There are some confusion about belief/faith or religious elements in Buddhism. Not sure how to answer this exactly. If there is any belief/faith in Buddhism, it is a belief in yourself (as having the same equal Buddha nature as any other person) and belief in the present. I don’t know how you can call them believes. If you still have belief how can you be really present and be yourself? So the faith element is only a tool for you to truly experience yourself and the present. The real experience inevitably leads to dissolve of believes. If you have really experienced it, you don’t need the belief anymore. Just like if you have eaten the apple, you don’t need to believe the apple should taste like something anymore.
I said below before. Here just repeat it.
Buddhism is not religion. Buddhism just teaches you about mind and yourself. You need to study Buddhism only because you have illusion and you suffer from that illusion. If you don’t have illusion, you don’t need to study Buddhism.
When Buddha saw people die, he felt there was something fundamentally wrong with his whole system of concepts. Thus he started his very hard practice to resolve that conflict. When he sat under the tree and saw the rising morning star, he waked up to his true self.
Buddha taught many ways of practice for various kinds of people. Some people are more faith/religion based. So some branches of Buddhism are more religion based. Some people are more intellect, so there are more knowledge based branches. They are just different methods employed. If you can just put it down, you don’t need any of them. They are just head added over head.