The primitive mind likes to see associations where none actually exists. Sew up a lock of hair or a toenail clipping in a rag doll and voila, you have a Voodoo doll magically ‘linked’ to its victim. Then, the ‘theory’ goes; whatever you do to the doll also happens to the real person in the real world.
Some believe that names have a similar power, that is, if you know the ‘true name’ of a person or thing, you can exert control over it. This may seem nonsensical, but it manifests in the beliefs of an awful lot of otherwise intelligent people who refuse to write “God” but rather substitute “g_d” even on the internet.
Some of our more ancient ancestors invoked a form of sympathetic magic of their own. Hidden caves and secluded rocky hillsides have been found with images critical to survival for our primitive forbearers, often beautiful, haunting scenes of the hunt and of great beasts as mystic targets. The idea being, in the mind of the Shaman that the image of a thing created on ‘holy ground’ could affect the real thing. We take our food gathering for granted, after all, just pop down to the local Piggly Wiggly and grab a steak or two for the barbeque. But our ancestors, armed with sharpened sticks had to contend with first finding the elusive creatures, skillfully creeping up close enough to get off a shot, and then hopefully, MAYBE, getting in a fatal hit. Failure could mean starvation and death. The pictures on the cave walls were IMPORTANT in their way of thinking.
This is all interesting from an anthropological point of view, but it doesn’t mean a lot in the modern world, does it?
Consider, all those people sitting in the polished pews of the modern holy cave, with its stained glass windows and its images of the ultimate in sympathetic magic, the human sacrifice hanging on a roman cross. They sit there and mutter a sequence of words addressed to a transcendent yet immanent being to perhaps affect a real world effect, let’s say, heal Aunt Betsy of her disease. This ritual includes the elements of primitive thought, the holy place, sacred images and calling on a special name while using the name of the person to be affected. Whether muttered aloud, or thought really, really hard…it’s all the same.
Call it what you will, religion, faith, prayer…
I call it what it is, Magic.
Christianity: A disgusting middle eastern blood cult, based in human sacrifice, with sacraments of cannibalism and vampirism, whose highest icon is of a near naked man hanging in torment from a device of torture.