1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
You don't dispute (or care actually) that Christians use 'faith' in the sense of definition 2 when discussing why they believe in God. With all very due respect man, I think it's a bit rich for you to accuse me of 'abusing' the word 'faith' here. The fact is that I'm using the word faith consistently with how some Christians use the word (and who are under no obligation, even though it is confusing, to adhere to the biblical definition; they can use definitions 1 and 2 in different contexts), although I fully admit I may be misinterpreting exactly what these Christians mean. In addition, here's a quote from you on the problem of evil thread, emphasis mine: "I agree with you that God knows what will happen, but that doesn't lessen my belief in him, or in my belief that predestination and free will can coexist (despite being mutually exclusive concepts)." I'd say you've done far more violence to those two much less ambiguous terms than I have to 'faith' (although I sympathize with you that the limitations of language and our limited comprehension get in the way of discussions concerning both predestination and free will).
On the matter of the layman theory vs the scientific theory, perhaps you inadvertently proved my point for me. Those pesky Young Earth Creationists ridicule evolution by saying "it's only a theory". Scientists and most of the rest of us shake our head at their misuse of the word "theory". Likewise, if someone says Christian faith is "believing without evidence", then Christians who know what biblical faith is shake their head at the misuse of the word. Just because a word has different meanings does not mean both are valid within certain contexts. Biblical faith is never "believing without evidence". Modern understanding of the word has that implication, but it is not what was intended in the original language 2000 years ago.
Again, thanks for the info, I do recognize that this conversation is pretty far afield of the thread topic, but I appreciate your responses. If I feel that I can better put in to words my points on this subtopic, I may start another thread on it in the future.
If God came up to me tomorrow and said "Paranoid Android, sell your computer, you need to go to Africa to spread my mission", I have two choices (assuming I'm not crazy and hallucinating, but for the purpose of this analogy let's say it's real). 1- I could say "Yes God, I believe".... and then post on UM about how I had a vision, and keep discussing and arguing this, but never actually stand up and do something about it. Or 2- I could get up, sell my computer for the ticket I need to Africa, find a Missionary organisation, tell them I'm ready to go on Mission, and then go.
The second of these is biblical faith. The first one is not. I can believe God all I want, but if I am not going to turn that belief into action, then it is not real faith. It is a fake faith. Non-biblical faith.