He begins his examination by listing just the top 20 religions then makes this statement:
If you believe in God, you have chosen to reject Allah, Vishnu, Budda, Waheguru and all of the thousands of other gods that other people worship today. It is quite likely that you rejected these other gods without ever looking into their religions or reading their books. You simply absorbed the dominant faith in your home or in the society you grew up in.
While it may be true that people often accept the traditions in which they grow up, it does not follow that you have to be intimately familiar with other religious texts in order to reject them. Further, it is a genetic fallacy to simply assert that someone simply believes something because of where they were raised or the context in which they grew up.
Next, he says,
In the same way, the followers of all these other religions have chosen to reject God. You think their gods are imaginary, and they think your God is imaginary.
That’s just not true. Muslims will assert that they worship that they worship the same God as Jews and Christians. Some Hindus will assert that Yahweh is merely part of the pantheon of their 300 million gods. It is only classical Judaism, and its inheritor in Christianity, that actually asserts that those other gods are not gods at all:
“The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.” —Jeremiah 10:11(ESV)
The assertion of Christianity is not that they are “imaginary”, it’s just that they are not gods. So this statement is simply a straw man.
This statement though, is somewhat accurate,
A rational person rejects all human gods equally, because all of them are equally imaginary.
What constitutes a “human god”? The question is left unanswered. The Bible offers an argument as to what they are:
Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. —Romans 1:22 (ESV)
There is an interesting note in history, that Jews and Christians were called “atheists” by the Greeks and Romans because, when they came into their temples and places of worship, there were no idols, no physical representation of the God they worshipped. They didn’t worship gods of air, water, fire, or earth, they worshipped the God who made those things. There was a superstition that those pagan religions had that the Jews, and later Christians, did not have by giving power to things made by their own hands that were only re-presentations of mere men, women, and assortments of animals. The logical question posed by the theism of Jews and Christians, was how can a god who has to be represented in wood or stone or metal be a real god? In fact, the biblical record gives us a clear demonstration of the reality of God against the falsity of idols in 1 Kings 18:20-40, where the prophet Elijah challenged the prophets of Ba’al to a contest. Of course, skeptics will merely dismiss it, but the people of Israel did not dismiss it. More interestingly though, Christians claim that a greater, more provable event has occurred in the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
But there’s this statement,
If one of these thousands of gods were actually real, then his followers would be experiencing real, undeniable benefits. These benefits would be obvious to everyone. The followers of a true god would pray, and their prayers would be answered. The followers of a true god would therefore live longer, have fewer diseases, have lots more money, etc. There would be thousands of statistical markers surrounding the followers of a true god.
The statistical markers that surround the answered prayers of Christians are clearly attested and documented, as Craig Keener demonstrates in his 2 volume work on Miracles, and discusses in this lecture:
Even in the addendum, Understanding the Rationalizations, Marshall ends up rationalizing his own disbelief by making an argument that simply doesn’t follow:
The fact that there are so many gods proves that all of these gods are imaginary.
Apply this argument to any other issue:
1: Because they are so many different makes of cars, therefore Jeeps do not exist.
2: What? I own a Jeep.
1:Doesn’t prove that they exist.
2:You, sir, are an idiot.
Mr. Brain’s conclusions are simply based, not in examination of the facts, in his misplaced, misinformed presuppositions.