When believers criticize the other faiths they reject, they use reason and science to do so. They assume these other religions have the burden of proof. They assume human not divine authors to their holy book(s). They assume a human not a divine origin to their faiths.
Believers do this when rejecting other faiths. So dispensing all of the red herrings about morality and a non-material universe, the OTF simply asks believers to do unto their own faith what they do unto other faiths. All it asks of them is to be consistent.
The OTF asks why believers operate on a double standard. If that's how they reject other faiths then they should apply that same standard to their own. Let reason and science rather than faith be their guide. Assume your own faith has the burden of proof. Assume human rather than divine authors to your holy book(s) and see what you get. If there is a divine author behind the texts it should be known even with that initial skeptical assumption. For it only takes a moment's thought to realize that if there is a God who wants people born into different religious cultures to believe, who are outsiders, then that religious faith SHOULD pass the OTF.
Sigh! So many mistakes, so little time.
i) Loftus affects evenhandedness, but notice the presupposition of the OTF. The OTF takes for granted that Christians are irrational and unscientific about Christianity. Therefore, the OTF is a necessary corrective.
But, of course, that presupposition is far from unbiased. To the contrary, that treats atheism as a given.
So the outsider test fails to pass the outsider test. It pretends to be equitable when, in fact, it is fundamentally inequitable.
ii) Then there’s the selective Cartesian skepticism. It’s not a hallmark of rationality to methodologically doubt everything you believe. Indeed, that’s not even possible. You can’t only find something doubtful if it conflicts with something else you take to be true.
iii) Loftus limits his Cartesian scepticism to Christianity (or religion in general), but once again, that reflects his bias. So the OTF is not evenhanded. The OTF is the polar opposite of what it feigns to be.
Once again, the outsider test fails to pass the outsider test. It pretends to be equitable when, in fact, it is fundamentally inequitable.
iv) What if a Christian espouses some version of scientific antirealism, viz. Bas van Fraassen?
v) Loftus is isolating science and reason as if these are value-free criteria which transcend any particular worldview. But science and reason don’t have the same status in atheism that they have in Christianity.
If naturalistic evolution is true, then human reason is the byproduct of a trial-and-error process. And science would just be an idea in our brains.
If Christianity is true, then our minds were designed by an omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent God. The same God designed the world, so the world is, to some degree, rationally accessible. Likewise, divine providence lays a foundation for induction.
vi) Morality is not a red herring. If atheism can’t justify objective moral norms, then we have no duty to be consistent. Absent epistemic duties, there is nothing wrong with double standards.
I’m not conceding that Christians are guilty of what Loftus alleges. Just pointing out that he can’t treat morality as a red herring if the OTF assumes a moral obligation to avoid double standards.
vii) I’m a critic of Roman Catholicism. Yet I don’t demand that Catholics suspend their belief in Roman Catholicism. Rather, I often measure Catholicism by its own yardstick. And when I measure Catholicism by my own yardstick, I argue for my yardstick. Therefore, I don’t shift the burden of proof onto Catholicism.
So Loftus’ blanket characterizing of how Christians allegedly conduct themselves is a straw man.
vii) As a Calvinist, I don’t think it’s God’s intention to save everyone who’s born into a different religious culture. For that matter, I don’t think it’s God’s intention to save everyone who’s born into a Christian religious culture. Therefore, the OTF is predicated on a premise that doesn’t apply to a theological tradition like my own.