Sam Harris has written a wonderfully enlightening and remarkably relatable piece on how the mind reacts when cherished beliefs are challenged by outside sources. He likens the love of a burning wood fire to the love of whatever religious beliefs one may have, and notes that we often react similarly if either idea is attacked. He asks his readers to be honest with themselves and pay attention to how their own mind behaves while they read his summation of wood fires. Then they can more accurately understand how the religious mind works when challenged.
Read it for yourself here.