IMO....Belief in something doesn't mean it's truth,as truth is subjective,
it's means there is hope that something is true and I am sure most religious
people hope and pray "god is real" so they can assuage thier fears.
Fear is a very controlling emotion and can lead to a multitude of defense mechanisms.
Including denial,cognitive dissonance,compartmentalization,rationalization,intellectualization
etc. to deal with the anxiety of the reality that god my NOT exist.
I am sure it's an internal battle for those willing to question authority.
For those you are so conditioned to "believe" there is no way to reach them
so let them live in thier delusion.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belief
How beliefs are formed:
Psychologists study belief formation and the relationship between beliefs and actions.
Beliefs form in a variety of ways:
We tend to internalise the beliefs of the people around us during childhood. Albert Einstein is often quoted as having said that "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."
Most individuals believe the religion they were taught in childhood.
People may adopt the beliefs of a charismatic leader, even if those beliefs fly in the face of all previous beliefs, and produce actions that are clearly not in their own self-interest.
Is belief voluntary?
Rational individuals need to reconcile their direct reality with any said belief; therefore, if belief is not present or possible, it reflects the fact that contradictions were necessarily overcome using cognitive dissonance.
Physical trauma, especially to the head, can radically alter a person's beliefs.
However, even educated people, well aware of the process by which beliefs form, still strongly cling to their beliefs, and act on those beliefs even against their own self-interest. In Anna Rowley's Leadership Theory, she states "You want your beliefs to change. It's proof that you are keeping your eyes open, living fully, and welcoming everything that the world and people around you can teach you." This means that peoples' beliefs should evolve as they gain new experiences.
To "believe in" someone or something is a distinct concept from "believe-that". There are two types of belief-in:
Commendatory - an expression of confidence in a person or entity, as in, "I believe in his abililty to do the job".
Existential claim - to claim belief in the existence of an entity or phenomenon with the implied need to justify its claim to existence. It is often used when the entity is not real, or its existence is in doubt. "He believes in witches and ghosts" or "many children believe in fairies" are typical examples.
Delusions are defined as beliefs in psychiatric diagnostic criteria (for example in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). Psychiatrist and historian G.E. Berrios has challenged the view that delusions are genuine beliefs and instead labels them as "empty speech acts", where affected persons are motivated to express false or bizarre belief statements due to an underlying psychological disturbance.
However, the majority of mental health professionals and researchers treat delusions as if they were genuine beliefs.
As do the millions who reinforce religion with thier beliefs.
So yes....the really DO believe...but that mean's nothing in the grand scheme of things.