Let me just say I am no theist, but I believe there are just as many intelligent theists out there as non-theists. I have met some damn smart ones who have much better writing skills and other tools than I do. Especially some Buhdists I've talked with, however I feel most (and many Christians) simply adhear to these religions for comformity, simplicity of life (a funeral or wedding is made easy, other life funcions as well), and because they really don't care one way or the other so why casue family problems (the case all to often).
I would describe myself as a closet atheist who usually avoids the topic with most "Americans" because most fall into one of two camps. They either don't give a damn (although they call themselves Christians they never step in a church or pray) or they really are religious and get upset. If the subject ever comes up I simply say I'm not religious and leave it at that. People seem to take this better than outright saying "I am an Atheist". They view this as a challenge and usually misunderstand it.
Religions seem to fall on their face when faced with other religions more so than Atheists. They seem to all have equal arguments centered around a historical figure and some sort of scripture used as a fact book and life guide. In some ways I think the major modern religions do serve as good guides for cultures to thrive and people to get along, but that is about it. Perhaps the average citizen must actually believe to put any faith in the guidance offered by the religion, unable to seperate the two. The two are seperable, I for one agree that most of the ten comandments are great guides for life and civilization. However I do not view them as exclusive or ultimte. They are merely one device among serveral to model a workable society around.
Perhaps atheism cannot work for the masses, there seems to be evidence of this. I would argue if the masses were (on average) educated to a certain level it would work, but it seems very unprobable at this point in time. Cultures from Rome to America seem to reach a peak and then slowly die from within. Religious people would argue the lack of religion as the cause for this and at the same time argue about the coutries religious founding and religious tendencies, I would argue no country has had a majority population that has lived deeply religious lives and succeeded in any fashion. Look at the deeply religious Islamic nations, they do not accept basic changes needed for advancement.
We are a religious nation by talk only, not by action. The other industrialized nations fall into the same category.