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The Deathbed De-Conversion of Antony Flew

When I was in grad school, I was already a vocal atheist and was pretty knowledgeable about the greater atheist community. One day a fundamentalist Christian friend of mine was excited to tell me that the most famous atheist in the world had just converted to Christianity. Antony Flew was so famous that I had never heard of him.

On April 8th of this year the most famous (and possibly only) ex-atheist died. To me, Flew’s fame came more when he announced that the vague higher power concept of a creator deity can’t be ruled out and so some kind of god might exist. Christians immediately took Flew’s statement as a declaration of his conversion to Christianity.

Flew found out that Christians were claiming that he had converted to Christianity and wrote a short response titled, “Sorry to Disappoint, but I’m Still an Atheist!” The title says it all, but there were still a few Christians who remained undeterred. Postmodern Philosopher Gary Habermas, Physicist Gerald Schroeder, and others flew to Flew’s side to make the case that God is real.

In 2007, the book titled, “There is a God” reached bookshelves all over the world. The book was authored by Antony Flew… sort of. The book was actually written by ghost writer Roy Abraham Varghese because Flew was starting to literally lose his mind.

Flew was now in his mid-80s, didn’t know much about the internet, started to show signs of senility and memory loss, and was being bombarded by Christian intellectuals who were feeding him inaccurate information which he did not have the ability to fact check.

Richard Carrier, long time friend to Flew had been in snail mail correspondence with him. Carrier is a member of the Jesus Project and a well known atheist. According to an article in HumanistLife:

“Flew wrote back to say he had been mistaken in trusting his Christian correspondents; that Schroeder and his modern-science-is-Genesis theory obviously wasn’t up to date, and that he would withdraw the forthcoming introduction to a new edition of one of his books.”

He continues to say,

“The statement which I most regret making during the last few months was the one about Habermas’s book on the alleged resurrection of Jesus bar Joseph. I completely forgot Hume’s to my mind decisive argument against all evidence for the miraculous. A sign of physical decline.”

Another long time atheist friend of Flew’s, Mark Oppenheimer visited Flew to get a sense of his mental stability:

In “There Is a God,” Flew quotes extensively from a conversation he had with Leftow, a professor at Oxford. So I asked Flew, “Do you know Brian Leftow?”

“No,” he said. “I don’t think I do.”

“Do you know the work of the philosopher John Leslie?” Leslie is discussed extensively in the book.

Flew paused, seeming unsure. “I think he’s quite good.” But he said he did not remember the specifics of Leslie’s work http://rxtadalafil.com/.
“Have you ever run across the philosopher Paul Davies?” In his book, Flew calls Paul Davies “arguably the most influential contemporary expositor of modern science.”

“I’m afraid this is a spectacle of my not remembering!”

… As he himself conceded, he had not written his book.

“This is really Roy [Varghese]’s doing,” he said, before I had even figured out a polite way to ask. “He showed it to me, and I said O.K. I’m too old for this kind of work!”

Antony Flew was 87 when he died and had never accepted Jesus in his heart as his lord and savior. The story of Antony Flew is not one of an atheist converting to Christianity, but rather the tragic story of how the brightest minds in Christianity conspired to take advantage of an old atheist who was losing his mind. While this hasn’t been confirmed, it wouldn’t surprise me if Antony Flew’s last words were, “There is no God… Oh my.”

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