Three Fair and Impartial Tests For Christian Faith

There are three impartial tests for intellectually honest Christians who wish to test their faith. 1) We have The Outsider Test for Faith (OTF) which I've written extensively about. But there are two others that Professor Matt McCormick has written about.

2) There is The Morality Test that McCormick describes as follows:
If a human did what God is allegedly doing right now, would we consider that a morally good action?...If God is good, then why doesn’t he do the things that we consider to be good?...The failure of God on the morality test gives us strong prima facie evidence against God’s existence that weighs heavily against these alleged independent grounds.
3) McCormick also argues for The Defeasability Test:
Ultimately in the back and forth of discussions about the existence of God, religion and the like, there is an important question that must be dealt with. For the believer, that question is, what is the relationship, as you see it, between reasoning about God and your belief in God? That is, is your belief in God more fundamental than your commitment to believe what reason and evidence indicates, or are you prepared, if the evidence demands it, to abandon your view of God as irrational? The question is of obvious importance because disagreement about God’s existence that is pursued in the form of a dialogue about reasons, justifications, and the evidence is actually done in bad faith if ultimately the believer doesn’t really care what the evidence is. If the believer places a higher premium on believing than anything else, including being reasonable about counter evidence, then he’s just engaging in sophistry when he engages in dialogue.


So in the spirit of John Loftus’ Outside Test for Faith, I propose a test. Before I or any other doubter, atheist, skeptic, or non-believer engages in a discussion about the reasons for and against God, the believer must look deep into his heart and mind and ask this question: Are there any considerations, arguments, evidence, or reasons, even hypothetically that could possibly lead me to change my mind about God? Is it even a remotely possible outcome that in carefully and thoughtfully reflecting on the broadest and most even body of evidence that I can grasp, that I would come to think that my current view about God is mistaken? That is to say, is my belief defeasible?

If the answer is no, then we’re done. There is nothing informative, constructive, or interesting to be found in your contribution to dialogue. Anything you have to say amounts to sophistry. We can’t take your input any more seriously than the lawyer who is a master of casuistry and who can provide rhetorically masterful defenses of every side of an issue. She’s not interested in the truth, only is scoring debate points or the construction of elaborate rhetorical castles (that float on air).
Now it just happens that I think Christianity, especially evangelical Christianity, fails the first two tests. That the Christian faith and many others fail these two tests is no reason to reject them simply because atheists have proposed them. With regard to the outsider test, the great Catholic apologist GK Chesterton, whose book The Everlasting Man helped convince CS Lewis to believe, proposed an OTF. And many former evangelicals who have become moderates or liberals have accepted the moral test, which forces them to reject the barbaric depictions of Yahweh in the Old Testament as "condemned texts." Unfortunately they don't go far enough, in that they don't reject the Bible as a divine revelation. But they should.

When it comes to the defeasibility test, I think both William Lane Craig and Randal Rauser fail it. [<--- Read the links] The reason I keep engaging them is in hopes that less deluded believers can see just how badly they argue in defense of their faith.

McCormick ends by saying:
In all fairness, we must demand the same from skeptics, doubters, and atheists. They are just as guilty of conflict if they rail against religious beliefs for lacking rational justification, but in turn there are no possible considerations that could ever lead them to relinquish their doubts.

So before we can get down to the real issues, is your view defeasible?
This makes his defeasability test a fair one, just as the other two tests are fair.

But watch Christians jump on this last part and almost totally ignore how it applies to their own faith.

The problem for the non-believer is that most all of the things that would make our non-belief defeasible are the things we have looked for and not found. In order for me to embrace the Christian faith there are things that took place in the past that should never have happened. And there are things that didn't happen that should have taken place. So in my case the past would have to be changed. I know too much of the past to believe. I know about the barbaric God of Bible, the evolving theology based on his supposed revelation, and the history of the church. God would have to be described differently, he would have exclusively done good works, and his church should show some evidence that it was guided by the Holy Spirit. That's a difference, a big one. So I have already answered the defeasibility test in a post titled What Would Convince Me Christianity is True?.

Christian, what would convince you to doubt your Christian faith?

Here are some options presently not available as proper responses to the defeasibility test:

1) If scientists come up with a theory of everything.
2) If I die and never regain consciousness again. (This was John Hick's answer to Antony Flew's falsification challenge).
3) If scientists can fully explain the origins of the quantum fluctuation that caused the big bang.
4) If intelligent design becomes the dominant scientific research program.
5) If archeologists find the bones of Jesus.

The reason why these are disengenuous responses to the test should be clear. All of them refer to the future of what hasn't happened yet, a couple of which will probably not happen at all (that is, 4 and 5), and none of them are relevant to what could presently cause you to reject your particular Christian faith, as I've written with regard to Natural Theology. [<---Read the link] Christian, how does your faith fare in the face of these three tests? Be honest.