More Straw Man Arguments, This Time by David Marshall

Christianity can only be defended by blind ignorance involving so many informal fallacies it can make one's head spin. Case in point today is David Marshall, a nice guy and budding scholar who has written a few books. I guess he was feeling left out since I have been highlighting these things with other Christian scholars. Now it's time to turn my attention to him. ;-)

When Christian apologists argue against us they are so blinded by their delusion they must argue against Straw Man versions of our arguments. You would think that someone who has read a lot of what I've written about the OTF wouldn't misread it so badly, but he did, when he said:
But the OTF asks us to adopt a perspective outside of Western culture.
Based on this false understanding he goes one to say
But all outside perspectives are also biased in different ways. It's a useful suggestion on John's part, but one shouldn't talk about an "outsider" perspective in the abstract, and then just ignore what's actually out there. For instance, John talks about the fact that almost everyone in Saudi Arabia is a Muslim. Yeah, well, if you convert, you might get drowned in your uncles swimming pool! Or tortured by the police! So generally, John can debunk Christianity all he likes; but when the talks about outside tests, we need to look outside.

He still doesn't get it and it cannot be my fault. The OTF is not asking a believer to step outside of his or her particular culture. This should be quite obvious unless he actually thinks that those of us who are no longer believers have entered into a different culture. We are still westerners because we were raised as westerners. The only thing we rejected were our culturally inherited religious beliefs. I submit to you that one can stay a westerner with the same values other westerners share, like using the English language, the love of family, a materialistic mentality, the importance of democracy, embracing the due process of a secular law, and so forth, and leave his or her faith behind. Ex-Christians who leave their faith are doing this on a daily basis.

The OTF merely asks believers to examine their own religious faith with the same standard used when examining the other faiths they reject.

So it is false, utterly false, to suggest that Muslims inside a totalitarian state with a thought police that punishes thought crimes is a relevant criticism of the OTF. Just because it is politically impossible to declare oneself a non-believer in one of these cultures does not render the OTF false or minimize the need for it. He's surely right that it would make it very difficult, but he's merely pointing to political realities as if they have a bearing on epistemological ones. They don't, not at all, not a chance.