Sometimes you have to have faith. You have to believe that the sun will rise tomorrow. You have to believe that there will be enough food for you to buy at the grocery store. You have to believe that when you flush the toilet, it will be processed properly and not just dumped into a stream. But each of these things is based in some way on previously understood and verified facts. The sun will rise tomorrow because it rose today. There will likely be food at the grocery store because there was the last time you went shopping. You can visit the sewage treatment plant and see how it is processed for yourself.
Faith in the supernatural is necessarily a leap of faith. The supernatural has no indication in the natural world. There is no precedent, no previous instance, no tangible evidence of the supernatural. Any idea based on the supernatural must therefore involve the unknown. All that is known about the supernatural is that it is not natural. Other than that, it is an unknown defined by unknowns.
This makes it practically worthless. It tells us nothing about how the real, tangible world operates. It offers us no insight into our current troubles or even what happens when we die. It is all speculation built upon speculation.
So why do people insist on having "faith" in the supernatural? Why do people believe it because
it is absurd? I have yet to answer this question the way it was asked. And therein lies the problem; I don't think there is an answer the way the question is framed. This kind of faith is not based on understanding. Explaining the unknown in terms of the known would make the unknown knowable. And that's not the idea behind this kind of faith.
For some people, their whole worldview is built on the idea that there is an ill-defined "something" (a god), that makes reality and everything possible. This is mind-boggling and scary. Someone can have an entire set of memes based on one major and nonsensical meme. They cannot define it, you cannot define it, because, by definition, this kind of faith is undefined. The base meme becomes a sticky ball of possibilities. You can stick anything on it so long as it is couched in the proper terms. Religious and political leaders do this all the time to get people to do what they want them to do. Cleanliness is next to godliness. Every sperm is sacred. God hates fags, etc.
There is a serious problem with this kind of faith - it is unassailable. If I wanted to claim that the holocaust never happened, or that the earth is flat, there is information and evidence available to let me know that I am wrong. I can compare what I know and understand to available evidence. The undefined has no evidence. It has no rightness nor wrongness. It cannot be processed and determined to be true or false. This makes it very, very dangerous. How do you tell someone that their belief in 72 virgins waiting for them in heaven is based on nothing? How do you tell someone that their love of GWB is based on an unknown? They don't ask for evidence and they don't need evidence. All they know is that they have faith in this *something*, and that is good enough for them. If faith were to be held in the same light as all other claims, it would be the linchpin of someone's belief system. Change the base meme, and you can bring their entire worldview crashing down.
When I was younger, I would ask all sorts of questions about everything I experienced around me. Most of the time, I received satisfactory answers. Every once in a while, though, I would ask someone a question and they wouldn't know the answer. Instead of getting "I don't know", they said "god did it". The more people I met in life, the more I came across people willing to use that as a legitimate response. I also met people that were given that as an answer to many of their questions.
Start with a basic, underlying meme like the undefined faith we discussed earlier. Add to it all sorts of other memes that can be made to link to it via some spurious connection. Also include as an understanding of many natural phenomena "god did it", and you will end up with a warped and twisted mind that has very little chance of learning and independent thought. How many inquisitive minds have been snuffed out by those three simple words? Imagine all the potential botanists that asked "why is that tree there?" and received in reply "god did it". Or all the potential physicists that asked "why do things fall?" and heard "god did it".
Why do people believe silly things?
God did it.
If you want to destroy a mind, teach it to accept things without evidence. Teach it to accept only those things that appeal to ill-defined concepts and unknowns. Make the mind resistant to attempts to reshape it by cloaking it in ignorance. When you understand the danger of faith, how restrictive and destructive it can be, you cannot help but conclude that faith is one of the most dangerous forces that language can create.
Faith is the mind-killer.