Not trying to start shit, I'm genuinely curious as to how someone could possibly believe in this.(I'm picking out Christians specifically because of its popularity in North America)
I can start with my reasoning for what I believe.
I believe in evolution simply because it makes sense to me, I'd drop it instantly if another theory made more sense. Just looking at how different things adapt to different conditions is proof enough for me, how come an animal in one country has different teeth then the same animal in another country? Simple, it's evolved into a more effective form for its environment.
As far as religion goes, people believe in it for a few reasons as far as I can tell.
1. They've been told
When your parents and other people in your community tell you something is true your whole life, you WILL believe it. Humans are social creatures, we're wired to stick with the pack and do things the way others do. If everyone around me had said that Jack and the Beanstock was a real story my entire life, I would probably believe it.
2. They want to find it
These people are "seekers". You know the type, those that have a need to know answers. The problem here, is that if you WANT to find something, you will. Go watch T.V, and purposely look for something, racism perhaps. You'll find a LOT, because in the act of searching for something, your mind will alter your perception and you WILL find it.
This wouldn't bother me so much if the reason for belief wasn't built on constant threats. Children being show images of the devil ripping people's hearts out, the constant guilt of every sin supposedly adding to the weight Jesus carries. Everything about it is not only evil in method, but corrupt and contradictory.
The way it's set up is a win win for "god". When someone has something terrible happen in their life, they'd think "why would god allow this to happen?" and faith wavers quite quickly. In jumps the answer: " It's all in god's plan".
It's like having someone tell you to give them 1000 dollars, and in just a few days, you'll receive a million! These answers are the type that a con artist uses to take advantage of gullible people, if that's the best an all knowing, almighty god can do, I'm seriously disappointed.
As far as answering prayers, well there's 3 answers: Yes, No, and Wait. Pray to win money, if you do, god did it, if you don't, god didn't want you to, and WAIT is the truly devious one. If you believe in something granting free wishes, you'd eventually get tired of always being told no (again, a faith breaker). The wait option is yet another faith keeper, in this way, no is almost never an answer, because you're told god may answer your prayer SOMEDAY.
If we're made in god's image, god must be an egotistical asshole as well.
In case you haven't guessed, I actually bothered to post this because of all of the shit evolution has been getting by the religious idiots lately(Christine O'Donnell, Glenn Beck etc). It blows my mind that they can accuse evolution of having no proof (when in fact it does) when their own beliefs exist purely because they've been told god exists, and have no other backing at all.
So I'm curious, why do you believe what you believe?