Having been one of the world’s most influential philosophical atheists, it didn’t float well with many in the atheist community when Anthony Flew abandoned atheism in the years leading up to his death. It also didn’t float well that he published a book on this decision, “There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.”
After Flew’s death in 2010, there was plenty of criticism towards his book, ranging from accusations from Richard Dawkins that Flew lost sense in his old age, to questions as to whether parts of the book were fabricated by his Christian co-author, Roy Varghes.
Newly released letters shine some light on Flew’s decision, however. Leading up to the publishing of “There is a God,” Flew was writing letters to Anthony Horvath, another apologist and executive director of Athanatos Christian Ministries. Horvath is making these letters public, in Flew’s own handwriting, in a new e-book, “A Defense of the Integrity of Antony Flew’s ‘There is a God’ From His Own Letters.”
In the letters, Flew writes about his forthcoming book and its contents, including parts that modern critics claim originated from his co-author. As an example, the validity of Flew’s work was questioned since it doesn’t make reference to the “Deism of Jefferson,” yet, according to Horvath, in the letters “Flew does reference Deism, but cites Einstein—which is the same illustration the book gives.”
Also, with one of the main criticisms against Flew’s work being the belief that he wasn’t aware how much would be written by his co-author, Horvath notes that Flew wrote a letter stating, “What this book will also contain is a great deal, indeed by far the larger part from Christian writers.”
Still, Horvath notes in a press release, “It is unreasonable to expect Flew to address in detail every charge that would be made about him years before they are made, especially when the number of charges came to rival the number of universes in the multiverse. I do not contend that these letters answer every charge, but there are a fair number of instances where specific challenges made by atheist critics can be decisively fought off.”
He adds, however, that “Pretty much every description of his book given to me by Dr. Flew himself in his letters to me matches up with what came out in the book. It is reasonable to give the rest of the book the benefit of the doubt. If Varghese got these points right, he likely got the rest right, as well.”
“Atheists may not like the fact that a longtime ally deserted them, but that doesn’t mean sanity deserted the ally,” Horvath said. “Follow the evidence; don’t denigrate the man.”