Children and religious belief
Some militant atheists have claimed that children are natural atheists, and that it is only adult indoctrination that makes them believe in God or gods. Here is a report of some research that appears to refute that contention:
Why do the majority of people – across cultures and throughout history – believe in gods?One way to address this question is to look at why it is that children acquire beliefs in gods. If an idea cannot be easily learned by children then it is relatively unlikely to survive into the next generation and will die out. So if we can explain why children are so ready to believe in gods, we will be a big step closer in understanding religious beliefs more generally. It may seem that the answer is simple: indoctrination. Children believe because their parents or other adults teach them, right? Unfortunately, the story is not that simple. Fortunately, it is far more interesting.
Hat-tip to Nouslife for the link.
And some militant atheists have gone so far as to urge (apparently quite seriously) that adults teaching religious beliefs to children should be classified as child abuse and punished accordingly. I picture their vision of a perfect society as being something like that depicted in Aldous Huxley’s Brave new world.