I've been reading Michael Shermer's very good The Believing Brain: from Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies -- How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them As Truths (Times Books 2011). I recommend it. Of course, there's a degree of confirmation bias in my approval, for Shermer brings a large quantity of his research to bear on the question of 'belief' to support a Dennettian point-of-view that is pretty much mine (and many people's), so I'm likely to like it. But one thing that I liked, as a hoary old materialist-atheist, was Shermer's hospitality to various spiritualist and religious points of views.
At the beginning he says: 'in fact all models of the world, not just scientific models, are foundational to our beliefs, and belief-dependent realism means that we cannot escape this epistemological trap.' Very (and very properly) Kantian; and he is quick to add that 'we can, however, employ the tools of science' to determine which beliefs are supported by evidence. But that initial position is one I have found stated by religious writers arguing against Dawkinsian atheism: Dawkins' mocks Christianity as 'faith'; but Dawkins's own belief in science is a faith too. More, Dawkins himself must agree with Shermer that all models of the world, not just scientific models, are foundational to our beliefs, and belief-dependent realism means that we cannot escape this epistemological trap.
It's not a very useful strategy, rhetorically or logically, because it cuts both ways. The Christian doesn't actually want to argue for the absolute relativism of belief; she wants to argue that Christian belief is true and atheism not. Nonetheless, I find myself wondering: what if we follow up the consequence of this? Suppose we say 'well neither Christianity nor Science are any better grounded than one another, so we might as well just pick and choose the belief system that we find most agreeable' (to be clear, Shermer is absolutely not saying this, and I haven't found any theist writers who are either; but bear with me).
One possibility would be to say: since I can choose a belief-system purely on what appeals to me, I might as well go the whole hog. I might as well believe that I am the emperor of the world, the greatest human being who ever lived, that all this cosmos is laid on for my benefit. I might as well believe that I am God! Obviously, few people, and no well-balanced people, do believe that. But might this be because, although such a belief might seem superficially preferable to the belief that (say) we are born into original sin and must abase ourselves before an all-powerful deity to earn the chance to enjoy the afterlife -- maybe it's not. Could it be that one reason why Christianity (to pick one example) does so well in the belief stakes is that it is very finely tuned, as it were, to provide believers with the optimum balance of self-aggrandizement (you are specially, God loves you, you will live forever) with the necessary condiment of self-perspective (you're a sinner, you are unworthy, your abjection meant that God was tortured to death)?