Child in front of ruined Kovil, Kilinochchi
A friend told me that children almost demand a God. Or at least an explanation. Another friend told me that this was the easy way out and you could just ‘blind them with science’, but I’m not so sure. Children can generate a full natural language (a creole) out of a crude an incomplete way of communication (a pidgin). In one case deaf children put together and not taught sign language generated their own, with full grammatical forms. This has led to pretty dominant linguistic theory that at least part of human language is built in and can be created by children (in social situations). Seeing as kids as similar questions and accept a higher power easily, I wonder if the same thing is true of faith.
At some level a child will ask why they should listen, what happens when they die and why they’re isn’t obvious or immediate justice in the world. It is possible to explain these things rationally, but for thousand of years humans didn’t actually know and the kids were still asking questions. As a parent I think what would be important is not the absolute validity of these facts (you need pour water on your head at this age, you need to read from a book now, you need to get married in this way) but rather having an answer and immediate structure and discipline so you can get some sleep.
Religion for thousands of years provided this structure before science even existed. And, indeed, there are still many things that science and rationality don’t answer satisfactorily.
Yet, for all these answers, one has to wonder who’s asking the question. In many cases it is children, and their persistent nagging may play a part in the constant regeneration of God.