Give Drs. Rauser and Marshall a Big Welcome!

Christian apologists Drs. Randal Rauser and David Marshal seem to have conspired together to comment here as a tag team in a wrestling match against me at DC. Why? Because I have "a big audience," said Rauser in a comment, an audience of atheists, agnostics and skeptics. And so it seems with Marshall as well. Give them a big warm DC welcome. No, seriously, I welcome them. Now I don't want to be over-run with Christian apologists, but I suppose they will be met with more atheists who want to debate them over the issues that divide us. So I would welcome this too. Just be careful when it comes to my involvement. Don't assume that if they have the last word that I cannot answer them, and don't expect me to have the time to answer them either, since I now have a second job (I had told my readers this might be necessary for a long time, and the time has come. I'm tired of living on a meager income). I'd like to say some additional things about this development, if it's something that will continue into the future (and of this I don't know).

Let me begin by challenging them both. Marshall thinks my Outsider Test for Faith (OTF), with some nuances (which water it down quite a bit), is a good enough test for faith and that his faith passes the test. Rauser however, thinks it is "otiose," that is, ineffective, futile, superfluous or useless. So let's see THEM debate it. Come on boys, let's see you duke it out in the big ring. *DING" First round, GO!

They are not here because I have good arguments, no siree Bob. They are here because I have a big audience, and we all know that merely having a big audience is no sign that what I have to say has any merit.

What kind of audience do I have? Well, I did a poll on it a few months ago. Let's see...

It looks like a well-rounded audience, doesn't it. I would challenge them to do a similar poll on their blogs for comparison. In any case it sure looks like I have the attention of the scholars. ;-)

There are some Christians who have never heard a good argument against their faith. Maybe Marshall and Rauser think this? I know I think this when it comes to their defense of faith. I have considered everything they say, and even said many of the same things myself in defense of Christianity, when I was a budding apologist myself. And I now have under my belt about seven years of daily blogging on these issues, reading further, and writing several books. But no, I offer little. It's not because I have anything important to say that hasn't been said better by others, right? I do have an expertise that they fail to understand though. I have a good grasp of all the arguments against their faith. If anything else, I catalog them as sort of a reference librarian does who can tell people where to find good arguments against Christianity and religious faith itself. In other words, I am a specialist in the big picture, someone who sees the whole forest of trees.

Then there's that little thingy called the OTF that I defend. It's "otiose," says Rauser. Well then, by picking on Lil O Me, since I ignorantly produce otise arguments, then I suppose he doesn't think much of important scholars who say otherwise:

Here are the blurbs so far for my forthcoming book on the OTF:

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"Without doubt one of the best books I've ever read on faith. A masterpiece."

- Dr. Peter Boghossian, Portland State University Philosophy Department.

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"John Loftus has done it again! He has produced a lucid and exhaustive explanation of the simple proposition that individuals should examine their own faith with the same skepticism they show toward the claims of other faiths. No significant objection is left unexamined, and no major objector escapes unscathed. This is a potent antidote to those who elevate faith above reason, and superstition above science. It is a bravura performance."

Dr. Hector Avalos
Professor of Religious Studies
Iowa State University

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"Over the past 10,000 years there have been tens of thousands of religions and thousands of gods. Which one is the right one? To believers in each one they all appear unique. To an anthropologist from Mars they all look the same. Is there an outsider test of faith? There is now. John Loftus's clever Outsider Test for Faith gives you the intellectual firepower you need when engaging believers, pointing out, for example, that they are religious skeptics too--of all those other faiths. Some of us go one faith further in our skepticism. You will too after reading this testament to the power of reason."

--Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, author of The Believing Brain

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"Loftus offers an original challenge to believers: Judge your beliefs by the same rules you use to judge the beliefs of those of other persuasions. He makes a convincing case that believers who are willing to honestly apply such a test cannot but fail to see the irrationality of their faith."

- Dr. Victor Stenger, author of many important books including the NY Times Bestseller, God: The Failed Hypothesis.

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"John Loftus will be remembered a century from now for his Outsider Test for Faith."

- Dr. Frank Zindler, former president of America Atheists and editor of American Atheist Magazine.

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"When an evangelical minister can ask tough questions about religion and leave the faith, then so can you. John Loftus is the religious believer’s genuine friend, respecting your intelligence enough to show you how religions really work. His new book questions every religion with the same challenge: what reasons could it really have for claiming to possesses the unique truth? When the fa├žades of familiarity and unquestionability are ripped away, exposing faith’s weaknesses to both insiders and outsiders, can any religion pass the hardest test of all?"

John Shook, PhD, Center for Inquiry and American Humanist Association.

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Other blurbs are forthcoming. If the OTF is that bad of an argument as they say, then neither Rauser nor Marshall think highly of any of these scholars either. And if that's so, I'm in good company.

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