The Brafman’s tell us that the way to counter diagnosis bias is to ask this question: “If I were just arriving on the scene and were given the choice to either jump into this project as it stands now or pass on it, would I choose to jump in?” (p. 175). This is similar to what I had previously said when it comes to maintaining one’s faith. Believers must ask themselves if they knew then what they know now would they ever make the decision to convert in the first place? They must re-examine the initial reasons they had when they first made the commitment to faith. What were those reasons? They must ask that question. Do those reasons hold up to the evidence that was initially presented? What evidence was initially presented? Usually none, as in N – O – N – E. Usually what produces a conversion to faith is the gospel story itself and the divine hope and love it promises. There is no discussion about how Jesus was 100% God and 100% man, nor how the death of Jesus atones for sins, nor even what to think about the millions of people who will wind up in hell. So, if you were arriving on the scene when you were first presented the gospel, were you given good initial reasons to believe or not? Would you believe knowing what you do now? Doing so will help believers overcome diagnosis bias, because they will look at what they know now and apply it to what they were told then.I was raised as a Christian my whole life and I have always had access to good answers and nothing has ever been hidden from me. Loftus sounds like his Christian experience was like an Amway meeting or something where you get the presentation of hope and love and no one tell you about things that he now thinks are irrational. To be fair, of course lots of people are "converted" that way. But that is not how I came up. I've always been allowed to apply reason to these issues and have had access to learn about it. I've seen the answers for the issues Loftus brings up and I find them worthwhile and consistent. I've seen other people try to explain it to Loftus and he refuses to listen because the answers can't be rooted in science as if truth can only be determined by Science. I suggest listening to a recent lecture by philosopher J.P. Moreland's lecture on the relationship of science and Christian Faith.
Again, do you want to know the truth despite the fact that by investigating your faith you might find out you are wrong? Can you handle the truth? ;-) Yes or no?
I find that many atheist pretend they want to know the answer to this question. They prefer to believe that Christians are gullible and never thought about what they believe and why. That's not true. I may have been raised a Christian but that isn't why I am a Christian. Had I investigated my faith and realized that it wasn't true I would have walked away. I find it interesting that for people like John Loftus, that isn't good enough. The fact that I've come to the opposite conclusion means that, in their minds, I'm the one who is deluded or even stupid. As one who believes the Bible, I look at this differently. They think that that if I looked at the same evidences, read the same books, and accepted the same presuppositions I would come to the same conclusions. I didn't come to my conclusions completely one my own. God reveals Himself to us. We don't get to find him on our own terms. He gets us.
Here is where the inconsistency comes in: Loftus seems enamored with how the brain works and how to understand how the brains of believers and unbelievers process differently (if at all). He correctly points out that our minds can be tricked and and that we are all biased. He uses this fact to explain for him why rational people are religious although he says that religious beliefs are all equally irrational. In order to make that claim that would mean that he believes that people faith of faith is biased and he is not. He substantiates this by claiming that he avoids bias by trusting science in order to tell what is true and what is false. The problem is that science cannot be the inexhaustible tool to determine truth. It has limits. Aside from science he is still depending on his brain that he has already admitted that is unreliable because everyone's is unreliable.
The Bible agrees -
9 The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
10 “I the LORD search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.”
This is one of the reasons why I am a Christian. I find that the Bible is a reliable and objective standard on which to understand reality. The best lens to fix my own corrupt and fallible viewpoints. I realize that people like John Loftus disagree with that. However I have searched all over - history, physics, astronomy, chemistry, engineering, and various religions - and I have found none greater than God - nothing more important. With God everything falls into its proper place and makes sense. So the question I have is - given the limitations of your own mind, how do you know truth and reality? What is your authority? As an atheist, the only answer one can give is an I - N - C - O - N - S - I - S - T - E - N - T one.
From John Loftus's blog Debunking Christianity