Richard Dawkins is the Charles Siomonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. In his best selling book, The God Delusion*, our world's most prominent atheist asserts the irrationality of belief in God and the grievous harm religion has inflicted on society, from the crusades to 9/11.
He is considered to be one of the world's top ten intellectuals. The New York Times Book Review has hailed him as a writer who “understands the issues so clearly that he forces his reader to understand them too.”
* The first chapter of his book is available from his official web site. www.richarddawkins.net
My point is that the survival mechanism that makes children's brains believe what they're told — is automatically vulnerable to parasitic codes such as “You must believe in the great juju in the sky,” or “You must kneel down and face east and pray five times a day.” These codes (memes) are then passed down through generations. And there’s no obvious reason why it should stop.
Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.