Don't Be Fooled on April Fool's Day: Take the Outsider Test for Faith

The Outsider Test for Faith argument can be found in my book, or online in an edited version right here. I've recently defended it from some of Dr. Victor Reppert's criticisms. One Christian minister encourages believers to take the test! I also provided an example of what it means to take the test. So let me just say on this April Fool's Day that taking this test is the best and probably the only way to know the truth about what you believe. And here's why...

It's because of who we are. When it comes to the religious faiths we were raised to accept, it's not just that they may be false, which seems obvious, given their proliferation around the globe into geographically distinct locations. It's much worse than that. It's that, well, if Christian philosopher Victor Reppert was raised in a different home, and had different experiences, and read different books, and studied under different professors, and got a teaching appointment in a different place, then he could be an atheist philosopher right now, just as atheist philosopher Keith Parsons could be a Christian philosopher right now if he had led the life that Reppert did and his experiences were likewise reversed.

Deny this if you think you can.

That's how bad it is when it comes to anyone who claims to know the truth about these issues, and that's how bad it is when it comes to the claim that we as human beings can think outside the box and reason correctly, objectively, and dispassionately, without prejudices or preconceived notions. We can't, or at least, if we can, the only thing we can and should trust is the empirical sciences. That's our only hope. Science is the best we've got, and even science has it's problems.

We believe what we were raised to believe, and we defend what we want to believe for the most part. It's really bad. It's terrible. We humans are illogical creatures, especially when it comes to these issues. All of us.

Let me put it to you this way, if you read everything that I have read and experienced everything that I have experienced, then you would think on these issues exactly the same way I do.

Deny this if you can.

So there is only one way to deal with a particular whole way of looking at these looking at it as a whole. And the best way to do so is from the outside, from the perspective of skepticism. If the opposite is being gullible then skepticism is favored by far, given who we are as human beings and what we learned to believe on our Mama's knees.

Therein lies the dilemna and I think I have a handle on this better than most anyone I've seen argue on the web about these types of issues. We are not the rational creatures we want to appear to be. As human beings we are in terrible shape on these kinds of issues. And since we know this to be true we should be skeptical about that which we were raised to believe. And we should be skeptical about that which we want to believe. It's that simple.


Christian, no, don't say I should be skeptical about that which I believe too. In some sense when it comes to that which I affirm, I already am! I affirm an agnostic atheism. Join me. Will you say the same thing? Will you affirm that you are an agnostic believer (but isn't that an oxymoron)? In any case, if this is my problem I embrace it. Although, someone will need to explain to me how a skeptic can be skeptical about beliefs he doesn't have! A skeptic affirms no religious beliefs but merely says to the believer, "show me." Why should we consider non-beliefs as equivalent to beliefs? [Examples of non-beliefs: do you believe in the Eastern ONE, do you have a belief about ilks who might live in the stratosphere?].

Besides, it'll do you absolutely no good at all to pass the buck back to me. Whether I am skeptical of my agnostic atheism or not should mean nothing with regard to what you need to do, believer. Even if I am inconsistent you still need to subject your own beliefs to the outsider test. You still need to be skeptical about them. You still need to embrace the scientific method. It's the only antidote to the fallibility of the human mind.