Sam Harris of the Reason Project has completed a study that shows people of faith take their "belief without evidence" as fact.
You can read commentary on the study here:
And the study details here:
This seems to offer a hypothesis that supernatural claims of knowing are not what they appear to be. To put it more bluntly, there is no such thing as a Holy Spirit. Victor Stenger in his new book The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason argues for the material manifestation of mind. Harris' study offers confirmation for material reality over supernatural claims and shows that faith as belief without evidence may feel like fact to the person comprehending it but, it does not mean that it is fact.
I find this science fascinating because it supports my understanding of faith and the availability heuristic.
It's amazing that people of faith will activate their brain in such a way to endorse as fact untestable claims. I understand now how people can fly planes into buildings or why James Dobson can shamelessly compare concensual homosexual relationships to some kind of mental illness.
To their brains their faith is a fact and they will do whatever is necessary to animate these facts into righteous action.
It doesn't make faith any more noble but it does explain the power of self-righteous delusions.