As further evidence of my unresolved psychological issues, I’ve occasionally have conversations with theists. A classic dynamic that I find myself in during these conversations is the faith vs. evidence/discernment–I think most skeptics are familiar with the phenomenon.
First, the theist will claim that their belief is just a reasonable following of the facts. After the evidence examined, found lacking, and dispensed with, the theist claims that their beliefs are faith based and founded on subjective experience–hard to argue with that!
Today I was talking to an ex-catholic who had been challenged in his teens to reconcile the bible with the tenets of the catholic religion. He decided to read the bible in order to refute the challenger, but found instead that the man had, in fact, been correct. He was upset that more self-identified Christians didn’t take time to apply reason to their beliefs and discern god’s intent for their lives.
I pointed out the irresolvable problem he faces: if a person examines the evidence and applies reason to religious beliefs, she will become an atheist. The most basic filters that we humans use to strain out nonsense-that-cannot-possibly-be-true immediately get rid of all religious claims. Only indoctrination of the young and the threat of ostracism and/or physical harm keeps these relics of humanity’s psychotic past alive.