Look at what’s happening to the opinion on religion in our country:
Historically, the percentage of Americans who said they had no religious affiliation (pollsters refer to this group as the “nones”) has been very small — hovering between 5 percent and 10 percent.
However, Putnam says the percentage of “nones” has now skyrocketed to between 30 percent and 40 percent among younger Americans.
Putnam calls this a “stunning development.” He gave reporters a first glimpse of his data Tuesday at a conference on religion organized by the Pew Forum on Faith in Public Life.
It’s a poll, so it doesn’t say much about causes, but I can guess that two factors have been at work: that religion has become associated with the spectacular failure of reactionary conservative politics, and that at the same time, atheists have become more vocal and made the option of avoiding religion altogether viable. I suspect the former is more directly causal, but don’t discount the latter — young people aren’t leaving their obnoxious old church to find a new church, they are leaving the whole rotten shebang altogether.