What's The Only Alternative To The Outsider Test for Faith (OTF)?

The answer? The Insider Test for Faith (ITF). How does the ITF work? Believers should test their faith against any evidence to the contrary, and against any perceived internal inconsistencies. That's not a bad test. It does work. It worked for me, and many others. But it has serious deficiencies.

There are two serious deficiencies with it when compared to the OTF. Take first what we know about the relationship of faith to evidence itself. Without faith the correct method for assessing evidence is to think exclusively in terms of probabilities. With faith however, believers seek to find confirming evidence rather than disconfirming evidence for what they believe. With faith, believers also overestimate the probabilities of any confirming evidence. With faith then, believers can and will ignore a great deal of good evidence against what they believe, and they'll elevate to a higher degree of probability what any confirming evidence shows them. This is a skewed way to examine any faith. The OTF by contrast, asks believers to treat their own faith just as they do to the faiths they reject. When they do this correctly they'll think exclusively in terms of the probabilities by actively seeking out any disconfirming evidence, and by not attributing a great amount of weight to confirming evidence, because confirming evidence can be found almost everywhere. [Don't think so? Then read this.]

Secondly, when it comes to testing the internal consistency of the differing tenets of their faith, believers have a skewed way of doing this too, especially if their faith is false! For a false faith is not grounded on evidence--good solid evidence--at all! Therefore, a false faith is like a castle built in the sky with no grounding to it. Without any grounding to a faith then all it has is a perceived internal consistency to it. Given the amount of time Christian apologists have been defending their faith they've done a great deal of work in defending the internal consistency of their faith. If one tenet of faith doesn't make sense, or have any evidence for it, they switch to a different tenet of faith for its support.

The bottom line is that if believers accept a false religion and test it by the ITF, then they are testing the internal consistency of a religion where that's all it has going for it! For a false religion can only be defended in a circular way, with one false tenet used to support a different false tenet, which in turn is used to defend a third false tenet, and on and on it goes. Where it stops nobody knows, because it doesn't stop. And no mere mortal has the scholarship to pursue all of these false tenets to see if there is any grounding to their faith. So if believers use the ITF to test their faith, which is the only alternative to the OTF, then if their religion is false they would most likely never know that it is! Here is just one example of what I mean.