I was watching a debate on atheism and heard Professor Peter Atkins say “Religion is a self delusion” I was thinking about it and it occurs to me that he may be right but the underlying cause of the delusion was never discussed. I believe It comes down to psychological conditioning; brain washing pure and simple. It starts at an early age. When you are brought up in a religious society, you are bombarded with references to religion on a daily basis. Try this experiment: go throughout your day and count how many references of the super natural you hear or see in the course of your day. When I say super natural; I mean anything that you can find reference to in a holy book; things like god, Jesus, angels, ghost, devil, demons, and any reference to religion of any kind, even if it is something as simple as saying "God bless you" when someone sneezes. I think you may be amazed.
Your own parents are a part of your brain washing; they tell you about god, Santa, the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny, It doesn't take long for this “house of cards” to tumble down and your parents “cave in” and confess to lying about all but god! This is because they believe; because they went through the brainwashing process. Every God question had some sort of explanation, supernaturally incredulous explanations but, explanations none the less. Being naturally curious, we question the existence of God and never get a clear understanding but, we are told that “it's part of Gods plan that we cannot prove his existence because he wants us to believe in him” if he gave us proof it would no longer take faith and faith is what it takes to get to heaven. Heaven is the preferred place to go. Yeah...and buy the way there is this place called HELL were all the non-believers go!
Placing all these pressures on the minds of small children, still learning their own language is tantamount to brainwashing. They inevitably wind up on their knees praying to god not to send them to hell! I know I did.