, I concur with you until this point:
Faith to me is an excuse to believe something beyond good reason.
I rather think that this is not a matter of cause and effect but both is the very same: in order to believe in something that can't be proved one has to have faith.
Though being an atheist myself I can see the emotional and moral advantages religious believes may have. People who believe in a deity that to some extent supervises their lives tend to be more relaxed in critical situations. They have what I would like to call "an emotional safety belt". Whatever happens to them, they have some kind of authority they can apply to, complain to, hope for or ask for help. While this may not have an immediate effect on the situation, it nevertheless helps them to cope with it.
The atheist must face all the problems of life alone. That makes us stronger but it does indubitably take a toll on our nerves, emotions and endurance.
I believe that this craving for assistance, the need to have a friend or a powerful ally, is what first caused people to invent religions. Not having to be alone is propably one of mankind's deepest desires and needs.
Another need is to be accepted the way we are. This goes for our believes (or lack of) as well. If we expect others to accept and respect our views on life, we must give them the same acceptance and respect.
As far as religion is concerned, we all have to agree upon the fact that we disagree. And frankly, it'd be a rather boring world if everyone believed the same.