That's something I haven't managed to do in months of disagreeing with you. I still disagree, though, believe it or not.
"I don't think this captures the concept of faith. Faith is a belief in the things that are intuitive to us and that we hope for, but don't necessarily have deductive or inductive proof."
That's just a fancy way of saying "belief with lack of proof." A belief in the things we hope for, but don't have deductive or inductive proof? That's just a more complicated way of saying what you said you disagreed with.
"In my heart I know that God exists every morning I get up and every beautiful landscape that I see."
I didn't expect you to make that kind of argument. God must exist because the world is beautiful? Don't you think evolution could explain people's love for nature (i.e. those who hated nature had no reason to go on and died out.) Even if this argument is unsatisfactory to you (and it's not even totally satisfactory to me) a beautiful universe, is, as always, subjective to the nature of the observer. A happy, well-off person with few real problems can see every day as a gift from a loving God while a refugee living in Rwanda can see every sunrise as a curse from a veangeful God. The scenery never changes, just the way we interpret it.
"To equate this with a dragon in the garage is to miss the essence of faith and more importantly lose an important connection to what being human really is....To try to remove our frailities by relying only on 'proof' is to misunderstand the nature of human proof and to miss out on the most wonderful aspects of being human."
Harv, believe it or not I'm a relatively happy person. I am not inhuman in any way. I enjoy my emotions, I enjoy the fresh breeze in my face, I enjoy backpacking, etc. If I'm missing out on anything besides irrational thought, share it with me. You have to realize that I care more about the nature of the external universe than I do about "realizing my humanity." And personally I think it's quite realized. What is so objectionable about demanding rationale for belief? What is so objectionable about the search for proof? I don't understand why you've reverted to attacking rational thought in favor of pleasant beliefs when I've seen you as a defender of rationality for a long time.
"One of the greatest gifts we have is our ability to believe what we want to believe. "
You'll never hear me saying that unquestioning faith is unpleasant. I'm sure it's great, I know it was when I was a kid. But that doesn't make it true. That's what I'm worried about above all other things. If I was a follower of a faith that believed we all inhabit the small intestine of the great extradimensional giant Zar-Moo, how seriously would you take me? Or would you say "Oh, he's happy, I'll leave him alone."?
"If you buy into the notion that you can only believe what was published by Carl Sagan, then I really feel sorry for such an individual."
I don't believe only what was published by Sagan. I just so happen to think that he has some good points. I'm sure you've read some books you've agreed with? Are you just "following" whatever the authors tell you?
It works the other way around, too. I can easily say "If you buy into the notion that you can only believe what is written in the Bible, then I really feel sorry for such an individual."