Faith is conviction towards action upon incomplete knowledge. Therefore, faith is an emotion, a passion, siphoned toward some active end that would seemingly require knowledge, but where full knowledge is unavailable. This directing of passion, according to a hope, is not solely religious, but it is always intellectual.
I watch the squirrels jump in the poplars outside my parents home, (where I am still welcome, thank you Lord), and they jump sensing that they will land. It is not a perfect sense - sometimes they miss and scrabble down the bark a bit (I've never seen one completely fall) - but most of the time they have perfect precision and grace; their senses of space come upon them and they act perfectly. But this is not a faith they have in their actions. It is sensation and reaction.
They do not hope that tomorrow they will be able to make the jump. Tomorrow comes and they sense the space and they make it or they don't, depending upon their bodies ability to correctly sense and react. As they age, I assume they stop being able to correctly sense and react. My assumption is largely based on my experience with other animals, one dog in particular, named Major, who is pratically dead, lanky, skeleton white, with black eyes smearing down to his nose. He huffs about in circles with confusion hanging in his face, bumping into end tables.
Humans deal in sensation and reaction as well - we become hungry, and we eat. We see a obstacle and we move. We sense pain, and we distract, avoid, cover over in words. We feel good in a moment of happiness, and we laugh.
Faith begins with intellect, and not sensation. I say "begins", because I grant to all human beings an equal sensation of the world - a sensation of self, though perhaps without cognizance, a sensation of world, and the divine nature inherent in the world - all not necessarily with awareness (because many die before awareness of the world is achieved through language). I use "divine nature" based on english translations of Romans chapter 1, but could also say "otherness" or "supernatural qualities".
From these sensations, we begin the examination. For this examination and interior rearticulation, we must use our intellect. Metaphysical reality is an intrinsic assumption of this act.
Faith is born from this intellectualization of the world, and intuitive thoeries drawn where complete knowledge is not had. A aesthetic incarnation should be favored in evidence.
Um, I've got to go to work.