The Outsider Test for Faith, Modified

Image result for image of john loftus
Author, John W. Loftus

The modern world owes a great debt to atheist author John W. Loftus for formulating a straight-forward, easy to use test which can be used by any believer, of any religion, to evaluate the validity of the truth claims of his or her Faith.  It is called, The Outsider Test for Faith (OTF).

However, some theists reject the OTF as they believe Loftus’ has rigged the test, requiring theists to a priori reject supernaturalism in order to conduct the test.  They say it would be like asking an atheist to first accept and admit the existence of a divine Creator before discussing the reality of miracles.

I have come up with a modified version of Loftus’ test, which I believe removes this perceived bias.  Here it is:

The Modified Outsider Test for Faith (MOTF):

The outsider’s attitude when it comes to examining one’s own beliefs should be exactly the same used when he or she examines the beliefs of others.  It is one of informed skepticism:

  1. It assumes one’s own belief has the burden of proof.
  2. It adopts the methodological-naturalist viewpoint whereby one assumes that there is most likely a natural explanation for the origins of own’s own belief just as most people usually assume that there is most likely a natural explanation for the beliefs of others. This does not exclude the possibility of a supernatural explanation in either case, only that a supernatural explanation is usually, for most people, the least expected explanation for the beliefs of others so it should be assumed to be the least expected explanation for our own beliefs. In other words, very probable natural explanations must be ruled out first, before considering supernatural explanations. This is what most of us do for the beliefs of others, so to be consistent, we should apply the same standard to our beliefs.
  3. It demands sufficient evidence, scientific evidence, before concluding any universal truth claim is true.
  4. Most importantly, it disallows any belief based on emotions (hoping that something is true) in the evaluation of our beliefs, since the informed skeptic cannot leap over the lack of sufficient evidence by punting to emotions.

 

 

 

Here is John Loftus’ original The Outsider Test for Faith, as copied from his book by the same name:

The outsider’s attitude when it comes to examining other religions is one of informed skepticism:

  1.  It assumes one’s own religious faith has the burden of proof.
  2.  It adopts the methodological-naturalist viewpoint whereby one assumes that there is a natural explanation for the origins of one’s religion, its holy books, and its extraordinary claims of miracles.
  3.  It demands sufficient evidence, scientific evidence, before concluding a religion is true.
  4.  Most importantly, it disallows any faith in the religion under investigation, since the informed skeptic cannot leap over the lack of evidence by punting to faith.

 

 

End of post.

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