In the late 19th and early 20th century, many philosophers predicted that with the rise of industrialism religion would fade away and cease to be significant. That hasn’t happened quite yet but some recent polls may be indicating that at least a trend in that direction is taking place.
As we’ve talked about previously on various forums, Trinity College recently performed a survey titled “American Religious Identification Survey”. It showed that the percentage of people who give “none” as their religious preference is at 15%. That’s the fastest growing group in the survey. If all those 'nones' were a single religious group, they'd be the third most populous, behind only Catholics and Baptists.
The younger you are, the more likely you are not to claim “none” as your religion. At least 22 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 in the United States currently have no connection with any religion. That's a full 7 percent higher than the entire adult population average, and a figure that continues to confirm the groundswell of an unbelieving young generation. The implications for the future are quite obvious.
In my personal view, one of the main influences for this trend is creationism.
During the Reformation all of the leading theologians, including Martin Luther and John Calvin and all of the popes during that time, insisted that you had believe in geocentrism - that the Earth was at the center of the universe - in order to be a true Christian. **IF** it was still the case in the 21st century that you had to believe in geocentrism in order to be a Christian, Christianity would most likely be nothing but a fringe religion by now.
As the evidence accumulates just about daily that the “Big Bang” and evolution are undeniable scientific facts, the creationists who deny those facts risk, yet again, making Christianity merely a fringe religion.
The bottom line - **IF** you are a creationist, you’d better be right. To deny undeniable facts in order to make yourself feel good about your own religious views is committing long term religious suicide.
Creationists, of course, are not after the truth. So as long as their influence remains strong we can expect Christianity itself to continue to diminish in influence.