When I say challenge first of all I dont mean in any violent kind of way. I mean with reasonable discourse and regular dialogue. I think in todays day and age with the progression of science and philosophy we are finally able to promote the kind of change in thinking needed to make the world a better place. Age old religious ideas in particularly should be challenged. It is insanity to think we are living in a world where more than half the population are willing to dismiss the mountains of scientific research that indicated their beliefs are wrong and would rather listen to some bearded old men instead.
I think it is important for these people be confronted with the measure of their ignorances. Be they rascists, religious believers or whatever. I think it is deplorable for the world to be happy in ignorance and I think it is the solomn duty of those with enough of a brain on their shoulders to aid the rest in enlightenment. It would be a better world for everyone.
It is only natural as an intelligent human being to be curious about the world and how it was formed. Many turn to religion, many also look to science, and then there are those who take both into moderation. None of them are wrong. They have all just decided what they believe. But if you stick to one side and say "I believe this I mean it's irrational but it's religion it must be true" then you are just being silly. I mean if you are a religious person, and you think that something about your religion seems irrational and a little unbelievable, it is your human right to challenge that and do some personal research and see if you can't find a solution. But if you just sit there and accept something, even though you believe it to be slightly out of this world, then that is pretty close minded. Science is challenged all of the time. One person will say "no, this happened" and another will so "no that didn't happen, this happened." And that is acceptable. Religion is no different, religion is not exempt from exploration and question. You don't need to prove to anyone else but yourself about what you believe, but it's always good to challenge what you think are facts.
Not only is it not a good idea to insist on straitening everyone out it's a good way to end up with a bullet to the head in the wrong circumstances. One of the things I've learned in recovery; people have the right to be wrong. One of the major steps to maturity is learning to pick your battles.
The problem here is that your definition of rationality is subjective. Everyone thinks they are rational in their beliefs. Irrational people don't think they are irrational... And if you take it upon yourself to convince them that they are... They will think you are irrational... And probably a jerk. Your equivocation lies in that you are not separating an rational position from an rational person. Rational thinking is a mathematical and scientific thought process. Lets say you used a scientific and mathematical thought process to conclude that racism is bad for society, you conclude that this is a rational position, so you go down to "United People to End Racism" to volunteer your time for the cause. Now lets say that I am a devote Christian, and through my theology of love and grace through Jesus I conclude that racism is evil. Convinced that this is a rational position for me to have I go down to the "United People to End Racism" and volunteer my time for the cause. Since we have both reached the same "rational" outcome would you feel obligated to challenge my religious beliefs as irrational? Is this a rational position reached by irrational means? Now lets say that I am highly rational person, and I conclude though scientific and mathematical means that black people commit over 50% of murders in the US and 49% of violent crimes. So I use this evidence to rationalize the use of racial profiling, harsher punishments for black criminals, and tougher restrictions on firearms to black people in order to reduce these percentages. Would you consider this irrational?? Is this an irrational position through rational means? But since you are suggesting confronting religious beliefs, then you must not be concerned with the outcomes of those beliefs. Unless you believe that ALL religious persons are going to have a negative effect. Is that a rational position? Or perhaps you conclude that religion in general has a negative effect... So you go around confronting individuals to challenge their beliefs?? Is that a rational position? Perhaps the effect is of no concern, you just have a problem with people who don't use the Rational Thinking Process, so you confront their thinking regardless of its outcome.
Rational thinking is a process not an outcome. The outcome hinges on the available evidence. Evidence itself is subjective to context. A rational thinker is willing to consistently challenge their own conclusions as new evidence is discovered and/or prior evidence is subjected to new interpretations. The outcomes of the scientific method, philosophy and historical methodology are fluid and constantly debated, tested and reasoned all within its current context. The context, or course, is endlessly fluid.