Belief in God is rational.
Everything has a cause. So unless there is a first cause, then you would have an infinite regress. And then nothing could exist. Therefore there must be a first cause. Therefore God, the first cause, exists. QED. (You could prove the first step a priori that everything has a cause by noting that nothing can come from nothing. This makes it a priori, not just an empirical observation).
abuse of authority under the guise of holiness
I think that in fact people got fed up with abuse of authority. They said it is better for people to be open sinners than sinners under the guise of holiness.