Magic is saying "Abracadabra" and pulling the rabbit out of the hat, is stepping on a crack to break your mother's back, is a dashboard Jesus to prevent smashups. Magic is going to church so you will get to heaven. Magic is using mouthwash so everybody will love you. Magic is the technique of controlling unseen powers and will always work if you do it by the book. Magic is manipulation and says, "My will be done." Religion is propitiation and says, "Thy will be done."

Religion is praying, and maybe the prayer will be answered and maybe it won't, at least not the way you want or when you want and maybe not at all. Even if you do it by the book, religion doesn't always work, as Jesus pointed out in one of his more somber utterances when he said, "Not everyone who says, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 7:21), the corollary to which would appear to be, "Not everyone who wouldn't be caught dead saying, 'Lord, Lord,' shall be blackballed from the kingdom of heaven." He softened the blow somewhat then by adding that theway to enter the kingdom of heaven is to do the will of his Father in heaven; but when religion claims that it's always sure what that will is, it's only bluffing. Magic is always sure.

If security's what you're after, try magic. If adventure is what you're after, try religion. The line between them is notoriously fuzzy.

~originally published in Wishful Thinking and later in Beyond Words

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