Loftus notes that "Mackie proposes that 'there might be a god who looked with more favor on honest doubters or atheists who proportioned their belief to the evidence, than on mercenary manipulators of their own understandings". (p. 54)
This speculation presumes that God doesn't know the difference between genuine faith and people seeking fire insurance. God definitely can tell the difference between the two and will honor each accordingly.
Furthermore, God does honor skepticism and many followers of Christ question their faith as the Bible instructs them to do in 1 Thessalonians 5:21. The question is why atheists draw the unnecessary conclusion that God doesn’t exist whereas Christians believe God does exist.
An interesting dynamic on this subject is that many atheists claim that they engaged in genuine intellectual investigation to determine the truth of religion in general or Christianity specifically and concluded that atheism was the better intellectual and empirical option. In other words, the smarter they became, the more they moved away from Christianity. Matthew 11:25-26 records that God has a stronger affinity with infants than with the intellectually lofty. What is the application of this verse? In How Should We Then Live?, Francis Schaeffer chronicles main trends in the history of philosophy, science and the arts to point out that some of the highest philosophical platitudes usually wind up with disastrous consequences. It seems that sometimes we can become too smart for our own good. The Bible isn’t making the case that intelligence is a stumbling block, in and of itself. The issue is the application of the intelligence. When a person does not approach life with a spirit of humility, willingness to learn and deference to God’s sovereignty, more knowledge merely serves to occlude moral sense. In reading Loftus’ personal testimony, Isaiah 29:8-14 comes to mind.