Depending on the team you play for, I have have read numerous differing opinions on the influence and size of the religious community in both the UK and in the US. Many religious groups state that interest and requirement for religion has never been greater, whilst non religious groups see their caterwauling as nought more than the final groans of a dying faith.
I would like to believe in the latter; however it worries me that the respect still afforded faith and the social taboo of questioning anothers beliefs or reasoning -may yet lead to a resurgence and strenghening of their fervor. As an example look at the recent attempt by Islamic countries to introduce a defamation bill to the UN. Should we respond with equal fervor to their intolerance of reason; or are we at a point in history where the tide is now well and truly receeding and we can lie back and enjoy the dawning of the new age of emlightenment?
As I was writing this... I obviously looked as though I was searching for inspiration - as a work colleague piped up and said "praying won't help youfind the answer!" blissfully unaware of what I was actually writing about... I have been in fits of giggles for over ten minutes now.......
The tide may be turning, but the outcome is far from certain. A new dark age could still easily overcome the slow rise of reason and drown us in an undercurrent of superstitious fear and ignorance.
Even if the flickering glow of the Enlightenment has grown bright enough to see the possibility of the relegation of religion and superstition to the history books or to the status of a hobby like the SCA, it will be years, nay centuries, before we can reasonably hope that religion will be seen as little more than a quaint ancient custom.