Religion has this strange ability to blind people to difference between fact and fiction, at least that's what the evidence shows. However, this may be only part of what the facts show, considering that many believers who were not indoctrinated still show a lack of ability to discern fact from fiction.
Our educational system in the USA is known to be a failure, and this may be the result. Though much has improved, often teachers are allowed to assert whatever they want without impunity, and any student questioning the teacher is punished.
Education in the USA is also more about memorizing material than actually using what you know to discover more. This is essentially teaching children not to question the authority figure, as well as discouraging any form of exploration or actual learning.
Basically, we are setting people up to fail in life. This has even greater ramifications that we have known about for a long time, illustrated by the old adage of "always ask the kids how to set the VCR."
Because of our education system, people are unprepared for technological advances of any sort. This causes them to fear these advances, which creates scams like organic foods, chemical free, and gene editing.
This problem also opens people up to hoaxes like alien abductions, bigfoot, and religion. Ultimately, this is also why the government opposes allowing free education for everyone.
Many of the scams and hoaxes are funding our political leaders, the rest know that these scams and hoaxes make it much easier to keep people complacent. This complacency is precisely what the governments actually want, and any idea that can be used to justify their own desires is best.
Religion is the easiest tool for convincing the masses to follow blindly, but even hoaxes like bigfoot offer enough distraction. Hoaxes are more useful to the leaders than one may think, if the masses doubt what the reports of leader actions state then it won't matter what the leaders do.
So the cure for all of our problems is simple, improve education by teaching kids to doubt everything, then showing them how to test everything. Teach them only the scientific method in elementary/primary school, and teach them nothing else.