I loved your essay. It made me feel bad that I couldn't think of anything eloquent to say. However, I read through the other website with increasing sense of --- separateness from the world at large. It was a strange feeling.
For example, I am not used to discussing religion with atheists and "scientists." To put it plainly--I have had deep religious beliefs (religious as in faithful and church-going) since I can remember. To read Genesis and wonder if it is literal is far outside my normal thinking, and it has been SO LONG since I have talked with the "outside world" that it was weird to hear these concepts discussed in such foreign terms.
For example: the definition given by one reviewer of faith was: selective suspension of disbelief because religion is beneficial to us. Or separating "faithful" and "religious" into two separate categories. How is it possible that someone who is religious could then not be faithful? I guess if you meant the people who went to church strictly out of social pressure.
Also--and this pretty much demonstrates my personality in a glaring way--but most of the people involved in the discussion stated that faith is incredibly complex. Not so. Faith is the most simple and straightforward notion I can think of. You believe--or you do not.
My brain is too tired for this right now. I am just glad, Kami, that you wrote your lovely essay about religious belief because it encapsulated what Martel was trying to do. Sometimes, I think I need to get out more, but the absolute fact is that we perceive the world through our own lens and my lens is faith. I think Martel's book demonstrates how our own "lens" guides the interpretation of our own, and other people's, story. Reality is a lifeless and useless word.