October 16, 2012

Blurbs for My Book "The Outsider Test for Faith"

Here are the blurbs for my book The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion Is True (OTF) in no particular order:

Formulating and extensively defending the OTF is Loftus’ greatest contribution to the philosophy of religion and atheism. The basic idea is that you can only have a rational faith if you test it by the same standards you apply to all other competing faiths; yet when you do that, your religion tests as false as the others, and the same reasons you use to reject those become equally valid reasons to reject yours.

This is the greatest book Loftus has ever produced. It's without question a must-read for believers, and atheists who wants to debate them. Superbly argued, air tight, and endlessly useful, this should be everyone's first stop in the god debate. Loftus meets every objection and proves the Outsider Test for Faith is really the core of every case against religious belief, and the one argument you can't honestly get around. It takes religion on at its most basic presuppositions, forcing the believer into a dilemma from which there is no escape: either abandon your faith or admit you don't believe in being logically consistent. After reading it, and sincerely applying its principles, anyone who really wants to be rational will be on the road to atheism in no time.

Though this idea has been voiced before, Loftus is the first to name it, rigorize it, and give it an extensive philosophical defense; moreover, by doing so, he is the first to cause a concerted apologetic to arise attempting to dodge it, to which he could then respond. The end result is one of the most effective and powerful arguments for atheism there is. It is, in effect, a covering argument that subsumes all other arguments for atheism into a common framework. http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/2981/

 -- Dr. Richard Carrier, author of Why I Am Not a Christian: Four Conclusive Reasons to Reject the Faith.


John Loftus's Outsider Test for Faith is well-written; it is passionate; it is important; it is engaging; and it is surprising. It's well worth the relatively short read and a lot of consideration. It's a silver-bullet argument on its central theme: which religion is true? None of them! Get it; read it; and press the OTF out into the world where it can do some good. I strongly recommend it for anyone interested in discussions about religious faith.

For the believers this book presents itself as a test for determining which religion is true. Specifically, it sets out to engage readers on the question of the distribution of world faiths, asking them to look at their faith as would an outsider. This removes the double standard and allows believers their one shot at strengthening their faith-based claims in an increasingly secular world. Every believer today owes it to himself or herself, as well as to his or her faith community, to engage Loftus's arguments openly and honestly. It is a total game-changer.

  --Dr. James A. Lindsay, Author of  Everybody Is Wrong About God.


 John Loftus will be remembered a century from now for his Outsider Test for Faith.

 -- Frank Zindler, former president of America Atheists and editor of American Atheist Magazine.


The Outsider Test for Faith should earn Loftus a permanent place in the history of critiques of religion.

 -- Christopher Hallquist, author of UFOs, Ghosts, and a Rising God: Debunking the Resurrection of Jesus.


Without doubt one of the best books I've ever read on faith. A masterpiece.

 -- Dr. Peter Boghossian, author of A Manual for Creating Atheists.


John Loftus has done it again! He has produced a lucid and exhaustive explanation of the simple proposition that individuals should examine their own faith with the same skepticism they show toward the claims of other faiths. No significant objection is left unexamined, and no major objector escapes unscathed. This is a potent antidote to those who elevate faith above reason, and superstition above science. It is a bravura performance.

 -- Dr. Hector Avalos, author of The End of Biblical Studies.


I am a big fan of John Loftus’s “Outsider Test for Faith”-the view that because one’s religious faith is almost completely an accident of birth, believers should be highly skeptical about whether their own faith is correct. The wisdom of this rational and quasi-scientific approach is unquestionable. But if it's used honestly, its outcome is inevitable.

 -- Dr. Jerry A. Coyne, Professor of Ecology and Evolution at The University of Chicago and author of Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religions Are Incompatible.


Loftus makes a convincing case that believers who are willing to honestly apply the outsider test cannot but fail to see the irrationality of their faith.

 -- Victor J. Stenger, author of God and the Folly of Faith.


Over the past ten thousand years there have been tens of thousands of religions and thousands of gods. Which one is the right one? To believers in each one they all appear unique. To an anthropologist from Mars they all look the same. . . . John W. Loftus’s clever Outsider Test for Faith gives you the intellectual firepower you need when engaging believers, pointing out, for example, that they are religious skeptics, too—of all those other faiths. Some of us go one faith further in our skepticism. You will, too, after reading this testament to the power of reason.

 -- Dr. Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, and author of The Believing Brain.


The Outsider Test for Faith is an ingenious way of helping the religious take a step back so that they can fairly and impartially examine what they believe, which can only be a good thing.

 -- Dr. Stephen Law, senior lecturer in philosophy, University of London, and author of Believing Bullshit.


John Loftus has written a bold book based on a simple premise: The unexamined faith is not worth believing. Of course, every Christian apologist gives lip service to this premise and claims to have given the tenets of faith a full and fair hearing. Loftus shows just how cheap and hollow such talk usually is. He demands that believers examine their own faith with all of the rigor and skepticism that they direct towards other faiths. To those who condemn the beliefs of others while elevating their own dogmas, Loftus’ message could come straight from the Gospel: Remove the beam from your own eye before you seek to remove the speck from another’s.

 -- Dr. Keith Parsons, PhD, Professor of Philosophy, University of Houston-Clear Lake; author of books in the philosophy of science, history of science, and philosophy of religion.


Perhaps the most intractable argument against Loftus’s outsider test of faith is some version of “I can’t do it. I can’t get far enough outside of my emotions and beliefs to examine my own religion like I would any other.” As a psychologist I find that credible. We all have a very imperfect and fragmentary ability to see ourselves as others see us. But this in no way undermines Loftus’s foundational argument that the outsider test should be the gold standard.

 -- Dr. Valerie Tarico, psychologist and author of Trusting Doubt.


When an evangelical minister can ask tough questions about religion and leave the faith, then so can you. John Loftus is the religious believer’s genuine friend, respecting your intelligence enough to show you how religions really work. His new book questions every religion with the same challenge: what reasons could it really have for claiming to possesses the unique truth? When the fa├žades of familiarity and unquestionability are ripped away, exposing faith’s weaknesses to both insiders and outsiders, can any religion pass this test?

 -- Dr. John Shook, PhD, Center for Inquiry and American Humanist Association and author of The God Debates.


This is an excellent exposition of a relatively obvious argument. The OTF is intuitively simple. The multitude of religions require explaining, from a theistic point of view, and until adequate answer is given, skeptical agnosticism is the most reasonable position. That is common-sense. Loftus takes this idea and thoroughly defends it in a fully convincing and very readable manner.  

 I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did because I thought that the argument was simple and obvious, but the way Loftus drew in quotes and arguments from a plethora of different sources meant that this book packs a really hefty punch and left me thinking, on many, many pages, that I must remember this quote or that quote.

 I think this book deserves to be very widely read as the argument seems not to have any significant counters.

 --Johnathan Pearce, an Amazon review, author of many books including The Resurrection: A Critical Examination of the Easter Story.


Loftus Brings the Hammer Down! Simply one of the most powerful books I have ever read. I was stunned as on page after page his sensibility, his logic, and his obvious way of finding out what the real and true religion is, is literally shunned by all religions! Loftus has very well written his very finest with this one. Profoundly influential thinking. Detailed rebuttals of those lying Christians who love to pretend they have taken the test and passed it. Not a chance, and Loftus demonstrates step by step exactly why. The problem is faith, the most problematic concept in all of religion, and Loftus absolutely demonstrates with beautiful detail. What a powerful book! READ IT. Faith lacks the power to discriminate between true and false, as all the various thousands of Christian denominations demonstrate for us all to see with our own eyes. All use faith for their own views and condemn all others, who also use faith for *their* own views, and no one has a clue. Not a pea-pickin clue at all! Loftus shreds faith and demonstrates that reality is never confirmed by mere possibility, but only through probability. A most stimulating and powerful book! It was so doggone good when I finished it, I immediately started over and re-read it again. And I will do so yet again soon as well.

 --Kerry Shirts, an Amazon review. 

To say I'm excited is an understatement of gargantuan propositions.

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