When I read articles online by Christians, sometimes I see accusations that atheist's beliefs are the same sort of belief that Christians have in God. I think it's important to recognize the different kind of faith one can have for something that is demonstrated verses the kind for that which is un-provable.
I've heard Christians give examples such as sitting in a chair being an exercise in faith, or expecting your car to start, or even riding in an airplane. When you compare all these examples with the kind of faith your talking about with religion, there's a fundamental difference. All these examples are of things that we can interact with.
When I sit in the chair, or start my car, or expect my plane ride to go smoothly, that is a demonstration in which my belief is put to the test. If these objects perform as expected, that means that my faith was justified. Where did I get my faith in those things in the first place? I claim from past experience, as well as the examples from people around me. My experience with these objects led me to believe that sitting in a chair, starting my car, or riding a plane, would be a safe bet. That, along with a lack of evidence to the contrary, gave me confidence. But, what if the chair collapsed, or my car didn't start, or something went wrong with the plane I had intended to ride on? My faith in those objects would be altered. This past year alone, I have had a chair collapse while I was standing on it.I also had to bring my car into the shop because it wouldn't start. As a paratrooper, several times they've had to scratch a jump due to a mechanical failure on the plane. Each time something like that happened my faith lessened I'm now more cautious with the other chairs from the set we bought. This past week, I looked at my battery cables to make sure there wasn't a build up of corrosion When I get ready to board a plane, I still expect that the flight might be cancelled.
So, here's the difference, the Christian faith in God, is a faith that is based on something that nobody has had any true experience or interaction with. That being said, there also, doesn't seem to be any instance in the normal Christian experience that would cause them to lessen their faith. If they did doubt their faith in God, they would be reprimanded by their church leaders and other Christians for not having enough faith.
When I say that Christians haven't had an experience with God, I know that they claim that they can feel the spirit within them, or that they feel comforted by God. None of those kinds of experiences can be differentiated from their own emotions. I am dismissive of those that claim that they have either seen or heard (audibly) God. I believe it's more likely that those that claim to have either seen or heard God might either be mistaken or have true mental problems.
I think that prayer is a demonstration of what I'm talking about. When Christians pray, either they get what they ask for or they don't? If they do get what they asked for they say that it proves God answers prayer. When they don't get what they ask for, do they then say, "Hmmm, maybe there really isn't a God who answers prayer"? No, they say, "God didn't want me to have that", or "God wants me to wait". No matter what the outcome, Christians see it as a way to justify their beliefs. That is not the same reaction as someone who's chair has just collapsed under them.
Another important difference is that my faith is in accordance with my everyday experience with the physical world and doesn't violate any known laws of the universe. The Christian faith is a faith that is based on something that, not only is outside the human experiences of everyday life, but also would violate every thing that is known about the physical world. They believe that there is a spiritual being that exists without a body, a mind that exists outside a brain. And,this incorporeal being has powers to override all natural laws. Where did they get these ideas? A book that was written by an ancient people, long ago. So, why believe it?
When Christians claim to have faith in a God, they're talking about an unsubstantiated faith. And, that is not the same kind of faith that atheists appear to have in everyday objects.