I've enjoyed the interesting questions and comments. Thank you.
Some Atheists Like to Use the Analogy of a 'Crutch' for Religion
How many children can escape having their World View put in place FOR THEM by their parents, grandparents and family?
Few, if any.
Accepting what your family tells you is true is a default opinion.
Escaping that world view is difficult if your caretakers and family are reasonable people who don't exasperate you with their beliefs.
Why challenge the people who love you most? It would be rude and disrespectful.
But, after a certain age and experience in life it is lazy and dull-minded not to investigate alternatives.
The most rabid believers I've met are obstinate non-thinkers who do not challenge themselves. They don't listen or read OUTSIDE of their comfort zone.
My grandfather use to challenge me by saying: When is the last time you had to change your mind because you found out you were wrong?
If you haven't done it at least once a week YOU AREN'T TRYING very hard!!
Religion does a few good things too, so it's all or nothing thinking, a kind of which is cognitively inaccurate to say that all religion is bad and all religious people do bad things. And spirituality, well, that's not a bad thing at all. It's part of what makes us a higher creature. It comes from our creative and intuitive side, which is where we have it all over other creatures on the planet.
The only analogy I can think of is this: I like sweets, like most other people, it's a normal and natural craving (our bigger brains need a ridiculous amount of fuel, 20% of the glucose our livers process out of our food goes to the brain alone, and we also need it for bursts of energy) but some people eat way too much of it and the food industry caters to our love of sugar even though they know too much is bad for us.
Does that mean that sugar is inherently bad? Of course not. It means that some people abuse it and the food industry, unless regulated by something that has power over them, would feed us Twinkies all day long if they could because their bottom line, like all business, is making money, not what's good for us. We're supposed to be smart enough to eat what's good for us, but well...another debate entirely. You make money by giving people what they want.
When spirituality became the business we call religion, with it's need for a paid clergy, big expensive, impressive and imposing buildings to worship God (or gods...the pagans and Buddhists and Hindus and Druids are just as guilty of the "big fancy expensive building to worship God in" syndrome) it also became, necessarily to get the money for all that, a business. A very big business, and since money is power, pretty soon, they were influencing and controlling politics and government in many places too.
Business getting in bed with spirituality to give birth to religion, and then politics getting in bed with them to have a threesome has produced some very bad things, no doubt, but I don't think we can justify impugning some basic human need like spirituality to curb the excess of materialism and political machinations associated with big organized religion.
You know, I think the Witnesses think they are the only ones who believe that Politics, Religion and Business gang banging each other is a very bad idea, but a few historians of the 19th century proposed that very idea long before I read it in the Watchtower.
H.G. Wells (he was a historian before he wrote science fiction, also a proclaimed atheist) wrote in his history of the world that it was the secularization of the priesthood in Christianity and other earlier religions, which produced this need for churches amassing great wealth and power, and which has been a very bad thing, in general. It has created all sorts of conflicts and abuses of power.
Any one entity of civilization going for all the toys is a pretty bad idea actually. It's just that because of the power of belief, people gave that power to rule nearly everything in the Western World to religion first, and then after creating this monster, had to fight to get it back, i.e. democracy and a few other of the more modern governmental forms all saw the danger of what was created by marrying politics to religion.
We're still doing that, politically speaking. Unfortunately, America is behind other places in the world in kicking religion out of their political system, we still are worshipping the golden calf here and if you don't believe it, just look at the Wreligious Wrong and the power it wields, still. Too many people are still ignorant of the dangers of voting their religion, in other words.
But, I still don't blame innate human spirituality for that. It's just a basic human element or need that's been highly subject to corruption in most of human history.
That's a poor analogy. You can't make your eyes work better by squinting just right, but you can make your brain work better by asking the right questions.
Actually, you can see better if you squint, because it temporarily adjusts your corneal pressure, but it's rather hard on your eye muscles to do it for very long. LOL
The thing that asking questions and finding the answers cures is ignorance, or a lack of information, not stupidity. Stupidity is inherent and caused by not having a family tree with enough forks in it.