A comment here from Stephen argues that "At the beginning of every mythology, every cult, every religion in history, is a con-artist who figured out how to sell a racket so that he could get rich while doing "god's work.'" [Full Text below] I think this can be shown with regard to L. Ron Hubbard and the rise of Scientology, as well with Joseph Smith and the rise of Mormonism. In my book WIBA, I argued that the empty tomb story probably started with the Gospel of Mark, who was a liar for Jesus. Don't think so? Think again. In fact, liars for Jesus abound.
No, it's not god who wants you to step out in faith, and it's not god who is pleased when you do. It's somebody else.
It's con artists who want you to step out in faith. It is always con artists who want you to suspend your "god-given" ability to think critically, refrain from noticing that various claims might or might not make any sense, or assess the likelihood of various statements to be true or not. These con artists might be sincere, simply because they're not the one in-the-know up in the penthouse suite of the church palace. But at the beginning of every mythology, every cult, every religion in history, is a con artist who figured out how to sell a racket so that he could get rich while doing "god's work."
And that's the problem with religious faith. It's indistinguishable from a con. That is not an accident! If there really were a god of integrity who had your best interests in mind, he would provide better evidence for his existence and power than that provided by every con artist in history. He wouldn't couch his "truth" in the world so that it blended in with the background clutter of every liar in history.
There was a time when I "believed" that there was a reality to religion. But I ceased to "believe" because of the lack of effects, effects which were promised, but failed to materialize. This has never been the case for gravity. Gravity has always pulled me down, and never once has it let me down. God on the other hand, has let me down. If god were as reliable as gravity, I'd still be religious. LINK.