Hi Dan -
Very well written points, and I do understand some of what you are saying, ie the doctor who eats badly even though they know what to do about their health. And also about people manifesting faith by changing some of their behaviors, but not all. So maybe its just where I am at this point in life, but I've seen so much suffering and cruelty around me - especially during my visits to other countries where people are not so privileged - that I feel disconnected from this world already.
However I stay connected somewhat because I don't know if there is any place after this life that will involve less suffering (ie a Heaven type plane), so I figure I might as well try to be productive and positive where I am now, even amongst so much misery. (BTW, its not MY life that's so miserable, its the people and situations and news I see around me that makes me quite sad and hopeless at times for this world).
If I knew there was a place with no suffering, I'd be doing everything I could to get myself and others there. I'd renounce everything, pray, chant on one leg, throw milk onto Godlike statues, do whatever it takes to ensure myself a place in "heaven". So I guess that's where I'm coming from - but I'm a jaded 50 year old, and I didn't feel that way in my 20s or even 30s. Maybe others just don't have a strong desire to escape the world like I do, that's why they are happy to believe there is better, but also want to enjoy the current life / avatar.
Also a note: I have no desire to remain "eternal" and live on. That's not why I would "kiss up" to the cosmos if I knew there was an afterlife. I'd be perfectly okay not being born again. I just want to get to a state of no suffering, either in my life, or in those I see around me. If that involves not being born again, I'm all for that.
Apologies for the pessimistic tone I took here, but that was my underlying thinking when I wrote about my confusion regarding "closet agnostics", ie theists who believe there is a God and Heaven yet don't seem to be doing all they can to get there.