True, tables were the best way to have a consistent design across browsers...in 1997. Now we have a BETTER way to do layouts, and BETTER browsers that adhere to a strict standard in order to decide how to display them.
Your table design might look good to you, on your screen, but what do you think will happen when a blind person tries to visit your site using a screen reader? Chances are they're going to click the back button within 10 seconds of trying to navigate the mess of <td>s for things that are not, in any way, tabular data.
Or how about this; try viewing any table-based site with images off. Good luck finding your way around. Then go to any well-designed site with semantic HTML and external CSS. Turn images and CSS off and you'll see a well-structured outline, everything properly labeled and easy to navigate in an order that makes sense.
Your HTML should not say anything about how the page is structured. It should show content, and ONLY content, wrapped in the proper tags with classes added for styling in an external CSS file.
There is no such thing as a "CSS purist", because CSS is the way to do presentation. Using layout tables is the best way to set back years of progress made in the web development field. You seem to think designing with tables will make sites render better across all browsers, but what it will really do is frustrate people to the point of losing all interest in your site. Even if you did manage to get a table-based design to render well across ALL browsers on ALL devices (which is not happening in a million years), anyone who knows the first thing about web development will look at your code and immediately strip you of all your credibility.
With CSS we have easy, site-wide styling with no redundancy. We have the ability to change entire layouts and color schemes by editing ONE file (at least this is how it's supposed to work if your HTML is 100% semantically accurate). We have media queries to make sites display differently at different window sizes. We can insert extra visual content with pseudo elements. We have quicker loading times, because the browser doesn't have to take its sweet time loading the entire table before it even displays anything. CSS is the way to do layouts now. End of story, no further discussion required, closing time, you don't have to go home but you can't stay here.
...wow, I think deathshadow's rants are rubbing off on me.