First let me say that it's not a bad thing, to start into an area of deduction or discourse, by assuming that everything you know, is wrong. Just from an academic point of view. It let's you view your beliefs from outside and with a fresh consideration. Otherwise, you find yourself stuck in your static mindset. Then if you come upon the same conclusions, they carry far more weight. See what I mean?
People like to say, "I have "Faith" in God." But, what is Faith. How does "Faith" have anything to do with getting to Heaven. What is the purpose of "Faith"? Is having "Faith" of the purpose to get to Heaven, is it a fear of avoiding going to Hell, is it because your God commands you to have Faith in a belief of that God's existence?
It is true, and research has proved this, that to have a belief in something outside of yourself, allows you to do things beyond what you would normally and reasonably do. If you believe in a force outside yourself, you will rush into battle (believing you have God on your side, or that the regiment is only a minute behind you to pull your ass out of the fight, or the Great Pumpkin, is watching over you).
But it is a belief in economics, really, typically, that is governing most people's desires to please that force beyond themselves. "I will be good" therefore, Heaven. "I will do what I believe God asks" so therefore I will get virgins in Heaven (no matter that I personally think that is more something you'd get in Hell, but hey, whatever, to each his or her own, right?). "I will do God's will" therefore, I please God (and what's behind that? Heaven, not Hell? And which is really the motivating factor, is up for grabs).
We can also here skip the entire concept of why a God, an omnipotent being, would need to be Worshiped.
We don't even need to get into the fact that there are multiple God's around the world meaning different things to different cultures and people. Or how "God parameters" are local and specific to various geographical regions, or how they are temporally located with no concept of a future, other than perhaps, giving out obscure fiction as in Revelations or the Apocalypse, in the Christian Bible.
We don't need to get into how the bible was compiled by a council that was set up by an Emperor who feared losing his empire so much that he switched from his religion to the one that was rapidly becoming most popular in his lands. Or, how that Emperor Constantin had anyone who had books not included in the final "authorized" edition to give up their books or be put to death. Or simply be put to death if found with one.
In the end, Constantin's plan worked, for a while, but in the end things fell apart anyway. But the religion he set up goes on and on. We could go through the same origins of the Qua'ran (or Koran), but aside from being too obvious to bother with, those who adhere to these religions really need to know and look into these things on their own. But, they won't. Because, they don't think they have to. Because, they have "Faith".
But, is Faith really even important? Religious Faith is a strongly held belief in something. It's believing in something even against evidence to the contrary. Strong Faith is a focus, an unswerving coherence to a subject. By saying it's a focus, a coherent thought, one indicates an integrity of personality; that a person is of one mind on this topic. That they will live a life with the core of their being, as that of one who has no disbelief, who follows tenets to further enforce their beliefs.
But do you know many, or any, whom that fits? Even those hard core ones, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhists, if you delve deep into their being, you will find that for most of those, this is not true for them either and that they tend to fool themselves as well as any. True, this is a goal that we poor Humans attain to.
But what makes Faith, the ultimate thing to get us there?
It would seem that more so than Faith, is integrity. Faith, from practice of those I've come into contact with, seems to indicate less Faith and more a faith of ignorance. To ignore the Truth. In many cases to believe in what they really know is false. Some are so deluded that they will admit what they believe has no basis in reality, no proper history to support their beliefs, but they continue to believe, to have faith, anyway.
It is my contention, that Faith in something you have no true knowledge of, other than, "This is what my parents taught me" or "I believe what I'm told" by church, community, whomever, then you are wasting your time. If however, you research and learn the truth of what you believe, then you have hope of having true Faith. Because if you can believe when you learn how religion and the Bible, or other "Holy Books" came to be, and you can still believe, then that is true Faith.
It is also a total delusion, but still, one has to respect someone that believes in the face of information to the contrary.
So, the only way to achieve whatever it is a religious person is trying to achieve (getting to Heaven, avoiding Hell, getting rewards, pleasing their God figure), needs to learn first where their beliefs came from. Then they needs to have Faith that even in the face of evidence to the contrary, God exists, their religion is the true one, and continue on having their Faith. Of course, at this point it makes no sense to continue on; but well, there it is.
If you find the truth, that religion is a creation of Humans from a distant path where they needed explanations for the mysteries of the Universe, and there was no God who did anything, but men (yes, men, mostly not women back then, which many women would then say, well, that explains a lot), and you still want to believe.
Then if you take the position that this is a way to order your mind, to be a "good" person with the off chance that it is all real, or that what you are being taught is total nonsense but perhaps there is some more (meta)physical reason to do it (reincarnation perhaps, another interesting and pleasing myth; ascension, as some new age beliefs teach; or whatever people can imagine to make themselves feel better), then perhaps it would be understandable why you would want to choose to have such beliefs.
For religion has two soul purposes, honed to perfection over thousands of years: to relieve Humans of their fears of natural life, and to control the minds of groups of people by those in authority.
But then, you have to consider the downsides of these religious beliefs. Yes, they have done some good through history, but I would contend that about a hundred years before the beginning of the religiously created and titled "Dark Ages", religion had becomes superfluous and was no longer necessary, and any advances from then on we could not only have made without religions, but we would have made in a far more accelerated form. For at that point, religion became little more than a "governor" on the engine of Humanity, restricting its progress. Yes, progressing with thought and consideration with a nod to ethics, is important, but that existent outside the belief systems that include ethereal beings.
You can believe the veracity of the above chart or not. The truth is, it is true at least to some extent. How do I know that?
I have Faith in it.