I completely am on board with you, Gladiator. I mean it.
I relate to a story I heard of someone in the same boat as you and I.Just because I relate to it doesn't mean anything, does it--but I'll tell it.
A man in an occupied territory got a message from something that claimed to be an angel. The thing told the man that he was selected to deliver his people from oppression. The guy wasn't going to buy it out of hand (self-doubt?, didn't believe in angels). In fact he told the angel that he knd of thought God had cut out on him and his peple anyway. So,In best rationalist style he laid a fleece out , not once but twice and told God to do certain thing with it to show him whether or not he was really there. Then he was willing to listen.
You know the story.
We don't believe unless God will access us at some level. What level? I had a higher threshold than a lot of believers. But like they say of training mules compared to training horses--they may be more resistant to instruction but they remember the lesson well.
Faith does involve some risk and I do believe it involves a direct inquirey.
Even a scientist washes his hands and disinfects the impliments surrounding the experiment.
But one thing--I never expected the "answer" I got from God. We can't predict the outcome.
I am not shy about sharing my personal experience with anyone who asks about it. But I recognize that nobody else's story made me believe in God any more than reading the gospels now makes a believer of every reader. Gideon's story is just a story--unless you are Gideon.
Otherwise wouldn't I believe that good doctrine makes good Christians?