A friend of mine, who I would probably describe as a deist and not a christian one at that, was telling me that he's recently heard a few people tell him that they now consider themselves atheists. First I'll say that I've had lots of great conversations about religion with this very good friend of mine partly because he's jewish and therefore knows the history of chistians quite well, plus he got a minor in religion in college so hes fairly well versed in all the major religions. The final reason for so many conversation on religion with him is because his girlfriend's family are fundamentalist baptists. So he gets an up-close and personal view of some serious wing-nuttery. Plus he is a very intelligent person, very rational and better educated than most, plus hes one of my oldest friends so it essentially impossible to insult each other. And like I said he's basically a deist which is much easier to get along with, if your god doesn't get directly involved with human affairs and there is no hell, then your probably not going to injure others for your beliefs.
I have feeling that you will see a surge in atheism, not because more people are shedding their beliefs but because more people are going to stop pretending to belief. I think the so called "new-atheists" or as UTI crew calls them, "The Atheist Justice League" has an impact, again not because they are converting people but by the simple fact that they have had numerous best-selling books between them has gotten them quite a bit of media coverage talking about atheism. And all publicity is good publicity. The biggest help this has is making people more comfortable with the idea of being an atheist. The other reason atheists are coming out is the reason these people gave which is that they simply can't stand what is happening in the name of christianity. In the past if you weren't christian you had to justify where you get your morals from (some are still arguing about this) now days if you ARE a christian you need to defend your morals. How can you justify hating gay? stem-cells? Schiavo? anti-abortion? In other words thank you to all of you bug-fuck crazy fundamentalists (can't spell fundamentalist without mental) for helping get so many people to leave their faiths. Again though I think the numbers will swing our way in the near future (I don't mean a majority) but I don't think it will be because peoples beliefs really change its just that they are going to admit it now. For a long time I would have called myself a christian if I was doing a survey, it doesn't mean I believed that crap it's just a social norm.
Oh one other fun little story was my friend describing talking with his girlfriends mom, she asked about hinduism so he tried to explain the many faces of vishnu in similar terms as the trinity in christianinty. He also mentioned that its been around for about 6,500 years to which she said, "but the world barely older than that, and the jews were the first religion." Oh yeah your one of those he thought then explain that while judaism is nearly as old they don't have any evidence that can date it back quite that far while hinduism they can prove back that far. He was also forced to mention carbon dating which of course is a crap-science to her, because much like the hitchhikers guide, if the bible is in conflict with reality its reality that is flawed.