Keep in mind Randal Rauser highly recommended Marshall's book, so I should ask again why I'm wrong in saying Rauser will say and endorse anything in order to defend his Christian faith. No educated intellectual should think Marshall's book is worthy of a blurb. No educated intellectual worthy the name would have written it.
When I consider the original "Outsider Test for Faith," (OTF) by John Loftus, I get it. It's a self-check to test yourself for bad reasoning such as special pleading (your religion alone should be given a pass against the tough questions, but not the religions of others), confirmation bias (counting the hits, but forgetting the misses), cherry-picking (selecting the bits that suggest an idea is true, but neglecting the bits that cast doubt) or arguing that an idea must be true simply because it's popular. As long as there are outsiders to Christianity who reject its tenets, (quite aside from the truth values of Christian claims), doesn't it seem reasonable for a Christian to want to understand the objections of an outsider to Christianity?
David Marshall takes this "Outsider Test" and turns it on its ear to come up with four, or perhaps eight different "debugged and polished up" OTFs (I am unable to reconcile his "theses" to his "tests")....If the OTF were a smog test, and Marshall's Chevy Jesus with bad rings and a lazy catalytic converter didn't pass the first time, instead of fixing his car, he's decided to jimmy with the test itself. And when will this test be ready? When it's finally a test his out-of-tune Chevy Jesus can pass. This is how Marshall gets Jesus to "pass" his re-engineered OTF.
How is this even a test anymore? Isn't it a validation of the blue smoke emanating from the tailpipe? The purpose of the original smog test was to keep the skies cleaner by making it illegal to operate a polluting vehicle. Marshall, in this volume argues that dirtier skies are actually better. And now that he's tinkered with the test, lowering the bar to allow it to pass, if his religion now seems to pass, should that come as a surprise? If other religions also seem to pass, we also shouldn't be surprised. That's what happens when you make a test super easy to pass. Isn't this a reflection of his amazing test-designing skills? Too bad this tells us nothing about the emissions of vehicles. As a result, he seems only to argue that people ought to want to have at least a certain amount of pollution in their intellectual skies...In the process of lowering the bar, he appears to argue that all religions pass his re-jiggered OTFs because he feels that they all more or less are true. At first, one might think that Marshall is going to propose that by rationalizing the most universal aspects of religions, it would be possible to form a mosaic religion that is either the original religion, or else one that is truer than any one existing religion. But instead, he argues that Christianity already IS that religion. If he wanted to avoid special pleading, here's where he proved he couldn't do it.
The problem I can see even liberal christian apologists and clergy having with this book is that a christian could just as easily take away from it the idea that they should convert to traditional Chinese religion as remain a christian. If one accepts that the world's religions are a single buffet of truth, this leads not to Jesus or christianity, but to a cherry-picked salad of power crystals, chokra therapy, and all kinds of other new-age superstitions and mysticisms, potentially including witchcraft, and perhaps a little Jesus too — on the side — or perhaps not. Those who use the word "pagan" as a pejorative, or are concerned about the purity of their religion shouldn't bother with this book.
This is not a reliable way to establish baseline facts upon which to deduce other facts. The majority is often wrong. Poll the majority if you want to find the lowest common denominator, but not necessarily what's true. David Marshall's OTFs do not test bad reasoning, they open the door to it. If you are a Christian and want to be told that Jesus or fallacious reasoning "passes" some kind of "test" then this book is for you. If you sincerely want to arrive at a rational estimate of what is most probably true that is as free as possible from fallacious reasoning, then don't waste your time with "How Jesus Passes the Outsider Test" by David Marshall. LINK.