So I'm an 18 year old girl who became an atheist about 2 years ago (I used to be a pantheist), and I've noticed again and again that upon being incapable of defending their religious beliefs or of providing a good enough reply to my arguments, many people resort to the fact that we have a tendency towards faith and superstition, and this tendency gets magnified in times of extreme crisis.
Here's an example: My father is a radiologist, and otherwise a fiercely rational person. Upon my relentlessly questioning his religious beliefs, he told me about his best friend, who never believed in homeopathy or any other form of 'alternative' medicine. After discovering a cancer in his mouth, this friend began, in extreme desperation, to go to a homeopathic doctor for treatment and taking some unknown Tibetan medicine.
My dad commented,"It is easy to criticise faith in good times." I disagree with him that reasoning can fail entirely during periods of grief, but I understand where he's coming from. Logic often gets disregarded during crisis and private feeling/ instinct gets put on pedestal. When you're drowning, you are bound to grab hold of any twig that floats your way knowing fully well that this twig isn't going to improve your chances of survival.
So here's my question, or rather, questions: Do times of crisis really make you more likely to be religious/ superstitious? Does personal experience with grief or misery or death make you less hard-nosed and more 'spiritual'? Is there anybody here who has had similar arguments thrown at them? How would you have responded to my father, or anyone with a similar belief?
Thank you so much for your time.