Hi, America. You know how you don't go to church, or pray unless you're at the hospital, or playing slots or scratch tickets? Well, that's sort of what being an atheist is like. You don't even think about religion. You just live your life. Occasionally, you'll feel helpless and want to fix things you just can't fix, and perhaps you'll make silly bets or promises to the ceiling to make yourself feel like you've tried everything, but please don't think this makes you a religious person. A religious person goes to church every Sunday, religiously, like a Rotary Club, where they fine you if you miss a meeting. You may believe in a god, but not enough to care about it unless you need something. I'm sure your god loves that about you. But it's the god you walk around with in your pocket for the hard times and that's okay. (If it starts talking back to you, you need to find a mental health professional.) But does this mean you're turning into a (gulp) ATHEIST???
The U.S. isn't really seeing the rise of atheism. Let's call this what it is: the natural abatement of dogmatic thinking that has swept most of the modern world. (When the TV is too loud you do not increase the quietness, right?) Dogmas are being abandoned in many countries, and this will make it easier for all of us to get along. You can like whomever you choose, because you have to resort to evidence of harm rather than some ancient rulebook. Think of it as the rise in your chest when someone stops sitting on it.
Feel special that you're living at a unique period of history, where humanity is finally getting it right. Future generations will look back on this period as the beginning of the end of religion as we've known it. The majority of Americans* now live like god isn't around, unless they need one for emergencies. No harm in that. Gods like those are mainly a one-way discussion. The harm comes when the Gods talk back and give good people bad ideas. Our world is becoming too small, its citizens too well-acquainted to maintain the ways of a world that was less so. We know too much. We share too much. It's the end of the world as we've known it.
*35% of Americans attend church weekly, which means 65% do not, therefore...while most Americans may believe in a god, that god does not include a binding dogma. (Gallup 2010)