So, at least, we might conclude from a poll conducted recently by Starch Advertisement Readership Service, which has been doing door-to-door opinion surveys since the l 930’s. The results of a poll taken in 1953 indicated that the top five areas of interest for American women at that time were: (1) religion, (2) food, (3) homemaking, (4) child care, (5) home furnishings. In a similar poll done in 1983, religion did not even make the top 10. The new list reads: (1) fashion & clothes, (2) food, (3) health, (4) home furnishings, (5) “cultural activities.” Homemaking dropped from third to eighth place, child care from fourth to sixth.

If the poll means anything, men seem to have been more constant in the past 30 years. Although business has gone from seventh to first place, sports and automobiles remain near the top. The biggest changes are the disappearance of religion (replaced, significantly, by science) and the substitution of travel for home building.

What a picture of life in America! Part Garry Trudeau, part Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Women worried about clothes and health (no wonder Jane Fonda was picked an all­ American hero), men devoted to business, Monday Night Football, and the 8.8 percent APR on a new Cherokee. Neither appear to have much interest in home or family, to say nothing of church. Then what is all this talk we hear about religious revival and the rediscovery of parenting? Perhaps they are part of the “life-style” of a small but visible minority, what in religious terms used to be called the saving remnant. Lot couldn’t even find 10 such people in Sodom. America must have thousands.

There is one consolation. The majority that has forgotten about religion is not sitting around brooding about the fire and brimstone to come. They probably won’t even be alarmed by the results, because they probably won’t read about them: books went down the tubes with religion.  cc