In the following quote by Billy Sunday
Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.
Can anyone please explain/elaborate the usage and meaning of "any more than"?
The construction [not X] any more than [Y] is a way of comparing a primary negative assertion to an obviously absurd positive secondary assertion. The underlying logic is:
[X] is not any more true than [Y] … that is, it is equally untrue
[Going to church makes you a Christian] is not any more true than [going to a garage makes you a car].
Move the denial into the primary proposition, and you have:
[X is not true] any more than [Y]
Is not true reduces, in context, to VERBs not, so you end up with:
[Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian] any more than [going to a garage makes you a car].
This is merely a comparison of two things.
Doing A doesn't mean that you're an X. (church)
Doing B doesn't mean that you're a Y. (garage)
Therefore, A and B are equally ineffective measures of your true nature. OR
Therefore, your doing A doesn't tell us more about your true nature than your doing B does.
So both A and B have zero value as signs of your character and nature. They are equal.
Here's another example of the usage:
The distinction between a "formal" fallacy and a "material" fallacy is not fixed or clear--any more than that between "formal" and "material" logic.
In this case, what these two pairs of terms mean and how each member of a pair differs from its opposite is equally unclear and unfixed.
"any more than" can be a substitute for "even if" for example. Going to church does not make you a Christian even if going to a garage makes you a car. The whole idea of the sentence is that while going to a garage does not make you a car, likewise going to a church does not necessarily make you a christian.