The believer’s challenge, according to Julian Baggini, is to determine if the religious faith believers hold is intellectually respectable as a 21st-century faith. Answering the challenge honestly forces religious believers to make a choice between beliefs which can be considered intellectually respectable, and those which cannot, either shutting gnu atheists up for attacking a straw man faith no one believes in as they are often accused of doing, or revealing that the beliefs gnu atheists do criticize really are intellectually dishonest:
Preamble. We acknowledge that religion comes in many shapes and forms and that therefore any attempt to define what religion “really” is would be stipulation, not description. Nevertheless, we have a view of what religion should be, in its best form, and these four articles describe features that a religion fit for the contemporary world needs to have. These features are not meant to be exhaustive and nor do they necessarily capture what is most important for any given individual. They are rather a minimal set of features that we can agree on despite our differences, and believe others can agree on too.
1. To be religious is primarily to assent to a set of values, and/or practise a way of life, and/or belong to a community that shares these values and/or practices. Any creeds or factual assertions associated with these things, especially ones that make claims about the nature and origin of the natural universe, are at most secondary and often irrelevant.
2. Religious belief does not, and should not, require the belief that any supernatural events have occurred here on Earth, including miracles that bend or break natural laws, the resurrection of the dead, or visits by gods or angelic messengers.
3. Religions are not crypto- or proto-sciences. They should make no claims about the physical nature, origin or structure of the natural universe. That which science can study and explain empirically should be left to science, and if a religion makes a claim that is incompatible with our best science, the scientific claim, not the religious one, should prevail.
4. Religious texts are the creation of the human intellect and imagination. None need be taken as expressing the thoughts of a divine or supernatural mind that exists independently of humanity.
(h/t to Eric)