Briefly, the numbers argument goes, “My god must be real because X number of people believe in it.”
In the last two days this has been given to me as a reason to believe both in Islam and Christianity. On one occasion a few months ago, astoundingly, I was told Christianity must be true because a few million Chinese believe in Jesus, conveniently ignoring that some 98% of them don’t. Obviously, whilst a few million Chinese can’t be wrong, well over a billion of them can be and most definitely are.
But let’s look at the numbers argument for a moment.
No know religion has ever been believed by a majority of the world's people, but how does the number of believers in an idea determine whether that idea is right or wrong? Answer: it doesn't. An idea is either true or false. It matters not one tittle nor jot how many people believe it.
Fundamentalists would have us believe that, somehow, an idea becomes more right as more people believe it, including their gods, it would seem. And, when no one believes in it, an idea or a god is false.
Taking this to its logical conclusion, Christianity was false before Jesus said anything about it and Islam was false before Mohammed believed it. At that point of course, Buddhism and Hindu were the most right religions because they had the most followers. Northern European pagan religions were also fairly right, but not as right as Hindu and Buddhism.
At some point in history, as more and more people were persuaded to believe these, then false, religions, the number reached some threshold at which point they became true and both Allah and Jahweh came into existence. That would appear to be what the fundamentalists believe at any rate.
Maybe this works on a geographical basis. One Christian told me that “Over 90% of Americans believe in Jesus”. Leaving aside the traditional exaggeration (to be charitable) in that figure, what has that got to do with anything? Presumably Christianity is 90% right in America? If that works then, in UK where now only 36% call themselves Christian and 51% say they have no religion, Christianity is only 36% right (and 64% false).
In my household, all religions are 100% false on that basis.
Just imagine if science proceeded on the basis of opinion polls conducted amongst people who had been indoctrinated from birth to only believe this or that theory. We would still be in the scientific Bronze Age, which is precisely where religions are today.
Yep! That’s fundamentalist logic there folks.