Religions, all religions, are cults. Some religions are simply bigger than others and manage to strong-arm everyone into dismissing the “cult” label.
All religions prefer to start with the very young. Children’s minds are very sponge-like and possess no means of resisting irrational thought. In effect, what they are doing can be considered “programming” or “brain-washing”.
People, parents, insist that it is their right to instruct their children in the way they wish them to be instructed. They feel, perhaps, that at such vulnerable ages that their children possess no freedoms, no personal rights. They may feel that what they are teaching is good and sound, having been indoctrinated at an early age themselves.
Some non-believers think instead that early indoctrination of children in make-believe cults before the children possess the means to assess the information they are being fed is child abuse. In many cases it has been found that this indoctrination simply perpetuates old bigotries and hatreds as well as serving as an impediment to learning solid science. Some very fundamentalist Christian parents insist their children be taught silly things like the earth is less than 10,000 years old, that Adam and Eve were real and first, that a man could walk on water, or that there is pie in the sky watching you like Santa Claus. There have been some outright say that, despite evidence, if science contradicts their religious belief they will cling to the religious belief.
So line your kiddies up at the creek, bring a little soap, peel back that scalp, and let’s wash those little brains a bit.