I recently read a paper: The Rationality of Science and the Rationality of Faith, Theodore J. Everett, Journal of Philosophy Vol. 98, No. 1. (Jan., 2001), pp. 19-42.
It made for interesting reading. The main points were:
1) That the prevailing orthodoxy that traditional 'non-scientific' beliefs derive from non rational causes is mistaken.
2)most scientists ought not to believe their own theories.
Everett draws a distinction between 'objective rationality' and 'subjective rationality'. He then argues that it is subjectively rational in most cases for people to believe in their local traditions since for a given individual, the probability that they know better than most other people around them is small. By a similar argument, scientists or intellectuals putting forward new theories ought to realise that the likelihood of them being correct in contradiction to what most of their peers think is also small.
There are some atheists that seem to me to have a simplified view of the nature of, and reasons for belief and faith which is counter productive and hampers dialogue. Some theists also evince a stereotyped view of atheists as being amoral and smug. people like Everett, Pascal Boyer (Religion Explained) and Michael Frayn (The Human Touch) are a few of the voices that might serve to counter this polarization.