A few years later, I saw a set of plush philosophers, writers, and economists at some horrific store in SoHo called "Trust Fund Baby". (I've also seen the Jesus action figures, and the Allah action figure (the container is empty -- get it?).) My friends really could've cashed in. Plus, if parents had given their kids sets of religious figures outside the parents' faith, my friends could've helped expand religious understanding in the world.
The urge to hug certainly precedes, or is deeply tied to the latent, prelogical and prelinguistic urge to believe. Cf. William James:
[T]he logical reason of man operates in the field of divinity exactly as it has always operated in love, or in patriotism, or in politics, or in any other of the wider affairs of life, in which our passions or out mystical intuitions fix our beliefs beforehand. It finds arguments for our conviction, for it indeed has to find them. It amplifies and defines our faith, and dignifies it and lends it words and plausibility.The Varieties of Religious Experience, Lecture XVIII.
Looks like someone has beaten me to it. I really want this furry Hanuman.