31 thoughts on “The Outsider Test for the Right Faith

  1. Hmm. I think you’re pointing to the irreconcilability of competing beliefs. On one hand you have the echo chamber of personal belief (“those who agree with me”), and on the other hand you have the fact that “God” means one thing to a Christian but another thing to a Hindu (for example).

  2. It seems that Alvin Platinga is a supporter of NOMA for Science and Religion. Here is a quote from Amazon’s summary of his book Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism: “Plantinga argues that we might think about arguments in science and religion in a new way — as different forms of discourse that try to persuade people to look at questions from a perspective such that they can see that something is true.” To read some of his philosophical “arguments” in favor of theism over atheism go to http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/is-atheism-irrational/
    Hardly strong arguments in my opinion.

    1. He’s not *consistently* in favour of NOMA. He’s one of the folks who has claimed that naturalism (and in particular evolutionary biology) is self-defeating. (I don’t claim to know if he’s said anything supporting it, as well, but …)

  3. The god-detection module, or Sensus Divinitatis™, all humans posses points those humans in different and contradictory directions.

    Whose SD is correct: the xian’s or the Hindu’s?

    IOW, it’s bullshit.

  4. Regarding the last part of her statement — I am right out of the billions of people. John Loftus, the Outsider Test for Faith, argues against the idea that religions can be evaluated fairly from within and this happens to be the only place where they can be believed. page 452, Christianity is Not Great.

    1. Hmmm…my initial thought was that that “combination” nature of it was:

      First sentence = Loftus
      Second sentence = Plantinga.

      I never thought about the last part being Loftus.

    1. Where there are answers, there is no need for theology. Theology is the place holder for mysteries until they are solved.

      1. There’s no need for theology even in the absence of answers. “I don’t know” is leaps and bounds better as a response to some question than simply making something up or simply declaring your wishful thinking true.

        Also, theology often persists even after a “mystery” is solved. The apparent design of living organisms was a mystery. Darwin solved it, but nincompoops like John Haught continue to produce theology that has god riding on Darwin’s coattails: “of course god would’ve used evolution by natural selection to achieve the beauty and complexity we observe in living organisms!”

      2. I’d like to think that we as a civilization have grown out of the need for made-up mysteries to serve as placeholder answers. As entertainment or a joke or whatever, sure…but to take the gods seriously as a possible explanation is most pathetic.


        1. Actually, to be fair, theology *used* to be intelligible (even if grossly unsupported even by the epistemic standards of the time). It usually no longer is. I can assume that’s because of the usual behaviour of many people who are cornered with indefensible beliefs – make stuff up in such a way that it can’t be criticized.

          (See my remark from a few days ago about Aristotle and Aquinas, say – both have a theology, but their contemporary followers – catholic theologians, for example – have to wrap it all up to avoid sounding immediately as severely wrongheaded.)

      1. “Trust me; this stock is primed to soar! No need to read the prospectus; just give me all your money and you’ll be set for life. Have a little faith!”


  5. But there is an element of truth in …

    I am right and everyone else is wrong except for those that agree with me.

    Take a look at the free will debate.

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