I don't think that problem is a matter of 'religion' at all! There are some individuals, yes, who DO use religion as a substitute for making their own choices based on their own thought.
But then there are people who will NEVER go against their political party's most idiotic 'talking points'. And people who insist on defining absolutely EVERY situation according to their political rubric. - LeahOne
Some believers, and believers come in many varieties, religious, political, ethnic, even local sport team fanatics, have no ability to evaluate their beliefs. This is attributed by scientists studying the phenomenon to an imbalance in risk of countering belief and accepting it unquestioning. As a result information contrary to the belief system is not even registered in the brain of the believer. See The Believing Brain by Michael Shermer for an accessable discussion of this science. It is well documented for those wishing to check his conclusions.
Simply, the cost of losing ones major social support group due to shunning as a heretic is so high, relative to the value of intellectual integrity, that the brain rejects without recognition any challenge to the beliefs of the social support group.
The question for atheists is not as unrelated as it might seem. There is no belief system or social support group associated with "True atheism" that conditions the brain to trigger either confirmation bias or self-justification bias. While there are some atheist groups that resemble religions, typically the group conformity imperative is very weak. Atheists even argue about and with their "Four Horsemen" anti-theists.Or one might ask 'Does a true atheist put so much effort into attacking religion, as opposed to simply explaining - and defending - atheism?' - LeahOne
Even on a board like this which attracts atheists who like to discuss religion, "attacks" are not on religion in general, but on specific religious or politico-religious beliefs that strongly affect atheists. There are a few exceptions to add a bit of spice to the board, but you will notice that most of the atheists here attack specific beliefs brought up by theists rather than the religion of the theist promoting those beliefs. Even for those way out there on the belief irrationality scale are challenged on specific beliefs rather than their religion itself. I find it amusing that a specific religion is challenged here more by the theists participating than the atheists.
One of the problems for atheists in challenging specific strongly held tenets of belief systems is that the challenge is interpreted by the believing brain as a general challenge to the belief system rather than a challenge to a small and perhaps unimportant part of the belief system. And the believing brain overreacts to protect the belief system as a whole rather than just the specific challenge. This is a necessary reaction of the believing brain, as any crack in the belief monolith can have disastrous consequences.
We have on occasion on beliefnet seen the disastrous effects of an "insignificant crack" in a belief system, and may be seeing it in a creationist who has admitted just recently that God's real world creation may be another source of information to supplement the biblical account. It will bear watching. She is quite old, but may still have time to let her intrinsic reason and intelligence take over to reject Creationism for a more reasonable version of Christianity. She seems to be relatively isolated, so the social support group may not be significant.
Major cracks in the belief system especially life style choices incompatible with the belief system are obvious and traumatic breaks with family and friends in a tight belief circle, but as these frequently take place in a diverse school setting with other social support groups to replace the church family they are normally successful.