Monday, September 13, 2010

L 4.10

Another criticism of the outsider test is that it is practically impossible. As stated previously, there is no belief vacuum, not even agnosticism. Everyone fits into some category and there is no way to be “outside” of every belief. How can someone truly exercise the outsider test when there is no "outside" to equally judge the various beliefs?

People who advocate the outsider test commit special pleading in that they want religious people to “step outside” of religion so that non-religion can be evaluated objectively. Simultaneously, they complain that those religious people don’t accept nontheist beliefs because they don’t understand or don’t try the best arguments against religion. In other words, they don’t want religious people to be religious and they want religious people to be nontheist so that they can be swayed by the best arguments against religion. So, it’s special pleading. Nontheists are basically telling theists to “get out of all beliefs except nontheism”. Many nontheists don't even recognize that they are doing this.

Regardless, there are many, many followers of Christ who can accurately reproduce and respond to the most current, most forceful arguments from nontheists against Christianity yet, they remain unconvinced by nontheist conclusions. Many more followers of Christ are aware of these rebuttals. Therefore, it isn’t totally accurate to say that Christians are ignorant of these arguments.

3 comments:

GearHedEd said...

"People who advocate the outsider test commit special pleading in that they want religious people to “step outside” of religion so that non-religion can be evaluated objectively."

Nope. You misconstrued this, too.

The outsider test asks a religious person to evaluate his or her OWN religion, from the perspective of someone from another belief system (any belief system will do- if you're a Christian, your task when taking the outsider test is to view Christianity as would one who is (for instance) a Buddhist. Or a Hindu. Or an ancient pan-theistic Greek).

Now, knowing that neither Jews nor Muslims (generally speaking; there are fringe sects) consider Jesus to be the divine son of God, if YOU were a Jew, what would you think of someone's evidence for their beliefs in Christianity? Is it good evidence, or is it flimsy?

This is another way to say that all of us are atheists; I just believe in one less god than you do.

trae norsworthy said...

The outsider test asks a religious person to evaluate his or her OWN religion, from the perspective of someone from another belief system.
i don't disagree and i don't feel that i misrepresented the idea. my response is that first, there are people who have come from "outside" christianity to become a christian. second, no atheist would seriously request that a potential atheist investigate atheism from non-atheists. if you want to learn to paint, you don't get trained by an engineer. if you want to find God, you don't ask atheists. it's absurd. third, it's semantics. evaluating a belief from "outside" that belief or "inside", you're still evaluating the belief. in this sense, the otf is a sham. it's not how the process of metaphysical beliefs work in life.

if a person can accurately reproduce arguments for a belief, can respond and remains unconvinced by them, then that person has done their due diligence.

GearHedEd said...

That's the key, the aspect that John is always going on about: due diligence.

While I can see by your thoughful writings that you are doing yours, there are VAST numbers of people who call themselves "Christians" without knowing very much about it other than where and when they meet on Sundays.

As an example, see the exchanges between myself and Rob R on DC... He's spewing a bunch of stuff about science that's totally wrong, but when I point it out to him, he has no real response, except to try to shut down the debate. Here's a guy who has NOT done his "due diligence".