My Pilgrimage from Atheism to Theism
Flew (Anthony) & Habermas (Gary)
Source: Philosophia Christi, the journal of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, Winter 2005
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s1 Introduction

  1. Antony Flew and Gary Habermas met in February 1985 in Dallas, Texas. The occasion was a series of debates between atheists and theists, featuring many influential philosophers, scientists, and other scholars.
  2. A short time later, in May 1985, Flew and Habermas debated at Liberty University before a large audience. The topic that night was the resurrection of Jesus. Although Flew was arguably the world’s foremost philosophical atheist, he had intriguingly also earned the distinction of being one of the chief philosophical commentators on the topic of miracles. Habermas specialized on the subject of Jesus’ resurrection. Thus, the ensuing dialogue on the historical evidence for the central Christian claim was a natural outgrowth of their research.
  3. Over the next twenty years, Flew and Habermas developed a friendship, writing dozens of letters, talking often, and dialoguing twice more on the resurrection. In April 2000 they participated in a live debate on the Inspiration Television Network, moderated by John Ankerberg. In January 2003 they again dialogued on the resurrection at California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo.
  4. During a couple telephone discussions shortly after their last dialogue, Flew explained to Habermas that he was considering becoming a theist. While Flew did not change his position at that time, he concluded that certain philosophical and scientific considerations were causing him to do some serious rethinking. He characterized his position as that of atheism standing in tension with several huge question marks.
  5. Then, a year later, in January 2004, Flew informed Habermas that he had indeed become a theist. While still rejecting the concept of special revelation, whether Christian, Jewish or Islamic, nonetheless he had concluded that theism was true. In Flew’s words, he simply “had to go where the evidence leads.”
  6. The following interview took place in early 2004 and was subsequently modified by both participants throughout the year. This nontechnical discussion sought to engage Flew over the course of several topics that reflect his move from atheism to theism. The chief purpose was not to pursue the details of any particular issue, so we bypassed many avenues that would have presented a plethora of other intriguing questions and responses. These were often tantalizingly ignored, left to ripen for another discussion. Neither did we try to persuade each another of alternate positions.
  7. Our singular purpose was simply to explore and report Flew’s new position, allowing him to explain various aspects of his pilgrimage. We thought that this in itself was a worthy goal. Along the way, an additional benefit emerged, as Flew reminisced about various moments from his childhood, graduate studies, and career.


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