Here's an interesting article that goes over some research done that measured national success vs. the degree of secularity. The findings show that the most secular states end up performing the best in area of societal and economic stability.
Paul is quick to point out that his study reveals correlation, not causation. Which came first — prosperity or secularity — is unclear, but Paul ventures a guess. While it's possible that good governance and socioeconomic health are byproducts of a secular society, more likely, he speculates, people are inclined to drop their attachment to religion once they feel distanced from the insecurities and burdens of life.
This is probably true. How often do we see religious apologists trying to prey upon the downtrodden, the old, the sick, etc. It's because religion very often targets those who are most vulnerable. When people aren't vulnerable, they are less likely to be religious, which is why we see such a significant shift away from religion in developed countries.
This study also shows that religion need not be the backbone for a moral society. In fact, the US, which is more religious than the other countries studied ended up on the tail end of just about all of the moral and social indicators used. And, we don't see the implosion of those secular states which are leading the way. So, for those who believe in belief (as Dennett puts it) have one more data point to have to explain away.