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Religious Kids Believe in Fairy Stories

A recent study by the Boston University has revealed that children brought up in religious homes have difficulties in differentiating between fact and fiction.

Children brought up to believe in religion are more likely to believe in fictional characters, a study claims. The Boston University survey found that tots with a religious background were more likely to believe in make-believe fairy stories such as Harry Potter or Fantastic Mr Fox.

Kids were first read a collection of realistic, religious and fantastical. They were then tasked with determining which of the characters were real and which were make-believe. When asked about stories featuring realistic figures, religious children answered correctly at a nearly the same rate as the secular group. However, the responses were dramatically different when it came to the other two categories.

The children who attended church believed the fictional protagonist to be real 79% of the time, while only 6% of the nonreligious children concurred. The same pattern held true for stories when it came to characters with magical powers; the religious children were more likely to give them the benefit of the doubt at 41%, compared with just 13% of the secular subjects.

Study author Kathleen Corriveau explains that the phenomenon occurs because religious stories often include miracles that require faith, rather than logic, to accept as real. She added: “In no way should the findings of this study point to any sort of deficit in one group or the other. Indeed, in some instances, the ability to suspend disbelief could be viewed as a benefit. For example, when exposed to counterintuitive phenomena—such as modern physics—a suspension of disbelief might assist in learning.”