. But I
am almost certain that they never had in mind the idea of a God who was not
the God of any revealed religion. But we can be sure that they would have
examined these new scientific arguments.
HABERMAS: C. S. Lewis explained in his autobiography that he moved first
from atheism to theism and only later from theism to Christianity. Given your
great respect for Christianity, do you think that there is any chance that
you might in the end move from theism to Christianity?
FLEW: I think it’s very unlikely, due to the problem of evil. But, if
it did happen, I think it would be in some eccentric fit and doubtfully orthodox
form: regular religious practice perhaps but without belief. If I wanted any
sort of future life I should become a Jehovah’s Witness. But some things
I am completely confident about. I would never regard Islam with anything
but horror and fear because it is fundamentally committed to conquering the
world for Islam. It was because the whole of Palestine was part of the land
of Islam that Muslim Arab armies moved in to try to destroy Israel at birth,
and why the struggle for the return of the still surviving refugees and their
numerous descendents continue to this day.
HABERMAS: I ask this last question with a smile, Tony. But just think
what would happen if one day you were pleasantly disposed toward Christianity
and all of a sudden the resurrection of Jesus looked pretty good to you?
FLEW: Well, one thing I’ll say in this comparison is that, for goodness
sake, Jesus is an enormously attractive charismatic figure, which the Prophet
of Islam most emphatically is not.
“Christianity Challenges the University: An International Conference of
Theists and Atheists,” Dallas, Texas, February 7–10, 1985, organized
by Roy Abraham Varghese.
See Gary R. Habermas and Antony G. N. Flew, Did Jesus Rise from the
Dead? The Resurrection Debate, ed. Terry L. Miethe (San Francisco: Harper & Row,
1987; Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2003).
Some examples by Antony Flew include “Miracles and Methodology,” in
Hume’s Philosophy of Belief: A Study of His First Inquiry (London:
Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1961); “The Credentials of Revelation:
Miracle and History,” in God and Philosophy (New York: Dell, 1966); “Miracles,” in
Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Paul Edwards (New York: Macmillan, 1967); “The
Impossibility of the Miraculous,” in Hume’s Philosophy of Religion,
(Winston-Salem, NC: Wake Forest University Press, 1985); introduction to
Of Miracles, by David Hume (La Salle, IL: Open Court, 1985); “Neo-Humean
Arguments about the Miraculous” in In Defence of Miracles: A Comprehensive
Case for God’s Action in History, ed. R. Douglas Geivett and Gary
R. Habermas (Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press, 1997).
Some examples by Gary Habermas include The Risen Jesus and Future Hope
(Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003); The Historical Jesus: Ancient
Evidence for the Life of Christ (Joplin, MO; College, 1996); The Resurrection
of Jesus: An Apologetic (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1980; Lanham, MD: University
Press of America, 1984); “Knowing that Jesus’ Resurrection
Occurred: A Response to Stephen Davis,” Faith and Philosophy 2 (1985):
295–302; “Resurrection Claims in Non-Christian Religions,” Religious
Studies 25 (1989): 167–77; “The Late Twentieth-Century Resurgence
of Naturalistic Responses to Jesus’ Resurrection,” Trinity
Journal 22 (2001): 179–96. For a more popular treatment, see Habermas
and Michael R. Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Grand Rapids,
MI: Kregel, 2004).
Gary R. Habermas and Antony G. N. Flew, Resurrected? An Atheist and
Theist Debate, ed. John Ankerberg (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield,
The dialogue took place as a part of the Veritas Forum and is accessible
Telephone conversation, September 9, 2004.
Both participants also agreed to the title of the interview.
John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press,
Gerald L. Schroeder, The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific
and Biblical Wisdom (New York: Broadway Books, 1998).
Letter from Antony Flew, November 9, 2000.
Antony Flew, “God and the Big Bang” (lecture, 2000), 5–6;
this is a lecture commemorating the 140th anniversary of the British Association
meeting regarding Charles Darwin’s The Origin of the Species.
C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan, 1980), especially
Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind (London: Hutchinson, 1948).
G. W. Leibniz, Theodicy, ed. A. Farrer, trans. E. M. Huggard (1710;
London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1965).
Donald W. Livingston, Philosophical Melancholy and Delirium: Hume’s
Pathology of Philosophy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 150.
Antony Flew, Social Life and Moral Judgment (New Brunswick, NH: Transaction,
Antony Flew, “Selves,” Mind (1949): 355–8.
Antony Flew, The Logic of Mortality (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987).
Richard Swinburne, The Evolution of the Soul (Oxford: Clarendon, 1986).
Antony Flew, Merely Mortal? Can You Survive Your Own Death? (Amherst,
NY: Prometheus, 2000).
For many cases see Gary R. Habermas and J. P. Moreland, Beyond Death:
Exploring the Evidence for Immortality (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1998; Eugene,
OR: Wipf and Stock, 2003), chapters 7–9.
Letter from Antony Flew, September 6, 2000.
Joseph Butler, Butler’s Works, ed. W. E. Gladstone (Oxford: Clarendon,
Antony Flew, A New Approach to Psychical Research (London: C. A. Watts,
Letter from Antony Flew, September 6, 2000.
Flew, “God and the Big Bang,” 2. Habermas’s influence
on Flew’s statement here is noted in Flew’s letter of November
9, 2000 (cf. note 11 above).
Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, q.23, a.3.
Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 3, chapter 67.
Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, III, supp.94, a.1–3.
Qur’an 2, trans. Arthur J. Arberry (Oxford: Oxford University Press,
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. J. C. A. Gaskin (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1998), 416, chapter 44.
This is the version of the Qur’an as “interpreted” by
Arthur Arberry, in the Oxford University Press edition.
D. J. West, Eleven Lourdes Miracles (London: George Duckworth, 1957).
Bernard Smith, The Fraudulent Gospel: Politics and the World Council
of Churches (London: Foreign Affairs, 1977).
See, for example, Bertrand Russell, Bertrand Russell Speaks His Mind,
ed. Woodrow Wyatt (New York: Bard Books, 1960), 19–20.