Let Us Rise Up and Build
Less than ten years ago, the late Dr. Antony Flew, whom Professor Thomas B. Warren debated on the existence of God in 1976, announced that he (Flew) had given up atheism and embraced theism. The news sent shock waves through the philosophical world. Professor Flew’s “pilgrimage of reason” (as he described it) is chronicled in his 2007 book There Is A God. This former British atheist wrote that he had been influenced in recent years by the philosopher David Conway’s argument for God’s existence in Conway’s 2000 book The Rediscovery of Wisdom: From Here to Antiquity in Quest of Sophia. Conway, himself a distinguished British philosopher, provides a decisive refutation of two philosophers, David Hume and Immanuel Kant, whom many today are convinced “refuted all the traditional philosophical arguments for the existence of God” (105). However Conway shows in The Rediscovery of Wisdom that Hume and Kant did nothing that “provides good reason for rejecting” the two arguments (i.e. cosmological and teleological) upon which classical philosophy has relied. It has been only 14 years since Conway’s book was published, but a single copy is now selling on Amazon for $240-$360. And the book only has 176 pages of text excluding notes and bibliography.
As obviously strong as Conway’s case is for natural theology as proof for God, his position against special divine revelation is weak; however Conway is an expert classical philosopher in his defense of the existence of God. And he does defend the proposition that biblical information implies the sufficiency of natural theology in making a sound case for the existence of God. Conway is correct on this crucial point that the Bible implies a sound procedure that can be followed to prove the existence of God (cf. Psalm 119:1ff; 139:14; Acts 14:17; Romans 1:20; Hebrews 3:4, et al.).
In addition to his refutation of Hume and Kant, it is Conway’s observations and conclusions concerning the culture of Western Civilization that most interests us. He says, “[T]he sad truth is that ours is a culture that has never been more spiritually lost. The cause of the darkness . . . may ultimately be traced back to the virtual disappearance from among the most highly educated strata, especially those concerned with educating the young, of any belief in the existence of God” (171, emp. added).
With his conclusions concerning the magnitude of the loss of faith in the existence of God among those in academia, Conway has provided the raison d'etre for Warren Apologetics Center. As Thomas B. Warren was doing the great apologetics work in the 20th century that has become synonymous with his name, he often asked, “Who is really affecting America?” He would then answer: “The academic world!” He then would elaborate: “So many colleges and universities around the world are now veritable ‘hotbeds’ of atheism and agnosticism. Since these train those who become teachers, writers (of newspapers, books, plays, television programs, movies), political leaders, etc., it is obvious that they play a crucial role in advancing skepticism” . . . “But”, he would say, “neither they, nor anyone else can defend atheism or agnosticism against a Christian properly prepared. We can refute atheism! We can demonstrate Christianity! Atheists cannot refute Christian theism!”
More than 40 years ago Thomas B. Warren clearly saw what many are just now beginning to see—skepticism (atheism and agnosticism) controls nearly all of our nation’s most influential universities and through such those in these positions of control are indoctrinating our children from kindergarten up. The answer is to meet this great enemy of Christianity by providing the world with material that proves that God is and the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and authoritative word of God. We must show them that there are good reasons for being a Christian. Furthermore, we must also challenge the very best from among the skeptical world to meet qualified Christian theists in the public discussion of these crucial propositions.
This is not ultimately about building a structural venue, but it is ultimately about building a strategy for victory in meeting and defeating atheism and agnosticism. It is not ultimately about just having a place (a building, facility) from which the best apologetics publications are produced, and the best apologetics programs are presented, and all of this posed for the public today, and preserved for the people of tomorrow (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren). It is ultimately about unleashing the power of true Christian apologetics against the highest level of skepticism and unbelief in order to defeat atheism and agnosticism and save souls from the awesome destruction that biblical revelation says will come to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).
I heard Dr. Warren say shortly following his debate with Professor Flew that he wrote Dr. Flew and pleaded with him to obey the gospel of Christ and become a great defender of the faith. As far as I know Antony Flew did not do it. However, he did renounce atheism three decades later and, given the honesty of his statement on page 92 of his book There Is A God, he came to the point where he defended the existence of the one true God—the God revealed in creation and in biblical revelation. Flew wrote, “The God whose existence is defended by Conway and myself is the God of Aristotle” (emp. added). Flew then references Conway who says: “In sum, to the Being whom he considered to be the explanation of the world and its broad form, Aristotle ascribed the following attributes: immutability, immateriality, omnipotence, omniscience, oneness or indivisibility, perfect goodness and necessary existence. There is an impressive correspondence between this set of attributes and those traditionally ascribed to God within the Judeo-Christian tradition. It is one that fully justifies us in viewing Aristotle as having had the same Divine Being in mind as the cause of the world that is the object of the worship of these two religions” (74, emp. added). Warren would often tell those of us who were his students that an ultimate goal in debate with a skeptic is to convert him to Christ. However, if the skeptic becomes a theist, yet stops short of becoming a Christian, the influence of the cause of Christ will have increased because theism had, in this sense, obviously defeated atheism. Through this defeat others likely will not only come to reject atheism but perhaps also obey the gospel in order to become Christians. It reminds me again of the late William F. Buckley’s statement “that the duel between Christianity and atheism is the most important in the world” (God and Man at Yale xvi).
All of this is why the recent announcement that the Warren Center is the recipient of an incredible gift of property with a building is monumental! This prime property and the existing building are located in an extremely high traffic area. The building will be redesigned and constructed to become a state of the art apologetics facility. As announced, it is estimated that total construction costs will be approximately $350,000 which will save the Warren Center somewhere between $800,000 - $1.5 million. Already this great news has encouraged others to give in significant ways to help the Center meet this construction goal cost of $350,000. Will you join with us and send your tax deductible gift today? Your gift, whatever the amount, will help Warren Apologetics Center move into its home by late 2014, God willing. Remember, it is not ultimately about a structural venue. It is about a strategy for victory in meeting and defeating atheism and agnosticism. It can make a great difference in this world and in the next.