This is getting fun. My main challenge here is to say "NO!! NO!!! NO!!!!!!! FOOL!!" while not offending anyone. :) Here we go:
"I'm not trying to convince you that belief in God necessarily makes sense, far from it."
I think it's very interesting that we share so much in common, and yet the irrationality of faith draws you to it, while it repels me.
"That is not called belief, it's called self-delusion."
Bingo. :) Not to say that all believers are deluded. At least not to a large degree. But I think you misinterpret belief. Belief does not equal hope. I hope God exists, but I do not believe in him. That alone should be enough to convince you. You admit that belief does not make sense (irrational) but you stick with it anyway. Why? I don't understand how people can say "Oh sure, it doesn't make much sense to think this way, but I do anyway."
Let's use your original definition of belief to explain why it's wrong: "as of this moment I do not and cannot know, but it is my desire that it be true." Okay, let's use the terrorist bombing as an example. Do I know whether or not more peopl will die from further attacks on civilians? No. Is it my desire that no more will die? Yes. But do I believe that no more death will occur? No. See what I mean?
"People are not stupid you know. They are liars, not stupid. They say they believe in turning the other cheek but, they won't say this aloud, only after making sure they beat the hell out of their enemies. They say they believe in the afterlife but can't bear the thought of their own death. They say they believe in a loving God and that all evil is the result of human sin, but are pretty convinced that sin doesn't cause earthquakes, floods, cosmic collisions."
Again I am amazed by how we follow the same line of thought to two completely contradictory conclusions. How can you admit that faith is an irrational (or at least unreliable) statement about the external, logical world, and stick with it? I am reminded of John Powell's thoughts (I quote this guy a lot, he said a large number of profound things) on theism: everyone is over 99% agnostic. On a day to day basis, we cannot act as if a loving God exists, and if we do (for example, not look both ways before you cross the street on the assumption that the man upstairs is looking out for you) we tend to make very bad decisions. True? Yes, okay, this is an argument based on the dogmatic version of God, but your defense of a self-aware, caring God makes this point at least halfway valid:
heaven looks a lot more beautiful when you interpret it as the result of a divine will.
So? A drab, grey wall looks a lot more beautiful if you paint rainbows all over it, but it doesn't make those rainbows exist.