Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Quote: Antony Flew on the Resurrection

“The evidence for the resurrection is better than for claimed miracles in any other religion. It's outstandingly different in quality and quantity.”1

- Antony Flew

1. Gary Habermas, "My Pilgrimage from Atheism to Theism: An Exclusive Interview with Former British Atheist Professor Antony Flew." Available from the Web site of Biola University at


Lee said...

This Antony Flew, is he a Christian?

Think about it.


Chad said...


How are you doing? Nice to see you are still chattin' here.

Before I jump to conclusions, I wanted to know if you mind clarifying something for me: If Flew were a Christian, would that change the validity of his conclusion?" (As quoted here).

I'm not sure what you are implying here; perhaps I'm a bit dense.

Hope all is well with you!

Lee said...

Hi Chad,

Good to see you around also.

My point is merely that this quote is meaningless however which way you look at it.

The last I heard, Flew isn’t a Christian but a deist – but is paid to talk at lectures by Christians who want a token former atheist for some reason. This would mean that Flew isn’t convinced by the evidence.

Now if Flew was a Christian, what would that prove to a sceptic? There are 3 or 4 billion people out there in the world who do not believe it, within that there are a billion or so Muslims who do not believe it PLUS have their own belief about certain miracles.

Truth isn’t taken by a vote.

Evidence and reason is what I am looking for


emmzee said...

I'll attempt to jump to a (the) conclusion: Lee MAY be implying that, even if Flew believes the resurrection evidence is better than for every other miracle, he doesn't believe it to be sufficient to be a Christian. Therefore, even the best attested miracle ever is still lacking in evidence to be believed.

Of course, if he WAS a Christian, his opinion would automatically be discounted BECAUSE of the fact that he IS a Christian. So I guess there's no way to win, there. ;)

It's still significant, I think, that even someone who is not a Christian at least finds the resurrection evidence compelling.

roger said...

Lee, No Flew is not a Christian in particular, but his interviews in the ast couple of years, he seems to be acknowledging theism in general. Remember, all Christians (particular) are theists (general), but not all theists are Christians.

Eyo said...

Flew is not a Christian...At least not yet and certainly not at the time that statement was made.

Eyo said...

Flew is not a Christian...or at least not yet and especially he wasn't one when that statement was made.

bossmanham said...


Are you saying Flew is a closet Cristian?

Kyl Schalk said...

Great quote!

Lee said...

Hi emmzee,

if he WAS a Christian, his opinion would automatically be discounted BECAUSE of the fact that he IS a Christian.

No, merely evaluated accordingly.

For example, in a court of law the mother of the accused can give evidence, but personal opinion will have to be weighed up against the fact that she is the mother.

This is NOT to say the mother is a liar or the evidence might not be valid, just that we have to be careful and would more than likely ask for further independent evidence.

Would you agree?

So I guess there's no way to win, there. ;)

My comment was regarding the value of this quote - its meaningless to me for the reasons given

Now, if you want to talk about the evidence for resurrection, more than happy to hear it.

What do you have that isn't in the bible... maybe something written by Roman soldiers, or perhaps the Jews, or Greeks around at the time?

Surely someone in the city would have noticed 6 hours of darkness, earthquakes and dead saints getting up and making themselves know…

Oops, sorry silly me – that would be the crucifixion, but of course, you cannot come back from the dead unless you are first killed, so it is a good place to start.

Funny how the death of Jesus so ‘open’ and could be seen by the whole city – but the resurrection is only seen by a close few, and even those who once knew Jesus still didn’t believe at first (giving me good reason to doubt) and many of those that once knew Jesus didn’t recognise him – always thought that was a bit odd

Take care


dvd said...

Its a vaid quote, it shows that a man who has given much thought to such issues has decided to remain "open" to the claims of Christianity and that is valuable. It doesn't "prove" anything but perhaps it shows that there might be good reasons why he thinks this way.

Thomas said...

It’s possible (and probable) that what Flew is saying is that the resurrection is extremely well attested and very likely happened. One can believe that Jesus died and was resurrected yet not believe that Jesus died and was resurrected in order to redeem people from sin. It seems as if the former is where Flew is at right now in his belief whereas Christians would embrace the latter.

In regards to evidence for the resurrection, (1) what kind of evidence would you expect to find from the first century? And (2) what kind of evidence would convince you that it actually happened?

Chad said...


Sorry it's taken awhile to get back here. I have been having computer issues...

Thank you for the reply. Thomas seems to be moving in the same direction that I was planning on so I would just like to add a few things:

1. I am curious as to what arguments you have considered for the resurrection.

2. Could Flew's quote serve to illustrate that perhaps it's not simply the evidence that keeps the skeptic from believing?

3. I would recommend the book, Resurrected?: An Atheist & Theist Dialogue. This is a debate between Flew, when he was still an atheist, and Gary Habermas. Admittedly, the moderator, John Ankerberg, is completely pro-Habermas, but Flew's points, especially regarding the New Testament, are interesting. You may enjoy it.

Again, thanks for getting back to me and I look forward to your response.

Lee said...

Hi All,

Thanks for the comments, no time tonight, it's movie night with the wife - but you know I will return

Take care


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