Well Jesus, this was silly because you revealed too much (kind of like a magician telling how he does his tricks). A childlike mentality, and childhood conversions are the fuel on which Christianity runs.
Kids are trusting, uninformed about life, and unskilled in the art of reason. The line between fantasy and reality is blurred for children. It’s not unusual for them to have invisible friends, which makes them perfect victims for spiritual salesmen!
Religious groups are keenly aware of this. The Barna survey Group, under the headline “Evangelism is Most Effective Among Kids” touts the statistic that 43% of Americans who accept you as their savior do so before the age of 13. 64% of ‘born-again’ Americans are spiritually birthed before their 18th natural birthday. “Get ‘em while they are young and clueless” seems to be the strategy that works. Reprehensible but effective.
Now Jesus, I know that there are adult converts who join your cause, and learn how to pretend that they have a ‘personal’ relationship with you (reminiscent of children pretending that their dolls and stuffed animals can interact with them). Adults are often targeted by a different recruiting method: they are harvested at some crisis point in their life, when they are emotionally vulnerable and looking for support or answers. But your words still hold true. These adults will have to learn to change and become like little children, surrendering their minds, or at least compartmentalizing their religious beliefs so that they are carefully protected from the ravages of reason, science, and logic.
Children love magic tricks, and the Bible has a whole lot of hocus-pocus scattered throughout it. Maybe these grown-ups resonate with that and don’t find it odd to buy into talking snakes, pregnant virgins, and a resurrected god-man who will one day appear on horseback in our clouds, brandishing a sword, and leading heavenly armies. It is sad though, to see otherwise rational people self-lobotomize so they can grovel before you and babble on about how pathetic and unworthy they are, and how gracious and loving you are to not damn them to Hell for all eternity. Almost as if you were some third-world dictator who decided to spare them from having their tongues ripped out with pliers, and their children raped and killed before their eyes. “Oh thank you sir, you are so very kind, and we will be ever so loyal…”
Fortunately, not all spiritually-induced brain damage is permanent. A growing number of childhood converts experience recovery once they leave home and enter college. The laces of the mental straightjacket are loosened sufficiently so that imprisoned young minds can struggle their way to freedom. Bad P.R. generated by various operators of the Jesus franchise also plays its role in driving people out of the faith. Things like child-raping priests, preachers of morality caught in sexual shenanigans, hillbilly young-earth-creationists, televangelists with outrageous hairstyles (and even more outrageous salaries), and of course one of the most potent forces to ever undermine Christianity – Pat Robertson’s never-ending stream of loony comments. We unbelievers owe a big debt to Mr. Robertson. He couldn’t be helping us more if he were on salary with American Atheists!
Even though childhood religious indoctrination claims many victims, there is always hope. I am proof that even after decades of mental imprisonment; it is possible to be released. I am hopeful that one day, truth and reason will triumph over fear and superstition, and the human race will grow up, leaving childish things behind. When that day arrives, you can still find Jesus – he will be in a yard sale box, along with a Tickle Me Elmo, a stuffed bear, and several Barbie dolls.