It was during Andrew’s service on the Sunday before Thanksgiving that I met this man. He and his wife sat on benches against the outside wall running the length of the building when I walked to them and extended a hand. His blue eyes locked into mine, and he greeted me in return, but when I spoke directly to his wife, there was nothing. A blank stare, an erased board. “Say hello,” he prompted.
Slowly now, as though only stiffly could she grasp the words. “Hello.” Solemn, a non-readable gaze directed to my face.
During the service, as Andrew preached a simple message, I saw the man’s face tremble, then a glistening tear form in those striking aged eyes. During the meal served afterwards, she shuffled beside him as he guided her to the food line. Around her waist was fastened a woven thin belt of the institutional variety and her dress was hiked up in the back. He took two plates of food as she stood, a docile creature, beside him, and then my attention was diverted, and when next I saw them, they were seated at a picnic table on the patio as he leaned over and cut up her food and she mumbled softly.
I’ve thought a lot about this couple since that day. Andrew and Shawnna have visited their home and prayed with them and learned she is a victim of Alzheimer’s. That sweet man takes care of her 24 hours a day, even though he also has some sort of disability and his speech can be a little difficult to understand.
In recent days, I came across an interesting and very popular blog called David Boles Urban Semiotic and have read there extensively. Mr. Boles has a link to Richard Dawkins site and recommends the reading of “The God Delusion.” As you can expect from the title, Mr. Dawkins is a confirmed atheist. I read a bit there, although I in no way concur with Mr. Dawkins’s conclusions. Extensive reading in this venue, thoughts of my own mortality, concern for the spiritual condition of the gentleman pictured here and for others have prompted this column today. Don’t stop here, please. Keep reading.
I can no longer find the original ABC story in which breaking news reported that the “world renowned atheist,” Dr. Antony Flew, had announced a drastic change in philosophy and now believed scientific evidence points to the existence of a creator God. I took the following report from Scientific Evidence for God by Chris Wilhoit. His source was the original ABC story.
In early December of 2004 the world renowned atheist author Dr. Antony Flew at age 81 astounded other atheists with his candid admission. Flew, who is an emeritus professor of philosophy at Britain’s Reading University has said that the scientific evidence available to us today is overwhelmingly in favor of the existence of a creator God. Flew, who was raised Methodist became an atheist at age 15, has been an influential champion of atheism for more than fifty years. He has argued repeatedly that there was not enough evidence to support the notion of a creator. But Flew has changed his mind and now believes in God based on the scientific evidence. Flew concluded that a super-intelligence is the only plausible explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of the universe. Flew now describes himself as a deist. A deist is someone who believes in a God who is not actively involved in people’s lives. He has stated that he is not a Christian and does not believe in an afterlife. However, Flew has admitted that his God could be a person from the perspective of a being that has intelligence and purpose.
Teaching at Oxford, Aberdeen, Keele and Reading universities in Britain, and in visits to numerous U.S. and Canadian campuses, and in books, articles, lectures and debates, Flew has presented the view that there is a lack of evidence for God. But during this time Flew underwent a gradual conversion from atheism to deism. In a letter he wrote in the August-September issue of Britain’s Philosophy Now magazine, “It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism.” Flew said he had “been persuaded that it is simply out of the question that the first living matter evolved out of dead matter and then developed into an extraordinarily complicated creature”. Flew correctly specifies that the scientific establishment has simply failed to answer this question. By taking issue with the naturalistic chemical origin of life, Flew is attacking the intellectual foundation of modern atheistic materialism and purely naturalistic evolution. Flew conceded that his current thoughts on the origin of life are similar to those of the intelligent design community.
On Lee Strobel’s site are excellent clips of an interview with Dr. Flew. It’s interesting to hear Dr. Flew say that despite his conversion to belief in “God” in some form, he hopes there is not an after-life. When the interviewer questioned him about that…”why, Dr. Flew?,” Dr. Flew considered at length, then acknowledged that among other reasons he did not wish to consider eternal punishment.
According to the word of God, in which I place my faith and belief, there is an eternal afterlife, and there are only two choices: I choose heaven. And you? What are your plans?