There seems to be a belief that "faith" is the rejection of the world as it is; a retreat in to fantasy and wishful thinking. As Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, "Faith means not wanting to know what is true."
And as an "atheist," I can tell you this: I pray. I have faith. I believe in the cosmic consciousness. I live in gratitude. I am moved to tears by the beauty that is nature. I feel the intensity of great love.