f, as Samuel Johnson said, "patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel", then surely faith is the first refuge of the theist. Since Reason as an epistemological path does not account for the existence of gods, fairies, leprechauns, or the supernatural in general, every theist must make the claim for knowledge of the supernatural though faith.
However, the theist is immediately placed into a dilemma from which there is no escape by using faith as a method or tool to gain knowledge. Simply put, faith and reason cannot exist side by side; they are mutually exclusive to one another. If something is believed to be true, and there is evidence for its reality, there is no need for faith; it is rationally a reality. But if something requires faith in order for it to be believed, then it is no longer rational, and if it is not rational, then what supports its reliability? Thus the theist is trapped into an impossible dilemma-- he cannot make an appeal to knowledge, since knowledge depends on reason for its existence.
The first thing we must understand is that faith, in and of itself, is not a pathway to access knowledge. Since the criteria of evidence and proof is not necessary under the constructs of faith (i.e., things are to be believed in spite of proof or evidence), there are no ways to apply a standard to the claim asserted. Under the guidelines of faith, there is nothing to separate the belief in the gods of ancient Rome or Greece, for instance, from the gods of modern society. Each statement of belief carries the same level of validity, i.e., none.
Faith cannot be used as a tool to access knowledge because it is random. Faith-based assertions carry validity (sic) not because there is any criteria to back them up, but because a group of people deem it so, and by definition, faith asks that one does not question validity. If one is questioning their faith, it is considered that they are also losing their faith, not strengthening it.