Most people simply believe what they were taught as children. In Muslim countries, virtually 100% of the people are Muslim. In Christian countries the percentage of people who are Christian is also very high (but tends to be lower now because most of those countries have accepted to some extent the idea of religious freedom). The same is true for countries where the dominant religion is Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.
What a person believes can be predicted with almost absolute certainty based on what his parents believed and where he grew up. If people were really thinking for themselves, this would not be true. Thus it may be deduced that most people believe in their religion because the most important people in their childhoods told them that it was the truth. If the beliefs themselves are not logical, which they are not, then this is clearly brainwashing.
A recent study showed that young children simply cannot help believing what the adults tell them--even when the objective evidence that the adults are lying is right in front of them.
The clear implication of these facts is that most people are taught what to believe as young children and never even question it. They were, effectively, brainwashed at a time in their development when their brain development simply gave them no ability to resist. Yet, in spite of the obvious implications of these facts, many religious people deny vehemently that they were brainwashed. They assert indignantly that they believe of their own free will because their religion is "obviously" the "truth".
Religious leaders have no doubt about what they are up to. They are quite open about it.
"Those who control what young people are taught, and what
they experience--what they see, hear, think, and believe will
determine the future course of the nation."
Jesuit leader Francis Xavier supposedly once said "give me a child til the age of seven, and I will give you a believer for life."
Ordinary believers know this--even though they will deny it if directly challenged. If you haven't already tried to get them to see that they were brainwashed as children, then they will admit it indirectly by speaking of the need to raise their children as Christians. They fail to see the implication that if their religion really is "obviously" the "truth", then childhood training would not be necessary--nor would there be much disagreement amongst adults.
Thus, it is best to approach this topic by getting the believer first to admit the importance of childhood training in religion to make sure they believe and believe in the "right" religion. Only then should you segue into the implication that the person you are speaking to believes because he, too, was brainwashed as a child.
You can use questions like these:
"Do you think it's important to raise children as Christians? Why? Are they more likely to not be Christians as adults if you don't? Were you raised as a Christian? Don't you think it's significant that people raised and educated by Christian parents in Christian societies almost always become Christians while those raised and educated by Muslim parents in Muslim societies almost always become Muslim?"
Don't expect this tactic to work, however. It is just another of those little thought barbs you can plant and leave behind.
This is all morally wrong. It is the job of parents to teach children how to think, not to prevent them from thinking--preventing them from using their greatest single attribute as humans. Childhood religious indoctrination does just that: It substantially and, usually, permanently interferes with the child's ability to use his critical faculties regarding that subject (and don't forget that this subject touches upon everything in a believer's life).
Osama bin Laden has offered to help guide Americans in their conversion to Islam at least twice. The fact that the person who is trying to convert you thinks he means well does not change the insidious nature of his actions.
If all parents taught their children to think for themselves in a rational manner, that would be fine. But, that is not what they are doing. They are teaching them to accept, without examination, something that is not logical. This is the beginning of most evil. Once an illogical premise is accepted it can affect any or all subsequent conclusions, resulting in bad decisions and very bad actions.
Examine anything you consider to be an evil act. Research what the perpetrators were thinking and you will find that they were strongly influenced by an irrational premise.
The Germans and the Japanese convinced themselves that they were better than everyone else, and millions were murdered as a result. After all, who cares about the deaths of a few million untermenschen? Dominion theologists are convinced that god gave us the earth's resources to use up as fast as we want to. Many of them also believe that Christ will return to earth very soon, thus making conservation efforts unnecessary. The result: The impending destruction of our beautiful earth, , and the sixth great extinction of species on earth (but the first one perpetrated by one species on the others).
It is bad enough that parents abuse their children by robbing them of their greatest gift, but the side effect of this deliberate poisoning of children's minds is to make the world a much more dangerous and immoral place for all of us.