Teaching children to critically think

I was recently with a loved one who has children. One of their children asked me if Santa Claus was real. I didn’t want to lie, as it’s not my child, so I quickly¬†brought the child to the parent and said, “This is a great question to ask [your parent]”. The parent quickly replied, “Well, do you think he is real? Why or why not?” which I was just amazed. The parent quickly looked at me and said, “I don’t want to lie to her”.

This was amazing to me, I was so proud. Until I realized that this same parent brings this child to their favourite religious institution every week, and indoctrinates the child that their preferred god is real. Why do we not afford the same critical thinking skills to religion as we do to other invented holiday figures?