Definitional Apologetics, Excessive Skepticism, and the OTF

[Written by John W. Loftus] Philosophers love to define words. It's a good thing too, since Aristotle said something to the effect that "Many a dispute could be solved in a few sentences if the disputants merely defined their terms." Sometimes though, in the hands of Christian philosophers the goal is obfuscation. They try to define away a problem for their faith. I call this Definitional Apologetics, and they are quite good at it. They will feign ignorance about what an extraordinary event is in the face of a concrete example, like a virgin birth or a resurrection from the dead. They will also feign ignorance about what the scientific method is to the point of claiming there is no such thing, even though science continues to progress, purportedly without one. And using Orwellian doublespeak they claim to have a "full-blown skepticism" where they are skeptical of skepticism, thinking this allows for their faith but blind to the fact it also allows for anyone's faith. This is all pure sophistry.

Along these same lines let me respond to one major objection to the Outsider Test for Faith (OTF), as stated in the comments of a recent post:
I think you’ll find that if you try to apply [the OTF] rigorously to every aspect of your life (not just the religious bits), you’ll soon discover what “analysis paralysis” is. You’ll be unable to entertain, even for a moment, any political, aesthetic or moral opinion or value, unless you can back it up by a complete chain of logical deduction from perfectly flawless axioms. Once you get addicted to the “test of skepticism”, *how will you know* where to draw the line and refrain from excessive skepticism? So my question about where to draw the line between healthy and excessive skepticism is a genuine one, not some sort of ploy by the christian-apologist-boogeyman ;) Skepticism is indeed a slippery slope – the question is where do you draw the line? Link.
The objection is that since we cannot easily draw the line between healthy and excessive skepticism that therefore the OTF is fatally flawed.

This is pure definitional apologetics in action, and the OTF has been plagued by it from the very beginning, even though I had anticipated it. For the OTF asks believers to use the same level of skepticism when examining their own inherited religion as they already use when examining the other religions they reject. I did not try to define the level of skepticism involved. Presumably if using a certain standard of skepticism against a different religious faith is judged as healthy by a believer, then that same standard should be used to examine his or her own faith. If the one is considered healthy skepticism, then so should the other. Otherwise, believers have a double standard.

Such an objection is like asking which one whisker, when plucked, no longer leaves a man with a beard, which is an informal fallacy of reasoning. I may not be able to specify this, but there is a difference between people who have beards and those who do not, even though there might be occasional cases where we cannot decide. Basically then, such an objection faults the OTF for not being skeptical enough and then uses this not to be skeptical at all, a clear non-sequitur if I ever heard one.

I can actually do better than this initial answer though, and I do. The healthy skepticism of an outsider is one that demands sufficient evidence that supports one's specific religion to the exclusion of others. Since we are all so easily deceived by our upbringing and end up defending what we prefer to be true, we must all demand sufficient evidence for what we will accept as true. Therefore we must all look to science to show us what is true. There is no other way.

If you think otherwise, my challenge is, was, and always will be, what is the alternative?