It is not too far-fetched to say that whatever you are exposed to growing up will probably influence your beliefs as an adult in some way or another. This applies to just about every aspect of our lives, but I’m referring specifically to your religion or belief systems. Generally, kids tend to believe whatever they are told and not really give it much thought.
Say you are five years old and your parents tell you to be good because Santa is watching you. You’re actually going to go brush your teeth because you believe them; after all, they are your parents, why would they lie, and you don’t want to risk Santa not bringing presents. And then a few years pass and you begin to pick up on the fact that sadly, Santa is merely another fictitious Christmas character created by adults to make Christmas more magical and make kids brush their teeth.
Okay, now say you are still five years old and your parents tell you that Jesus is watching over you and if you believe in Him you will go to heaven. Of course you are going to believe them because why would your parents lie to you and of course you want to go to heaven. But what if you are five years old and your parents tell you there is no God and we are in this world to live our lives and after that, we die. You believe them because, once again, why would your parents lie to you? Now, I’m not saying that if there is in fact a God or not, that your parents lied to you if they happen to be wrong. I’m just saying that for the most part, excluding the rebels and the critics, everything we believe is basically just determined by what influenced us growing up.
No one really knows the answer; whether or not we believe just relies on what we are told and our own verdict, most likely based on what we were taught as children. Generally speaking, most people are completely ignorant to other religions. With that being said, how can people possibly know that their religion is THE religion or that there is for a fact, no God at all? For the most part, with the exception of some cases of marriage and those who have been “saved,” or just decided to leave the church altogether, people don’t just convert to a religion or belief foreign to what they were raised with. Sure, there is always some skepticism, but that’s just about it. People tend to stick with what they were told is right and true as children and then they pass those same beliefs on to their children.
I don’t want to say that teaching young children to believe in a god or none at all is a form of brainwashing, but I have to say, it kind of seems like it. That may or may not necessarily be a bad thing, but it’s the truth. Kids are incredibly naïve and therefore equally vulnerable to believe just about anything; let’s face it, they are gullible. I don’t think I ever had any doubts until around middle school. Young kids aren’t going to question much, especially something so complex as God or religion, so therefore it is quite easy to educate them about religion because they probably won’t consider other beliefs, disbeliefs, or points of view.
So then, as we grow up, we just continue to believe what we have been told all our lives and never really stop to think about other possibilities. I personally think that religion is just another form of segregation that disconnects the world. Religion shouldn’t be about what people believe did or did not happen thousands of years ago or what may or may not be correct or incorrect, but just about knowing the difference between right and wrong and being a genuinely kind person whether you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Agnostic, or even Atheist.