‘What a child should never be taught is that you are a Catholic or Muslim child, therefore that is what you believe. That’s child abuse.’

He added that teaching children religion would help them understand literature.

Professor Dawkins, a biologist who revolutionised the theory of evolution with his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, added that he thought it was still important to teach children about different faiths.

‘There is a value in teaching children about religion. You cannot really appreciate a lot of literature without knowing about religion. But we must not indoctrinate our children,’ he said.