One day I walked to the store and on the way back I was struck with diarrhea and shit my pants. Not too much you can do about that. However, while in the bathroom cleaning up for a long period of time, my sister came by and suggested that I should 'finish masturbating' and get out of the bathroom. I was briefly stunned but realized the stigma of being accused of masturbation was rather minimal compared to the truth so I decided to not contradict the error; that's a lot like the truth behind faith.
When people claim to have faith they are often lying. They have reasons to believe what they believe, they simply realize that those reasons are horrifically bad and it is far better to claim that it boils down to faith. At a certain point, claiming to have faith is far better than exposing the real reasons you believe something. So what lies below the faith threshold? What are those reasons embarrassing enough to warrant everything "boiling down to faith":
* Belief because you were raised to believe.
* Belief because your family or community believes and you want to avoid being shunned.
* Belief because you're afraid of your own mortality.
* Belief because you confuse universal emotions with divine providence.
* Belief because it is more socially acceptable.
* Belief because you're afraid of hell.
When the reasons you *actually* hold that belief are far worse than the exalted "virtue" of faith it seems amazingly reasonable to opt for the excuse. Unlike the former reasons, which are shot down with amazing ease, nobody can really raise an objection to "faith". Well, other than pointing out that it's an epistemological crock of shit that is acceptable for no other context and should be grounds for being committed. Rather, that would be the case if faith weren't simply a sham which just so happens to have more credibility than reality.
Given the choice between submitting the true reasons you believe something ridiculous and having the underpinnings of that beliefs you want to hold knocked out from under you with trivial ease, exposing that a core part of your world view is built up as a house of cards, or claiming to possess the exalted socially accepted virtue of faith. It isn't surprising people opt for the latter. Faith is a silly concept and, in reality, is just mental masturbation but it is far better than the reality: you're shitting yourself.