JOHN W. LOFTUS SAID:
"However, the Christian sees doubt as opposed to the need to please God with faith. So they do not have this same kind of healthy skepticism. Not you charge we with inconsistency. Where is it? I think the outsider test applies differently to religious beliefs that are communal, exclusive, based upon an ancient text, that requires faith, and where there is a fear of hell. All of these things hinders a dispassionate investigation."
Loftus reminds me of a scene from the 1961 movie El Cid, starring Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren.
El Cid was killed in battle. But most of the troops don't know that. So his wife has the corpse dressed up in full battle regalia, mounted on his war horse, and marched into battle at the head of the army.
His troops are emboldened by the ruse, while the enemy forces flee in terror at the sight of the invincible warrior.
Loftus' precious Outsider Test, like all his other arguments, has been slain many times over. I myself responded to this nearly a year ago, as did other T-bloggers.
But Loftus, like a taxidermist, continues to stuff his cadaverous argument into a rusty suit of armor, prop it on a hobbyhorse, and wheel it into battle—hoping we won't notice the stench.
But that's not all that wrong with his moldering argument:
1. One would have to be a pretty poor student of Scripture to suppose that God is pleased with a feigned faith. Christian identity is not about playing the role of a believing. It's not about play-acting or make-believe. That would be the very definition of hypocrisy.
Pretending to believe in God is not pleasing to God. Going through the motions isn't pleasing to God. Keeping up appearances isn't pleasing to God.
Even before we get to the NT, hasn't Loftus ever read the OT prophets?
But, of course, this is one of his problems. He was never more than a nominal believer. That's why he doesn't understand the nature of faith. He's like a colorblind art critic. He can master the vocabulary, but he cannot see what he describes. So he gropes and fumbles.
2. But it goes from bad to worse. For he has such a pitifully illogical mind. The above-stated argument is self-refuting.
Yes, doubt is opposed to faith. Yet it should be needless to point out, if we weren't dealing with someone as uncomprehending as Loftus, that if you doubt the existence of God or the inspiration of Scripture, then you doubt that faith is pleasing to God. For faith could only be pleasing to God if there were a God to please.
Likewise, the fear of hell is only fearful to those who believe in it. If you're a doubter, then your doubt will extend to the existence of hell.
Loftus' arguments are premised on a faith which his dubious conclusion denies.
Who happens to think that faith is pleasing to God? A believer.
Who thinks that hell is a fearful fate? A believer.
If, conversely, someone is a doubter, then these cease to be operating assumptions. Cease to be unquestionable articles of the faith.