Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of His Servant?

Archive for November 9, 2007

Amazing Turnarounds

I read an interesting article by Stanley Fish about two famous scholars (see the link below).  One was raised in an evangelical background, but lost his faith because of the problem of evil and suffering (Bart  Ehrman).  The other case is that of a most famous atheist (Antony Flew- a noted professor of philosophy) who announced in 2004 that after decades of writing essays and books from the vantage point of atheism, he now believes in God. “Changed his mind” is not a casual formulation. Flew wouldn’t call what has happened to him a conversion, for that would suggest something unavailable to analysis. His journey, he tells us, is best viewed as “a pilgrimage of reason,” an extension of his life-long habit of “following the argument no matter where it leads.  They both wrote books about their change of mind.  I understand the anguish and sincere struggle of Ehrman (though I disagree with his conclusions).  And I find Flew’s trip from an atheist to a theist very logical.  Note the following relevant questions by Flew:

“How, he asks, do merely physical and mechanical forces – forces without mind, without consciousness – give rise to the world of purposes, thoughts and moral projects? “How can a universe of mindless matter produce beings with intrinsic ends [and] self-replication capabilities?””

“In an appendix to the book, Abraham Varghese makes Flew’s point with the aid of an everyday example: “To suggest that the computer ‘understands’ what it is doing is like saying that a power line can meditate on the question of free will and determinism or that the chemicals in a test tube can apply the principle of non-contradiction in solving a problem, or that a DVD player understands and enjoys the music it plays.”

How did purposive behavior of the kind we engage in all the time – understanding, meditating, enjoying -ever emerge from electrons and chemical elements?”

Of course some of these same questions were already asked by F.  Schaffer about 50 years ago.  I still do not see how a materialistic explanation can give reasonable answers to these questions…much less PROVE their answers…

The article with more info and argumentation is found here:

http://fish.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/04/suffering-evil-and-the-existence-of-god/