Today, for the second time in my career as an atheist, someone has presented me with the argument that they believe in god because of faith. I don't know why people think that this is a good argument. Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't faith mean basically the same thing as belief? I know there are variations on the definitions of faith that give it some different shades of meaning, but essentially it is the same thing, right? If I told someone I believe something because I believe it, I am sure that I would be met with blank stares and derision, but if I replace the word "belief" with the word "faith", suddenly it becomes an argument.
I find this argument especially annoying because everyone has faith is something or someone, but we do it because there are reasons that we have that faith. I am not talking about anything supernatural. I am talking about things like faith that friends care for you and family members love you. Maybe it is all a lie, but I have reason to believe it is not. Sometimes the reasons for faith end up not being reliable, but they are there. I am sure it is the same for religious peoples' faith. Has it been instilled in you from childhood? Are you afraid of god's wrath? Is it the sense of community you feel in church? Do you believe the Bible is the literal word of god? Is it a feeling you get when you are alone? Does god talk to you? Have you been visited by angels? You are not likely to convince me, but at least we can have an adult conversation about it. So if you are religious and you insist on talking to me about religion please tell me the reason that you have faith, not simply that you do! The thing worries me is that people might not know why they have this faith, and they are unwilling to really think about it.