Antony Flew is famous for a few things. Among them is an allegory he included in an essay originally published in 1955, called “Theology and Falsification”. As the title implies, Flew attacks religious belief from a position that would have been familiar to someone like Bertrand Russell or A. J. Ayer, and is today is recognizable as a stock materialist criticism. Let’s have a look at the parable, and Flew’s reasoning from it, to see exactly why he’s wrong.
Have a look at this video, and then read my response. Brian completely misses the point on this one. The problem with church affiliation is not whether or not the mass is Tridentine, or whether or not there are tambourines and guitars. The problem with the church is that it has abandoned its actual “value add” (to put it in Brian’s metaphor). The “uniqueness” of the church is not in its Gothic architecture, or the specific language the liturgy is read in, or the massive late-medieval organs, or the Catholic habits, or even the lengthy intellectual tradition from St.