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Acton Notes - President Message

A brilliant British philosopher, Antony Flew, whom I have met at various international conferences, has been a friend to liberty for decades. He also happened to be a dedicated atheist. He wrote many books and articles explaining why he found it irrational to believe in God. For years, he has been the most articulate proponent for a disbelief in God and cause celebre among secular intellectuals.

Now, just before Christmas, the British newspapers trumpet that Professor Flew changed his mind. He is convinced that it takes a greater leap of faith to be an atheist than it does to believe in God. Much like the “argument from design” of St. Thomas, Flew argues that all forms of life, but particularly human life, are far too complex, and mysteriously so, to believe that nature manufactured it all on its own. It required intelligence.

Of course I am thrilled by this happy development, and hope it leads Professor Flew to a full and robust faith, as I suspect it will. He is already a great champion of liberty; to be a champion of faith as well can only complete the picture. Contrary to what popular culture would suggest, these values are not incompatible.

His is one of many cases of intellectual conversion that I have seen over the years, indeed that I have experienced personally. As people mature and learn, they come to revise their opinions on such essential questions. How do people come to change their minds? Life circumstances. An intellectual argument. Or simply being in the right place at the right time. It can be an article or a sermon. The key is to have the information available when people desire it.

The Acton Institute seeks to provide settings in which people can consider a fuller understanding of life and eternity, whether it means coming to a greater understand of liberty or a richer view of creation and our moral obligations. By assisting us, you too are helping to make a profound difference.