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http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=315976


Famous Atheist Now Believes in God
One of World's Leading Atheists Now Believes in God, More or Less, Based on Scientific Evidence
The Associated PressThe Associated Press

NEW YORK Dec 9, 2004 ? A British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than a half-century has changed his mind. He now believes in God more or less based on scientific evidence, and says so on a video released Thursday.

At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England.

Flew said he's best labeled a deist like Thomas Jefferson, whose God was not actively involved in people's lives.

"I'm thinking of a God very different from the God of the Christian and far and away from the God of Islam, because both are depicted as omnipotent Oriental despots, cosmic Saddam Husseins," he said. "It could be a person in the sense of a being that has intelligence and a purpose, I suppose."


Flew first made his mark with the 1950 article "Theology and Falsification," based on a paper for the Socratic Club, a weekly Oxford religious forum led by writer and Christian thinker C.S. Lewis.

Over the years, Flew proclaimed the lack of evidence for God while teaching at Oxford, Aberdeen, Keele, and Reading universities in Britain, in visits to numerous U.S. and Canadian campuses and in books, articles, lectures and debates.

There was no one moment of change but a gradual conclusion over recent months for Flew, a spry man who still does not believe in an afterlife.

Yet biologists' investigation of DNA "has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved," Flew says in the new video, "Has Science Discovered God?"

The video draws from a New York discussion last May organized by author Roy Abraham Varghese's Institute for Metascientific Research in Garland, Texas. Participants were Flew; Varghese; Israeli physicist Gerald Schroeder, an Orthodox Jew; and Roman Catholic philosopher John Haldane of Scotland's University of St. Andrews.

The first hint of Flew's turn was a letter to the August-September issue of Britain's Philosophy Now magazine. "It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism," he wrote.

The letter commended arguments in Schroeder's "The Hidden Face of God" and "The Wonder of the World" by Varghese, an Eastern Rite Catholic layman.

This week, Flew finished writing the first formal account of his new outlook for the introduction to a new edition of his "God and Philosophy," scheduled for release next year by Prometheus Press.

Prometheus specializes in skeptical thought, but if his belief upsets people, well "that's too bad," Flew said. "My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato's Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads."

Last week, Richard Carrier, a writer and Columbia University graduate student, posted new material based on correspondence with Flew on the atheistic www.infidels.org Web page. Carrier assured atheists that Flew accepts only a "minimal God" and believes in no afterlife.

Flew's "name and stature are big. Whenever you hear people talk about atheists, Flew always comes up," Carrier said. Still, when it comes to Flew's reversal, "apart from curiosity, I don't think it's like a big deal."

Flew told The Associated Press his current ideas have some similarity with American "intelligent design" theorists, who see evidence for a guiding force in the construction of the universe. He accepts Darwinian evolution but doubts it can explain the ultimate origins of life.

A Methodist minister's son, Flew became an atheist at 15.

Early in his career, he argued that no conceivable events could constitute proof against God for believers, so skeptics were right to wonder whether the concept of God meant anything at all.

Another landmark was his 1984 "The Presumption of Atheism," playing off the presumption of innocence in criminal law. Flew said the debate over God must begin by presuming atheism, putting the burden of proof on those arguing that God exists.
 

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It seems that as people begin to reach their latter years, they realize that being a non believer is a risk that they are just not ready to take.
Although I may cuss too often, drink a little , and don't attend sunday service regularly, I still try and keep a good heart,,,,and believe. Even though I'm sure that I'd know more people in hell, I don't think that I would want to have an extended stay!
Can't take the chance.:)
 

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The ravages of dementia, at least he made it into his eighties.

Alzheimers took my Dad in his late 60's, and he too found God after a lifetime of agnosticism bordering on atheism.
 

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I wonder why folks who don't have an explanation so often decide to instead have a God. I have neither.
 

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Dzerzhinsky said:
I wonder why folks who don't have an explanation so often decide to instead have a God. I have neither.
Often times people can not give a detailed explanation as to why things happen. But that doesn't mean that there is no explanation, just maybe one that we can't understand.

For instance, one does not need to know every little detail of how electricity works to know "That if I flip that switch on the wall, the light will come on."

They do not need to know that electrical current flowing through a high resistance tungsten filament will cause the electrons to bump into the atoms that make up the filament, and the energy of each impact causes vibration. Vibration causes heat. The electrons are bound by the resistance, and bound electrons are boosted to a higher energy level. Eventually the bound electrons work themselves free and fall back to their normal energy level. When they do, they release the extra energy in the form of photons. As tungsten is a metal, the photons released are in the form of infrared light photons. As we all know, infrared light is invisible to the naked eye until it reaches the approximate temperature of 4000 degrees F. The constant vibration of the filament by electron flow causes to filament to reach a temperature of 4000 degrees causing the filament to give a glowing effect.

This happens every time you flip your little switch and your light come on. Not necessary to know to flip the switch, but it doesn't mean that the explanation didn't exist.

Just because we can't explain God's existance scientifically, doesn't mean that He don't exist.
 

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I know a few agnostics, but I don't beleive it is possible for an " atheist " to exist. I think all humans are born with an urge to seak God.
We are more than a highly evolved animal. What makes us different? I'd say emotion and conscience. In short, I think the ability to love, must be God given.
We have all had our doubts and I don't claim to understand why God does this or that, but I sure hope there is something better than us.

I also don't think that God is a mystery shrouded in the clouds, He is the nearest of near, listen to your own heartbeat.
 

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Cephus said:
D-sky another post that people expect. One day the light may come on for you and you won't be able to say why or what happened but it did.
The Lord work in mysteres ways.
Well, here's a post you may not have expected. I do sometimes say the agnostic's prayer, "Dear God if there is a God..."

Did so just a couple of days when, yet again, fate, luck, fortune, whatever you want to call it, had headed off yet another of my stupid saunters down the path to self-destruction. Spare you the details.

But became acutely aware of the mystery of it all, of how much I'll never understand as I pass this life as a medium-sized biped on a literally mundane planet revolving around a typical sun in an obscure corner of a commonplace galaxy during a brief flicker in oceans of time. "Dear God if there is a God, I know if there is a God there's no God within my understanding of what a God is. But, thanks."
 

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Many Scientists in Astrophysics,
physics and a wide variety of other disciplines see
a supreme hand at work in a complex universe due to it's underlying simplicity when revealed.
 

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I was an avowed Atheist up until I was 21. It's something I cannot explain and it's opened up a ton of doors within myself. I feel 1000 times stronger for having found God.

The way it happened was pretty freaky too... to say the least.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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The fact that this question has existed in all cultures since man lived in caves tells me we are hard wired to grapple with it.

The big question is why are we hard wired that way?
 

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This is a dangerous subject to get into and I avoid it whenever possible so as not to lose any friends or upset relatives.

But I feel God is within each one of us and part of everything, but I don't like the word God that much, it's too universal. Religion, on the other hand is a human invention, first to explain the unknown then to exercise control.

I honestly find difficult to understand that there is a "good" God out there that allows children to die, or war, or people to suffer because of an illness, Those are things we don't like to watch and supposedly we are not as perfect as He is, so why does He allow it?

On the other hand as a trained scientist I have to admit there is a place where science stops explaining things and we enter the unknown. This unknown part has been getting smaller and smaller as we get more advanced and years go by, but it's infinite, so no matter how advanced we get, there will always be a question regarding The Creator.

If I need "God's" help, I simply reach deep within myself and think. No churches, no sermons.

Moses was a smart man, he knew that the Ten Commandments would set guidelines for thousands of years to come, just follow them whenever possible.

I hope this offends no one.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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There was an Argentine author, Jorge Luis Borges who wrote a number of books where the theme was that God, the dominant force, was evil and that the devil, a lesser, force, was good. And that was why evil so often triumphs.
 

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I'm going for the live of sin, followed by the death bed conversion, just like the 81 year old subject of the original post.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Some have interpreted the thief on the cross in that fashion but I suspect they are missing something.

Sincerity.
 

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aviator said:
This is a dangerous subject to get into and I avoid it whenever possible so as not to lose any friends or upset relatives.

But I feel God is within each one of us and part of everything, but I don't like the word God that much, it's too universal. Religion, on the other hand is a human invention, first to explain the unknown then to exercise control.

I honestly find difficult to understand that there is a "good" God out there that allows children to die, or war, or people to suffer because of an illness, Those are things we don't like to watch and supposedly we are not as perfect as He is, so why does He allow it?

On the other hand as a trained scientist I have to admit there is a place where science stops explaining things and we enter the unknown. This unknown part has been getting smaller and smaller as we get more advanced and years go by, but it's infinite, so no matter how advanced we get, there will always be a question regarding The Creator.

If I need "God's" help, I simply reach deep within myself and think. No churches, no sermons.

Moses was a smart man, he knew that the Ten Commandments would set guidelines for thousands of years to come, just follow them whenever possible.

I hope this offends no one.
Aviator, I in no way find what you said offensive. I may not agree with it, but I still consider you to be a good person and friend.

This is probably one of the most difficult questions a minister will ever face, Why did God let this happen? And it?s a very difficult question to answer, but I?ll give it my best try.

Like you have mentioned, the Bible gives us guidelines as to how we should live our lives. Parents also give their children guidelines to go by. For instance, a parent tells a child not to climb the tree in the front yard, but the child climbs it anyway. The child then falls out of the tree and breaks his leg. Is the parent responsible for the child?s disobedience? I hope people doesn?t take this to mean that something bad is going to happen to you every time you break the Ten Commandments, but let?s compare it to the law of the land. If the speed limit is 55 MPH and you drive by a cop doing 80, who?s fault is it that you got the ticket? The cop? Or you?

Take someone who has been a lifelong alcoholic. Do you blame God when that person develops siroccos of the liver? Everyone knows that tobacco products cause cancer, but still they use them and far too often suffer the consequences that come with usage. When one person shoots another, the gun is blamed and not the idiot standing behind it. Likewise we can?t blame God when circumstances are self-inflicted. This is the easy part of the question to answer.

Now to the hard part. What about the ones that never drank, never smoked, and went to Church every Sunday and something bad happened to them? What about the sweet innocent little child that never done nothing to no one? These are the ones that make you pull your hair out. This is where faith kicks in. Sometimes no matter how much we reason it out, there is no good explanation. Like the story a couple weeks ago about the mother that cut her baby?s arms off. There was many a night that I went to bed with tears in my eyes over that. I just can?t give a good reason as to the cause of that happening. Why a beautiful innocent little girl would have to suffer that? Many times the thoughts that ran through my head as to what I would have done to that woman had I been given the opportunity to be alone with her for 5 minutes. The thoughts I had were not very Christian like. Then to keep from worrying myself sick, I just had to keep telling myself that the little girl is not in pain any more. That she?s in Heaven where she has her arms back, playing laughing, having a good time. I don?t think I could have gotten over it any other way than believing just that.

We are told in the Bible that life on this Earth is temporary, and that we shouldn?t worry about things that harm the body, but those things that harm the soul is what we need to be on guard for. If you look at it that way, then the suffering we face on Earth is temporary also. That one day we will have everlasting happiness. I guess one way to look at it would be like this. Let?s say you have an old car that is falling apart and don?t run very good anymore. The I come and destroy it and give you a brand new one with nothing wrong and will never wear out. Are you going to be mad at me for destroying your old car? Are you going to be mad over the rusty fenders?

I hope this came out right!!!!!

Because like you said, This is a very controversial thing to talk about and I hope that I didn?t confuse or upset anyone. The greatest gift that God ever gave us is free will. He will never force himself on anyone and we should try to live the same way. So I hope people understand that I?m not forcing religion on everyone, that I?m just sharing personal experiences that I thought would help answer the question.

Whether or not you believe in God, the Ten Commandments are good rules to live by. And even if you believe that we all make up God together by what?s in our hearts, Faith still has important value when it comes to believing yourself and becoming a better person.

Thanks for listening to my rambling!
 

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Thanks Preacher,
I needed that. Good man.
 

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Thanks alot guys. That really means a lot to me. I was afraid I had screwed it up.
 

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Thankyou Preacher for not geting offended and for being a friend and a good man.

Having lived twice as long as you have I wish I had the same convictions as you do. Sometimes I wonder about myself.
 

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We need to remember that we live in a physical world with physical laws. We stub our toes, cut our fingers, break our legs, catch the flu, get into car accidents. Some things just happen by the very nature of our physical existence.
 
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