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There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 222 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1 Reprint edition (October 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061335290
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061335297
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

British philosopher Flew has long been something of an evangelist for atheism, debating theologians and pastors in front of enormous crowds. In 2004, breathless news reports announced that the nonagenarian had changed his mind. This book tells why. Ironically, his arguments about the absurdity of God-talk launched a revival of philosophical theists, some of whom, like Alvin Plantinga and Richard Swinburne, were important in Flew's recent conversion to theism. Breakthroughs in science, especially cosmology, also played a part: if the speed or mass of the electron were off just a little, no life could have evolved on this planet. Perhaps the arrogance of the New Atheists also emboldened him, as Flew taunts them for failing to live up to the greatness of atheists of yore. The book concludes with an appendix by New Testament scholar and Anglican bishop N.T. Wright, arguing for the coherence of Christian belief in the resurrection. Flew praises Wright, though he maintains some distance still from orthodox Christianity. The book will be most avidly embraced by traditional theists seeking argumentative ammunition. It sometimes disappoints: quoting other authorities at length, citing religion-friendly scientists for pages at a time and belaboring side issues, like the claim that Einstein was really a religious believer of sorts. (Nov.)
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Review

“A clear, accessible account of the ‘pilgrimage of reason’ which has led Flew to a belief in God.” (John Polkinghorne, author of Belief in God in an Age of Science)

“Antony Flew’s book will incense atheists who suppose (erroneously) that science proves there is no God.” (Ian H. Hutchinson, Professor and Head of the Dept. of Nuclear Science and Engineering, MIT)

“Towering and courageous... Flew’s colleagues in the church of fundamentalist atheism will be scandalized.” (Francis S. Collins, New York Times bestselling author of The Language of God)

“A very clear and readable book tracing his path back to theism, revealing his total openness to new rational arguments.” (Richard Swinburne, author of The Existence of God)

“This is a remarkable book in many ways.” (Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions)

“This is a fascinating and very readable account …” (Professor John Hick, Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Research in Arts and Social Sciences, University of Birmingham)

“A stellar philosophical mind ponders the latest scientific results. The conclusion: a God stands behind the rationality of nature.” (Michael Behe, author of Darwin's Black Box and The Edge of Evolution)

“Antony Flew not only has the philosophical virtues; he has the virtues of the philosopher. Civil in argument, relentlessly reasonable….” (Ralph McInerny, Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame)

“A fascinating record …it will come as a most uncomfortable jolt to those who were once his fellow atheists.” (Nicholas Wolterstorff, Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology, Yale University)

“Flew’s exposition will be a source for reflective inquiry for many, many years...” (Daniel N. Robinson, Philosophy Department, Oxford University)

“Flew couldn’t be more engaging and remain an analytic philosopher...” (Booklist)

“In clear prose and brief chapters, Flew explains the four lines of evidence that convinced him....An intellectual conversion of great significance.” (Denver Post)

“The most lucid and penetrative pieces of philosophical theology to appear in years, altogether brilliant.” (The Catholic Herald)

“A most valuable and readable overview of the many evidential changes of landscape that 20th century science is furnishing to the oldest question in Western civilization: Is there a God?” (American Spectator)

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Customer Reviews

I am an athiest and I really enjoyed reading this book.
D. Shank
Flew's book also comes with two appendices; Appendix A written by Roy Abraham Varghese; and Appendix B written by N.T. Wright.
Stephen P. Smith
Flew provides his evidence for belief in God and makes a good argument.
Daniel L. Marler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

390 of 426 people found the following review helpful By George R Dekle on December 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Several years ago I read Antony Flew's book, "Thinking about Thinking" in its American incarnation (titled "How to Think Straight"). I immediately discerned three things. Flew was (1) a profound thinker, (2) an atheist, and (3) a decent human being. I was so impressed by his intellect that when I reached the last page, I turned back to page one and immediately read the book again.

I have since bought "God and Science" and "Merely Mortal". In "God and Science", Flew weighed the case for the Christian God and found it wanting, and in "Merely Mortal" he decided that there was no life after death. As I understand "There is a God", Flew sticks to both those positions. Flew has found God, but he has found Aristotle's god, the impersonal Unmoved Mover which, like God in Hobbes' "Leviathan" was the first cause of every subsequent effect. Aristotle's god is so ungodly that I have always considered him (Aristotle) the functional equivalent of an atheist. Flew's take on the Christian view of God seems to be as follows: God hasn't been proven to be like that, but it would be nice if he were. I can't say for sure, but I don't think Flew's assessment of the Christian God was any different before he renounced atheism. Flew has always been somewhat of an anomaly among atheists--an atheist who was polite to theists. A wit once said that an evangelical Christian was a fundamentalist with good manners. Flew was an atheist with good manners.

I've read a lot of atheist polemic, and I'm turned off by the ad hominem character of most of their arguments. It puts me in mind of Cicero's old dictum, "When you have no case, abuse the plaintiff". I've also read a lot of fundamentalist polemic which turns me off for the same reason.
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988 of 1,106 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin D. Wiker on November 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Call me old-fashioned, but I thought the POINT of reviewing books--even books on Amazon--was to review the actual book that one has actually READ. It seems now that it has become a place to "spike" books that you haven't read, and don't want others to read.

Unlike other pseudo-reviewers, I've actually read Flew's There is a God (and interviewed Flew as well). Anyone who has actually read it--and I wonder if Mark Oppenheimer did, given the inattention to the substance of the book in his infamous NYT piece--understands that it is a terse description of Flew's long, drawn out intellectual journey toward God--a journey of two decades. Twenty years; not twenty minutes or twenty days. Flew wasn't struck by God on his way to Damascus like St. Paul; he was slowly, ever so slowly brought to intellectual assent to a Deism (about the thinnest belief in God one can have).

Thus, the entire focus of a reader of Flew's There is a God SHOULD be on the list of books Flew cites as definitive in the slow changing of his mind, not on niggling debates about the slowness of Flew's mind at this precise point.

Roy Varghese (his co-author) has been with him for a good part of that journey (as have other believers), and was instrumental in helping Flew gather together his twenty year sojourn to God. IF there were some kind of a Christian conspiracy to use Flew as a mouthpiece, certainly Varghese et al would have made Flew's "conversion" far more exciting, and even more, would have him become a card-carrying Christian rather than, as he adamantly maintains, a Deist (not even a Theist!--Flew corrected me on this point in an interview with him). To read Varghese's full response to Oppenheimer, see [...
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202 of 227 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Walters VINE VOICE on June 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's the rare intellectual--and especially the rare philosopher (I speak as a member of that strange tribe, by the way)--who's courageous enough to publicly admit error. In his old age, Augustine famously penned a series of Retractions that pruned and corrected his earlier writings. The twentieth century philosopher Wittgenstein eventually repudiated his first work, the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. But for every Augustine and Wittgenstein, there are scores of philosophers who become wedded to their systems and simply can't bring themselves to doubt--much less repudiate--cherished conclusions.

That's one reason why Antony Flew's There Is a God is a remarkable work. Whether or not one buys his argument, one can't but admire his insistence on "following the argument where it leads," a bit of Socratic advice which Flew has made his professional motto, even when it leads him to reject positions he earlier championed. The positions which he now rejects are, specifically, that there is no God; that causation is best understood in Humean terms; and that compatibilism is the best way to navigate the free will/determinism debate.

Flew's purpose in There Is a God is to present arguments for his new conclusion that there's evidence to suppose the existence of a divine First Cause. Ultimately, his point is that in the absence of a God, one must settle for mystifying and implausible conceptual leaps. His critics might say that he's simply appealing to a "God of the gaps" move, and perhaps they're correct. But Flew would respond by challenging them to explain, in non-question begging ways, (1) why nature is lawlike (did laws emerge, or did they have to be existent for cosmological events to occur in the first place?
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