Pride in faith

I watched Religulous a couple days ago.

It was fun. It was obviously skewed, but some of the stuff was scary even taking into account the bias. One interesting thing that was brought up is that not only can we (and should we) question our beliefs (and those of others), but we can question the very idea that faith is a virtue. It's an important question: Why is it a good thing to have faith?

This question needs to be kept separate from the things that people do as a result of their faith, because that is specific to a religion. For example:

"Bob is a devout Catholic. It's too bad because he can't use condoms, and has more kids then he ever wanted."

This statement is a criticism on the Catholic religion, not on faith. If someone who didn't like Catholicism were talking about an atheist, they might make this statement, followed by:

"But atleast Bob has some kind of religion. He has faith in something."

Or, put even better by Mayor Adam West on Family Guy:

"At least [muslims] believe in a God, even if it's a smelly brown God."

The underlying theme is that, while you may make the wrong choice in what to have faith in, it's still the right choice to have faith in something. Faith in and of itself is a virtue, and so even if you've chosen the wrong religion, at least you've still got faith. My question is: Why is that a good thing?

Faith is basically believing something that doesn't make sense. There are various definitions, but here are two:

Most rational people would laugh at someone who believed something for which there is no proof. In most cases, it's considered kind of ridiculous if someone is stubbornly believing something to be true when there is no way to justify it or backup it up.

In The God Delusion, Dawkins brings up the Celestial Teapot theory:

If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes.

Any person able to logically or rationally think about the world would think that belief in the teapot is insane. Noone would ever admire a person's belief in the teapot, or espouse someone's conviction in the teapot's existence as a virtue. It's just not something to aspire to. But when people talk about religion, and the belief in some kind of God, it's admired. The act of not thinking something through, and instead just fiercely believing that what you want to be true actually is true, is admired if the target of your belief is God.

Obviously not everyone thinks this, and maybe it's a camp kind of thing. Maybe it's mostly religious people who want their camp to be bigger. If they expand 'us' to include all religious people, because atleast they have some faith, then the 'them' camp gets alot smaller. Much better than 'us' being only 'Christians'.

Whatever the reason, it's a bad idea to take a character flaw, such as willful ignorance and the refusal to see logic, and idolize it. People shouldn't be proud of their refusal to think rationally.