Fifteen percent of the US population now lists "none" for choice of religious affiliation. Stories running in The Huffington Post recently indicate that folks simply are not going to church like they used to do, including the less educated and women. A Pew Forum Study indicates that young people are not drawn to organized religion, but believe in God and continuing life after death.
Time to panic? Not at all, unless you're vested in the institution surviving exactly as it is. Yes, some of these so-called unaffiliated are agnostics or atheists, but not the majority. It seems to me the spiritual impulse is alive and well among many of today's folks choosing to affiliate directly with That Which Is, God-as-verb.
This movement out of the pews among some people who do, expresses not disdain for the Beloved or community, but, in fact, a new way of expressing and relating to timeless Mystery. Many are simply walking the Way as the noisy, honking goose-like Spirit leads them.
So, do we padlock churches and other houses of worship? Hmmm, a sabbath year from religiosity might not be a bad thing, challenging the People of God to experience spiritual transformation in all they do, not compartmentalize it to Sundays or whatever day for their tradition's worship. But, perhaps nothing so drastic is indicated as many religious folks already allow the transforming action of That Which Is to transform them within, yet beyond, organized structures.
It does seem, however, that religions need to get over themselves and learn some humility. People demand authenticity; their experiences matter, deeply. They are not sheep called to keep silent unless spoken to nor will they blindly accept all that is told them. Where dissonance fractures, people flee to wholeness. Ah, the Buddha giggles with delight!
Quite simply, as the Latin American saying goes: "You can cut the flowers, but you can't hold back the Spring!"