Let me explain.
Faith is one of those words that is habitually used in ways somewhat different to the definition in the dictionary. The OED has it thus:
1. Complete trust or confidence. 2. Firm belief, esp. without logical proof.The dictionary sensibly doesn't opine as to whether one should believe or not, whether faith is reasonable, but in the common parlance faith has come to mean religion. Faith is no longer something one possesses as a quality, but something one picks up and wields as a weapon. To have faith is a declaration of intent, a banging of cutlass against shield.
What about hope, then? Is this any closer to what faith used to mean?
1. Expectation and desire combined, e.g. for a certain thing to occur. 2. A person, thing or circumstance that gives cause for hope.I love that the second definition of hope is something that gives cause for hope - circular reasoning is rare in the OED, if perhaps inevitable sooner or later. But it makes for a convenient definition of faith, I suppose: faith is something that gives hope.
When it comes down to it, I suppose some people are allergic to hope. Hope is something that requires either evidence (in which case it's not really hope, but expectation) or faith (which has nothing to go on) - most people just can't get their heads around this, especially if they don't believe in an all-knowing, all-loving beneficent God. Hope requires a sudden gap in sense, and that's a hard thing to sustain if you don't have a handy deity to cram in there.
People tend to conflate positive thinking with hope, and I think these are separate. Positive thinking is identified as an action in and of itself: the myth of it is that simply thinking happy thoughts will make happy things happen - hope has no such guarantees, no promises, no rules. The whole point of hope is that it may lead to nothing, and there will be nobody to complain to at the end.
Hope, then, like faith, is a choice, much like trust. You can choose to trust someone, choose to have faith in them, choose to hope everything will come out right in the end... but the choice is yours, and the consequences if you choose wrongly yours to bear alone.