One hopeful thing I keep hearing is that church membership keeps going down. I hear about the attempts of the Methodist church to attract/keep members from my dad. The late service now has "rock" groups, a video projector, and other "fun" things to keep the interest of younger members. I've heard that about other churches, too. I've heard the Rock Assembly of God church is a pretty "get down and boogie" kind of place, too. They're grasping at straws, and we're growing! It seems as time goes on the Christian religion keeps on getting more and more watered down. It's tending toward atheism, not the other way around.
Yes, I think you're correct about people becoming less active in churches (except the modern, progressive, rock 'n roll types..ha ha...they appear active) but I don't think Americans are letting go of god. I picked up my issue of Time yesterday and read the statistic that 92% of Americans believe in god. Back in 1944, it was 96%. That is a huge percentage and really makes me feel even MORE like a minority! But the number IS less. So I'll try to remain optimistic about this situation!
Church membership in the U.S. is down for the same reason bowling team membership and quilting bees circles are down in my opinion...nobody wants to join groups that expect too much of their time! And there are so many competing interests for our time and resources. The cost in terms of energy expended has a lot to do with moderate churches maintaining membership.
Your comment about 'fun things to keep the interest of younger members' made me recall something I read about a few years back: Surfers for Jesus. It just makes me laugh thinking about it...but it is another example of the desperate attempt to keep religious doctrine 'relevant to the youth". And the growth of (gasp) Christian Rock Bands.
Speaking of joining groups expecting too much time, I started to volunteer for JATV a little while ago. Since I've been on the citizen's for a few years I thought I should know a little about what I was advising about. I went to a demonstration of their equipment at the library, then training classes they put on. Then I somehow walked into doing the Farmer's Market videos, and now I understand how much mind-numbing time it takes to produce a video! So let me please promote my first farmer's market video!
Sounds good. I plan to do the Pie Ride this Saturday...it's all about the pie.
I'll probably check out the Farmer's Market on the 25th. My name is actually Joanna and I've been meaning to say so. MOJO comes from the Power Puff Girls cartoon...Mojo jojo the chimp. Just in case you were thinking I was meaning voodoo or something...ha ha. So, if I think I see you at the market, I'll say "Hi, this is Joanna, Atheist #7 in Janesville".
Every religious debate. Ever.
Getting back to your original statement, mojo, I think a lot of people here have hit the nail on the head. There are a lot of rational reasons to reject creationism and you would think that in today's modern society, such fluff would be virtually non-existant. When I was a child and had doubts of Christianity, my solace was that my parents were intelligent people, and that many people for many generations have come to the conclusion that Christianity was true, so all those people couldn't be wrong, right? Logic soon took over when I came to realize that not all adults were intelligent and a lot of people do a lot of stupid things for no good reason at all! And that's the point. It was not logic that made me a Christian. Christianity seemed to appeal to many other aspects of my brain other than reason. That's why it's such a hard debate. You can win an arguement over logic if one party subscribes purely to emotional pleas.
I don't really think that it is a fault of education. Although I graduated high school 10 years ago, I don't recall my science classes ever clashing with my religion. I never doubted science. To me, they were always separate. It wasn't until I went to a university in Texas that the issue ever came up. It was a bio101 class, and the professor spent 2 whole lectures on why science does not clash with religion and how you can still be religious and have confidence in science. But, that's Texas for you!! I guess it's a bigger issue in the South. It seems as though religion wants to be stepping on the toes of science and claiming their answers are better. But I think of the creationist movement as a positive. It brings the issue to the forefront and allows people to see the irrational side of religion.