Review: ‘How “God” Works’ by Marshall Brain

How "God" Works
How “God” Works

Best known as the founder of the website, Marshall Brain’s new book examines how God works. “How ‘God’ Works: A Logical Inquiry of Faith,” takes readers on a journey of critical thinking and actually disproves the existence of God.

In the early days of YouTube, I stumbled upon an atheist video that attempted to convince religious believers that God is imaginary. The video wasn’t like any other videos I had seen. It was not trying to criticize religious believers or their beliefs. It was an instructional video. I soon watched every video this person put out and they were all fantastic. Even years later, I still refer believers to the “milk jug” video. Once it was pointed out to me, there was no mistaking the distinct voice from these videos with his National Geographic Channel television show and Oprah appearances. Marshall Brain was the YouTube atheist I had admired for so long.

“How ‘God’ Works” was written in a similar instructional style as his videos. Brain walks readers through the critical thinking process and examines the evidence. At times, the book does seem a little repetitive, but I think it works within the context of the book.

If you are the sort of religious believer who holds firmly that there really was a walking, talking snake in the Garden of Eden, that Noah built a giant boat for at least two of every animal, or that Jesus magically turned water into wine, then this book probably won’t convince you that God is imaginary. However, if you are the average moderate religious believer who accepts the science of evolution and the big bang, but who also has faith in God and the power of prayer, this book is definitely for you. While Brain sometimes takes a more literal approach to certain parts of the Bible than his target audience might, the points he makes stand independent of his Biblical citations. I just don’t see how a moderate religious believer can remain so after reading this book.

For seasoned atheists like me, this is also a great book. Although I obviously don’t need to be convinced that God is imaginary, I found myself thinking about new approaches to conversations with believers as I was reading it. At one point in the book, Brain imagines a debate with a religious believer that I think would be devastating. But it isn’t just one argument that makes this book so great; rather it is the combination of all the arguments made and the approach to those arguments that make this book so convincing.

“How ‘God’ Works” has instantly become one of my top books I think all religious believers should read and it will be added to my list of books for de-converting religious believers. If you have religious family or friends that often give you the books of religious apologists, this would be a great book to share with them in return.
How ‘God’ Works: A Logical Inquiry of Faith” by Marshall Brain is available now on and wherever books are sold.