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The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion is True Paperback – 1 Mar 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (1 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616147377
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616147372
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.7 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,021,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sphex on 3 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
Early on in this uncompromising examination of religious belief, John Loftus asks a simple question: How does, say, a non-Christian become a Christian? More generally, how does a non-X become an X, where X is any religion you care to name? Faith will certainly take you across the boundary separating the non-Christian from the Christian, but it will also take you across every other conceivable boundary as well. Why doesn't the Christian (who is also a non-Muslim, a non-Hindu, etc.) take a leap of faith to any one of the hundreds of other religions on offer? For the simple reason that Christians are sceptical of all belief systems, apart from their own.

Loftus sees a double standard here, and he draws an important distinction between a believer's faith-based scepticism and the reasonable or informed scepticism that begins, in all humility, with a presumption that one's own religious faith is probably false. (Tim Minchin's "Thank You God" brilliantly sums up the sheer improbability of the particular god believed in at a particular time and in a particular place being the actual ruler of the universe.)

This informed scepticism should be the default adult attitude when examining any religion: "(1) it assumes one's own religious faith has the burden of proof; (2) it adopts the methodological-naturalist viewpoint by which one assumes there is a natural explanation for the origins of a given religion, its holy books, and it's [sic] extraordinary claims of miracles; (3) it demands sufficient evidence before concluding a religion is true; (4) it disallows any faith in the religion under investigation, since the informed skeptic cannot leap over the lack of evidence by punting to faith.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Johnny P on 29 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The OTF is intuitively simple. The multitude of religions require explaining, from a theistic point of view, and until adequate answer is given, skeptical agnosticism is the most reasonable position. That is common-sense. Loftus takes this idea and thoroughly defends it in a fully convincing and very readable manner. And of course, it is far more nuanced than my pithy opener there.

I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did because I thought that the argument was simple and obvious, but the way Loftus drew in quotes and arguments from a plethora of different sources meant that this book packs a really hefty punch and left me thinking, on many, many pages, that I must remember this quote or that quote.

I am hoping to do a more in depth view on the content of the book to post on my blog. I think this books deserves to be very widely read as the argument seems not to have any significant counters.

If God is out there, he has done a pretty crappy job at revealing himself, unless he is himself terribly confused and possibly schizophrenic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. on 23 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback
Another great book by John W. Loftus which makes many excellent points. The OTF is the skeptic app. DOWNLOAD NOW !
It also introduces the reader to several of the main players round the debate table.

Now here is a review in the style of pseudepigraphal Bible authors who used famous names like Isaiah as File headers under which to sneak their own views. see WIBA p170

There are at least three main aspects to religion
1 Debates about whether there is a supernatural realm / what it might be like
2 Debates about morals / ethics / how to behave on Earth
3 Debates about what occurred in history / which model the information best fits theistic or naturalistic
What would the good points in religion have been if it turned out there were no Gods ?
Even 1 Thessalonians 5v21 says, " Test everything, Hold onto the good, avoid every kind of evil " So wouldn't that mean testing the Bible which is what the council of Nicene was supposed to do but maybe they didn't do a very good job ? If N.T. writers had called the doctrine of hell good when in fact it was unethical & cruel
then blindly accepting it just cause it appears in the Bible could mean you fail to act by 1 Thess 5v21.

Maybe most people just cherry the best or vital bits out of any book / film / album. The Outsider test of faith is a catalyst to help dissolve religious nonsense in the acid bath of evolution.

In the ancient Egyptian myth of Osiris as seen from the 1550 BCE Papyrus of Ani there is the idea of weighing the heart on the scales against the feather of truth. Maybe we should weigh the Gods by the feather of The Golden Rule? Let's do an inside out test on the Gods

What does the Bible say are the best ideas in the Bible ?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By THE PROFESSOR on 28 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
Great book. This book is a must read for anyone who seriously wants to question their faith. It is a book the open-minded person should embrace. John W. Loftus presents his book in a coherent way. His writing style makes it easy for the layman to understand. Pay no attention to the slanderous reviews. People can be very insecure when they have their beliefs challenged. Read it for yourself. Think for yourself.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ashtar Command on 27 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback
"The Outsider Test for Faith" is a recent title by John W Loftus. The author is a former Catholic and ex-evangelical who has written or edited a number of atheist books. His main claim to fame is something he calls the Outsider Test for Faith (OTF). In this book, he defends and expounds on the concept. I admit that I wasn't convinced, primarily because the OTF presupposes materialism and atheism from the start. Or, as Loftus prefers to call it, "science", "reason" and "methodological-naturalism".

The OTF is rigged in advance so that Christianity can't pass it. This becomes obvious at ppg. 92-93, where Loftus rejects seven criteria for rationally evaluating experience (religious or otherwise), proposed by one Keith Yandell. The criteria are pretty trivial, and include the usual provisos about adequacy to the facts, logical consistency, the necessity of avoiding ad hoc hypotheses, etc. Loftus believes that Christianity can't pass Yandell's test, but he is worried anyway since Yandell (who was a Christian) would argue otherwise. Loftus also says that the faith of Mormons and Scientologists could pass the test. Therefore, something stronger is apparently needed! I think Loftus' objection to Yandell's test is that Yandell was neutral towards the supernatural. He only spoke of "well-established data", "phenomena within its relevance" or "counterevidence", never specifically about methodological naturalism (really atheism and materialism). This is the loophole Loftus wants to plug, right from the start. Supernaturalism simply isn't *allowed* to pass the OTF.

Another problem is the parochial (pun unintended!) and "Euro-centrist" character of the OTF, which is really directed at conservative and fundamentalist Christianity.
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