There is a baffled plaintive note like the hum of a fridge in that post, which regrets that Gardner whilst otherwise sound had a defective jtb module. The atheist’s salute, rational beliefs/reasonably held, would have been denied him.
On reading his essay on Proofs of God in the collection The Night is Large: Collected Essays 1938 - 1995 I find that his observations to be generally sound and I proffer the modest thesis that his unaccountable fideism is the strategy of a private man who has reasons that like the dust of butterfly wings will be smeared by the prehensile snatch of the skeptic community or be snuffed in the killing bottle of jtb. He wishes to shortcircuit discussion with those who regard fideism as a sublime tripper of the switch o’ reason.
In his essay he isn’t being really self-contradictory when he impugns natural religion theists for mistaking a feeling for a reason. For him a feeling is a reason for belief, an open not a covert reason. This sort of belief is not a static fixed direction that we orient ourselves by. Unless it has confirmation of an inward sort it must wither. Dismissing the demands of unmistakable miracles that confirm the existence of God, Gardner in the opening paragraph of his essay writes:
If God spoke to us audibly, as Jehovah does so often in Old Testament tales, we might (unless we thought ourselves mad) believe in God’s existence for much the same reasons we believe in the existence of other persons. If God demonstrated his power by stupendous miracles, such as turning someone into a pillar of salt, there would be other good empirical grounds for believing. If we could perform experiments that supported, even indirectly, the hypothesis “God exists”, we would believe in God for the same reasons we believe in gravity. I do not think God reveals himself, or has ever done so, in such crude signs.
If not crude signs then subtle ones may hold the key to Gardner’s faith but he can no longer tell us as he discounted table turning. He died in 2010 at the grand age of 95.