Friday, December 10, 2004

From the Mail: Gary Habermas Interviews Flew

Bill,

I noticed you had a link up about Flew's conversion from atheism to theism. Philosophia Christi is publishing an interview between Flew and GaryHabermas in its next issue. In the interview they discuss what led toFlew's decision to become a theist: what arguments he found persuasive, what kind of theist he is, and why he doesn't believe in special revelation. Flew also reminisces about his religious and philosophical background. Since the story broke yesterday, Craig Hazen (the editor in chief) decided to publish the interview on the Philosophia Christi website (hosted by Biola University). The link is here. (The published version will have footnotes that were omitted in the online version.) I'm sending it to you in case you'd be interested in posting the link on your site.

Sincerely,

Gary Hartenburg

BV: Thanks, Gary. The Habermas interview with Flew will surely be of interest to the readers of this weblog.

Hey Bill,

Famous Atheist now believes in God? Erm... that's going rather far. Flew's talking about an ultra-minimal negative deism, and quite explicitly rejects most of the identifying characteristics which are typically proposed concerning God. He certainly doesn't believe _in_ God, as in trusting in God (a personal trust in this essentially non-personal Aristetolian prime mover would be tantamount to a category error); and even his belief about the existence of this Prime Mover is more of a hypothetical God-of-the-gaps solution (thus a negative deism) to a biological problem: the complexity ofDNA. He gives no indication that he's even proposing a supernatural prime mover. [BV: I don't know about that. Click on the above link and read Gary Habermas' interview with Flew.]

Remember my 'philosopher AF' example from a few weeks ago? {g} VictorReppert, Richard Carrier, several other respondents and I were debating the early reports of this news back in early September. My conclusion from the(at that time scanty) evidence, was that if this wasn't another misunderstanding by theists about a change of belief on his part, then itwould be an ultra-minimal deism irrespective of even a claim of supernaturalism. Go me. {g}I also pointed out that this, for all practical purposes, is still tantamout to atheism.

Jason Pratt

BV: Well, Jason, deism is a form of G0d-belief, ultra-minimal and negative as it may be, isn't it? (I have yet to look carefully at Flew's new position.) You are certainly right that there is a distinction between belief that God exists and belief in God, where the latter connotes trust: the latter entails the former, but not vice versa. In any case, my title simply repeated the title of the article to which I linked. I was reporting, not commenting or endorsing. Thanks for writing.