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One great thing about magical thinking is you get to conflate anything with anything. Having done that with, oh, say, yourself and God -- the world, heaven itself, is your oyster.

First off, there's all that time saved. You just have to have strong feelings about something, and that makes you right. No knowledge necessary! And, importantly, everyone who disagrees with you, well, they're wrong. If it pleases you, you can engage in scriptural rants, scholastic debates, logical explications... whatever. You'll always win, and the other's soul is always in danger or lost. Or, if you don't have the time you can say "An Angel appeared and commanded me so!"

(Ever use that line? It comes in handy when you've just done something completely goofy, which your significant other is demanding you explain. Stops any discussion right there. But I digress.)

In short, associating yourself thisclose to the divine ... it's sort of like the thrill you get from name-dropping. "Hey, I was hanging out with Prime Minister Merkel and Chuck D. yesterday..." It's a way to gain credibility and prestige without actually doing anything of worth yourself. Social advantage, in short.

Not only that, if you can ferret out other people using the same spiritually lazy trick, you can form feed-back loops, clubs and ... well, the world is your oyster. You are the Band of the Best, right? Gotta duty to make sure things go right.

But there's a dark side to this magic. From what I can piece together, it goes like this:

Magical thinking is a natural phase following birth. This is the stage where we see ourselves as causative in the things happening around us. Those with a memory of their very first years will recall the times they thought their breathing made the birds in the tree chirp. Things like that.

At the tail end of that phase several challenges appear. You find that crying doesn't automatically get you what you want anymore. You find things happen whether you will them or not. Even unpleasant things. You don't get your own way all the time anymore, nobody coos.

Some people accommodate the new recognition of the world. They start to give up ineffective approaches, they suspend their judgement a bit, reign in their appetites in consideration of others, take general notice, get curious, and do those things called "maturing." They gain perspective; learn self-restraint.

But not everyone adjusts. There's a stubborn type who just wants what they want, when and how they want it. They never shift from the sense of "I am the creator." They will subdue their appetites, but not surrender them. They pick up that their unrestrained desires are a social disadvantage at some point in life, so come up with a way to disguise what they really want.

Which is to dominate everyone and everything. To have everything they desire. The cost to others is meaningless.

I suspect, at least in some, that they themselves suspect there's something off, something inferior about who they are becoming. Or later in life, have become. And a magical thinker, not wanting the hard work of growing up, jumps to the conclusion that if they can just associate themselves with what is clearly Exceptional, they too become Exceptional. And who is more Exceptional than God. And You.

It means you are free to consider everyone "not-you" to be, well, whatever happens to them, they deserve. Treat them well, treat them like shit, whatever you want. You can lie, cheat, steal, betray, even kill. And all these things that are signs of damnation in others, well, you've got that Exception-in-My-Case thing going for you. There's the Great Mission after all, and you have to expect someone will suffer for it.

There's what all that these name-dropping Christians are up to. An excuse to take anything they want from everyone else, and to treat everyone else as a convenience or as disposable.

Nothing else. This is the entire reason their "religiosity" exists. Why it's even mentioned. They don't care that they give God a bad name.

Not to say this kind of thing is restricted to Christianity. The same near-psyco bull goes on..., truthfully, wherever there are people who don't take the next step in growing up. Whatever religion or non-religion they say they are.

And it's a shame, because there's a goodly percentage of people who use religion as an anchor, as they do their daily self-examination of motives and behavior.

Anyway, I guess it could be said better, this explanation of the phony-Christian phenomena we suffer. Although this all used to be contained in a phrase common before the Media promoted Jerry Falwell as the voice of Christianity: Holier-Than-Thou.

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