How can we reconcile the fact that those lacking the intellectual capacity (young kids, mentally handicapped) are saved by default, while anyone taking the mark receives eternal damnation? Can it be possible for these people to have parents/caregivers tell them to get marked?
There isn’t any indication from Scripture that young children or the mentally impaired will be forced to take the mark. The phrase “small and great” in Rev. 13:16 refers to their relative importance in society. Remember, the purpose is to control who can participate in the buying and selling of goods (Rev. 13:17). Young children are typically not involved in these activities.