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How does religion affect your child’s ability to learn?

April V. Taylor

The Huffington Post is reporting on a new study published by Cognitive Science that concluded that young children who have been exposed to religion have a hard time determining whether or not stories presented to them are fact or fiction.  The study, “Judgments About Fact and Fiction by Children From Religious and Nonreligious Backgrounds,” looked at a group of children who were 5 and 6-years old.  The children were divided into groups based on there exposure to religion with children who attended church or were enrolled in a parochial school in one group and those who were not in another group.

The children were presented with three different types of stories that were either religious, fantastical, or realistic.  Children who had been exposed to religion either through school or church were significantly less likely to be able to determine that supernatural elements in stories, such as talking animals, were fictional events.  The study concluded that children exposed to religion, “were less likely to judge characters in the fantastical stories as pretend, and in line with this equivocation, they made more appeals to reality and fewer appeals to impossibility than did secular children.”

These findings are significant for multiple reasons including the fact that so many children are exposed to religion in America.  Gallup data from 2013-2014 shows that approximately 83 percent of Americans report having some sort of religious affiliation, with 86 percent reporting that they believe in God.  Even more interesting is that 28 percent of those polled believe that the Bible should be taken literally as the actual word of God , and 47 percent believe the Bible is the inspired word of God.

The study is also significant not just because of the reach of religion in  American culture but also because the findings refute earlier hypotheses that claim that children are “born believers.”  Regarding this matter,  researchers from this study suggest that “religious teaching, especially exposure to miracle stories, leads children to a more generic receptivity toward the impossible, that is, a more wide-ranging acceptance that the impossible can happen in defiance of ordinary causal relations.”


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3 thoughts on “How does religion affect your child’s ability to learn?

  1. Tom B

    Welcome to “secularism” ….. Now religion is bad for kids? I guess that explains why faith based schools have better test scores?

    AMERICA, Wake up!?!?! Consider yourself behind the 8-ball if you are a person of faith!

    I’d like to know how extensive this study was? I wasn’t able to find the specific study.

  2. Atonya

    And the problem is?????? My experience says most 5 or 6 year olds don’t know Tinker Bell, Santa, the Boogie Man and a host of other people/characters are or aren’t real. That is why parents, teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles have to teach them what is real and what is not real. I believe most children go through this. Training is key when it comes to children, why does our society treat children as if they come here knowing the same thing you and I didn’t know when we were the very same age. Nothing has changed, kids are just kids!!!


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