They don’t necessarily do it to themselves. It is done to them with religious indoctrination. It shuts down part of their brains. They can be smart and educated in many areas, even brilliant, but the belief part of their brains remains non-functional, as if it were permanently anesthetized.
Then what is the explanation for those of us on this forum who were also religiously indocrtrinated practically from birth who became agnostics or atheists later in life? There are many classically educated people here who had similar backgrounds but for whatever reason declare themselves as nones. As I mentioned before, I completely dropped religion after a careful study of the historical background of my family’s belief. Only recently, within the past three years did I run on to the writings of the new atheists and that further sustained my previously held nonbelief. So what part of my brain decided to function? You ever ask yourself that Lois? Or do you know the answer? Why me? And if you have siblings why not them too? Raised in the same household with exactly the same living conditions, same parents, close in age with similar life experiences but one clings to religion still and the other completely rejects it. As I said, it baffles me.
Well, it baffles me too. I had a similar experience in being religiously indoctrinated and dropping it or, rather, working my way around and beyond it, as an adult. I suppose that religious indictrinatiion doesn’t always “take.” Something is different in the brains of those who manage to escape it. I don’t claim to know what it is. Perhaps strong curiosity about how the world and humanity actually works and a need to see beyond the conventionl wisdom. Perhaps a desire and the courage to be different, to think differently. It is probably the result of many factors, intrinsic and extrinsic. But many people never reach the point of stepping outside their indoctrination. They handle it it different ways, some become strongly religious, a few rabidly so, some become wishy-washy, seemingly afraid to let go completely, some give it up but feel compelled to pretend they have not. If I knew the answer to how or why it happens the way it does, I might be rich and famous.