Q: The Dalia Lama, in his book The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality, that if science proved religious claims in Buddhism false, then one must abandon those religious claims? A: True
Not to beat a dead horse that doesn't exist, but I thoroughly enjoyed our semantic discussion of faith, belief, and hope. I feel very lucky to be in a class with such sharp, thoughtful students.
Concerning our discussion, the overarching problem that kept surfacing indicated that any definition of faith suffers (or benefits) from the same indeterminate vagueness as the nature of God. When theists are often pressed for evidence of their particular god in a non-religious setting, for example, the angry, jealous god of the Bible--the one that wins wars and football games, sends tornados to punish homosexuality, and assures priests that women are not worthy of leadership positions--is no where to be found. When pressed for evidence, this god suddenly becomes the "first cause," the "unmoved mover," love, the sustainer of the universe outside of space, time and logic, etc. Then, non-believers are often accused of not understanding the nature of faith, or all attempts to define faith are incomplete.
The trouble with this view is that the portrayal of God as some sustaining force in the the outer cosmos renders Him completely unrecognizable by the majority of Christians. If that particularly vague image of Abrahamic god were remotely true, then the Bible would be no longer than a band flyer at Bonnaroo.
The data shows that 86% of Protestants and a whopping 94% of Evangelicals take the Bible as the "net word of god." 52% of Evangelicals take the Bible literally--all of it. 41% of Protestants do the same. For Bible literalists, that means the earth is 6,000 years and God is an old bearded guy in the sky sporting a bathrobe. And guess what: they are certain this is true because of faith.
I think Peter Boghossian put is best when he said vague definitions of gods and faith are transparent attempts to avoid criticism. But here he helps us out a bit. He contends that faith is not only belief without evidence, but faith is really "pretending to know something you don't."
But don't take my word for the above data. Here's a link to all the 2012 Pew Research on Religious belief in the United States. The specific data quoted is under the Views of Scripture section.