Instead of vague and unsubstantiated opinions, here is a historical example. C.S. Lewis decided to become an atheist but later became a Christian. Was he a normal, but intellectual and rational human being? I've had one atheist on here call C.S. Lewis “a hack writer” - an ad hominem attack as no evidence was offered. So, let's examine the man's qualifications.
He won a triple first (the highest honours in three areas of study – Classics, Philosophy and English) at Oxford. He then taught as a fellow of Magdalen College for nearly 30 years. Later, he was the first Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University. Much of his academic work concentrated on the later Middle Ages, especially its use of allegory. His book “The Allegory of Love” (1963) helped reinvigorate the serious study of late medieval narratives. His last academic work was “The Discarded Image, An introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature” (1964). Now, no doubt you and I would find such books/topic dry as parchment and quickly give up on them, but his authority as an academic scholar is unquestionable.
Now, what about religious rationality? He did not become a believer in God till his early 30s when he was baptised as a Christian. He did plenty research into Christian history before writing ‘Mere Christianity’ borrowing that phrase from the theologian Richard Baxter (in “The Church History of the Government by Bishops”, 1681.) His clear grasp of Christian doctrine is exquisitely explained. He also challenged opinion of the day, such as that of H.G. Wells who, in “Outline of History” said that Jesus had made no claim to divinity. Lewis demolished that view and quoted from Free Churchman John Duncan (1796-1870) the ‘trilemma’ argument; “Christ either deceived mankind by conscious fraud, or He was Himself deluded and self-deceived, or He was Divine. There is no getting out of this trilemma. It is inexorable.” (Duncan, in ‘Colloquia Peripatetica’). Lewis’s use of this argument has been widely criticised by those with a vehement loathing for intellectual rationality in explaining the deity of Christ.
Today, many claims are made about Jesus being a legend, and that the Gospel accounts are myth. He explored that in his book “Fern-seed and Elephants”. Lewis picks a statement from a liberal commentary where John’s Gospel is called a ‘spiritual romance’, ‘a poem not history’. He retorts:
“I have been reading poems, romances, vision literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one of them is like this.”
He points out that either the author was reporting what happened, or else someone nearly 2000 years ago suddenly invented modern, novelistic, realistic narrative (which is literarily and historically inconceivable.) He says that if a scholar tells him that something in a Gospel is legend or romance, he wants to know how many legends and romances he has read, not how many years he has spent studying that Gospel and what others have said about it.
This is still a point of fundamental significance today. Recently, a scientist on radio dismissed the Bible as myth. We are entitled to ask – like Lewis – not how well qualified he is scientifically, but how well qualified he is to speak about myths. This is where Lewis’s academic and religious authority combine, and this is why atheists hate him. 2014, 22 November, marked the 50th anniversary of Lewis’s death. We had many ad hominem attacks on Lewis on this forum then, and that continues whenever he is mentioned as a highly intelligent convert to Christianity. AiH
“C.S. Lewis – The Rational Romantic” article by Alex J. MacDonald – http://www.freechurch.org The Record magazine, November 2013 edition
Michel de Montaigne "I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly."