In addressing your last paragraph:
There is nothing (at this point in time) apart from my emotions the leads me to decide the reality of transubstantiation, though I am familiar with the concept's origins (Aristotle's concepts of "substance"). It's my view that it's really all about emotions in that faith itself is composed of emotions since, after all, even the Church will admit there's no scientific proof of transubstantiation, or even God, otherwise, apologetics regardless. There are those who confuse what I term "emotions" from what they term "truth" or what others perceive as their stating "facts", "reality", etc. As a result of the lack of scientific proof buttressing this, it's a matter of how well certain needs fit in with the "truths" of what is stated. Call it delusion, if you will, but to a believer it's as real as the air we breath.
In Catholic/Christian praying one is supposed to be communicating with the creator. I say it doesn't matter if it's true or not since, if one believes it's true, it is, for them, and they will feel the truth of their belief(s) just as anyone else does. Like I may have stated, if enough people believe a chair is a table, it becomes so...for them. So, if I choose to really believe that Communion, among many things, means that the wafer becomes Jesus once sanctified, it does for me...not for science, not for non-believers, not objectively in that it isn't measured to have the characteristics of flesh (though, incredibly, there are articles written by those believers who state otherwise!) but because I choose to truly believe what believers do, because it ties in with a history of those that follow these beliefs, because it allows for the psychological realities that answer some kinds of existential angst.
Perhaps I will be able, in the future, to engage in sufficient prayer (a la self hypnosis) to come all the way to fully believe it (the Church calls this conscience formation as well as faith) and, if I do, the feelings that I value in this regard will magnify, as you may imagine.
Depending on one's definition of salvation, from one extreme to another, I don't see it as necessarily a bad thing, for me. When "they" say we are born with original sin, they usually refer to the sins of the flesh, those types of sins that keep people away from God, or perfection. Let's face it, no one is perfect and it's those imperfections, well defined in the catechism and alluded to in the 10 Commandments and the Beatitudes that wouldn't hurt anyone to be at least be conscious of. Yea, I know, some of them seem silly, pointless or even against nature, but when one learns about the reasoning behind their definitions as sins, one may tend to agree, or at least understand the points made in that regard. As far as salvation goes, though, no one can ever know if one is saved except God, at least that's what the rule book (Bible) seems to say many times.
At this state of my conversion I find it quite difficult to fully embrace the idea of heaven but I'm working on it as I want to feel that it's totally real because, for me, doing so will give more focus on my motivations, etc.
Religion – it has given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.