It is the case, though, that atheists typically assert that all theists suspend their rationality when engaging in god-talk; such a charge is indeed entailed by the fundamental atheist position that god-talk is, by its very nature, irrational.
Oh really? I suppose I could get on my high horse and say something along these lines:
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1: 18-20, New International Version)
“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile, there is no one who does good.” (Psalm 14:1, New International Version)
According to my belief system, therefore, anyone who disbelieves in God is irrational by his/her very nature. So I am going to ignore and dismiss whatever that one says.
Does that sound arrogant? Egotistical? You damn betcha. Yet that is precisely what Mr. Hamelin is saying. Now if he honestly believes this, that’s fine with me–this is one of those “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet” scenarios. But as far as I am concerned, he has no right to tar all religious people with this brush, since it’s only his opinion.
There’s certainly no proof I’m being irrational, any more than Mr. Hamelin is. All this is subjective, after all. I think I have good reasons for believing in God; he thinks the opposite. Neither one of us knows for sure, or will know, in this life. That’s where faith comes in, and Mr. Hamelin has no more, or less, faith than I do.
That being the case, I think both sides should leave each other alone.
(Of course, this might be easier if most religions, and Christianity in particular, hadn’t made such a nasty habit of sticking its nose into places where it has no business, namely politics. But that’s a subject for another post.)