"Superstition" or "magical thinking" is not the same as "religion", when both are properly understood.
Superstition is a kind of subset of religion, a belief in "magic"... a belief that special words or actions or objects can alter reality at the
behest of the magician.
It's possible to be "religious" without being superstitious, if you do what you do "religiously" because you have best inferences from evidence (BIFE or "logic-based reasons to believe") that your actions and the beliefs that motivate
them actually align with how the universe works... not that they change it, just that they align with it.
For example, people who exercise regularly (which is to say, "religiously") are not being superstitious about their exertions, altho they may have
superstitions about their specific ways of exercising, they're simply taking advantage of the fact that exercise makes you healthier, generally speaking. It's the way our bodies work.
Superstition plagues Christians and other believers, including atheists,
The old saw "There're no atheists in foxholes," is wrong; they're few, but they exist, and unless the Church begins to do a better job of witnessing the facts about the gospel and it's real account of the way the universe works, their numbers will
Sadly, I've been "in the hole" with people who would not abandon their arrogant belief in the supremacy of their own intellects under extreme stress or even at the point of death. They remained true to their atheistic beliefs - their faith in their
own understanding and their conclusion that "there is no god or gods," - until the end.
Actually, most people rely on their own beliefs and understandings, whatever they are, until the end.
However, some of us have been smacked in the face with
reality in such a way that we had to reexamine our beliefs and our superstitions, and end up not actually believing that the universe is either indifferent to us or centered on us, or that it is, irrationally and inexplicably, uncaused.
But, if that smacking
around is caused by proximate death, it's hard to think rationally and arrive at BIFE, I know, I been there, a few times, and recommend examining your beliefs under less extreme circumstances (like now, maybe?).
What is true is that there are no real
"unbelievers" in foxholes, or anywhere else, in any walk of life or circumstances.
Everybody believes in something -- whether it's their own ability to cope with life on life's terms thru intellectual understanding, science, and attitudinal adjustment
(a common superstition) or certain religious practices as a way of getting God or the universe to give us what we need or want, which is another common superstition.
Indeed, many people hold both those superstitious beliefs at the same time... people
are like that, yes we are.
Both beliefs - that of belief in ourselves or in something bigger than ourselves that we can and must manipulate - are "control issues" - which themselves begin in fear-based thinking.
Fear based thinking itself begins
in the belief that we are going to be denied something we want or need, or that we will be deprived of something we have.
Love based thinking, on the the other hand, includes love of truth that is greater than love of self.
So, love-based thinking
looks at the evidence presented by logic, science and the human experience, together, and concludes that best inferences from that evidence argue for objective definitions of good and evil, right and wrong, and that there is much that is beyond our understanding,
and thus, beyond our capacity to manipulate, "magically" or "scientifically" or otherwise.
That leaves us "out of control" and "powerless" to insure our wants and needs, good, bad or otherwise.
How then, should we live? (HT: Francis Schaeffer).
Does entropy increase?
On one scale yes, on another... maybe not... we don't know, for sure.
Are you going to physically die?
Is everyone you know and love going to physically die?
Is anything in this universe demonstrated to be eternal
and unchanging... other than change itself?
Best inference from available evidence says:
Yes, almost certainly, you're going to physically die, and everyone else, too, at some point or another; nothing in this universe has been demonstrated to be
eternal and unchanging, except change itself, which witnesses to the existence of a fundamental and external change "cause".
Unless the Lord of all, the ultimate and most fundamental change cause, returns and changes everything, as He has promised He
would, you will physically die.
In fact, that's almost the overarching definition of the universe we can see and comprehend: it is that which begins and ends, that which cycles and changes, that which is both both mundane and amazing, beautiful and ugly,
good and evil.
Nothing in it has been demonstrated to be without cause, altho our limited perceptions can be demonstrated to miss or misunderstand cause and effect (which is the origin of much superstition), so the BIFE, once again, is that the universe
or universes must also have a cause.
Aligning myself with the rules dictated by that probable reality and that cause, which I have "reason to believe" is the Triune God, is the intent and the extent of my religious practices, all else is superstition.
Judging from their effects, my "religious" exercises are helping me to understand this universe and it's known inhabitants better, and to rid myself of my superstitions and the fear that produces them.
If there's no magical words, such as "ahbrahcahdahbrah"
or "In Jesus' Name", and there's no magical techniques such as science or engineering, or even prayer, that can give me absolute power to change reality, then the only reasonable path to internal peace is to align with the cause of reality, the One with the
power to change that which It created, the One who may answer my prayers.
Jesus said, if you believe in Him, you're believing in the One Who sent Him, Who is the Beginning and the End of all things. (See John 12:44-48, and the rest of the gospels - they
agree), and that's not "magic", that's the way He that made all things and made them to work for the good of those who believe that, and Love Him for it (Romans 8:28).
You don't have to cross your fingers, or cross yourself, or learn the magic words,
or do the magic things to save yourself... In fact, you can't.
He's already done what needs to be done to save you, only just believe It, and accept Him.
That's the real "magic"... that's the reality of Love; the reality that is Him.
"Lord, I believe, help me in my unbelief".
Rid me of reliance on anything but my belief in you, and what YOU have done and are doing in my life. Help me to see, more clearly, the reality and wonder of your creation, and magnify the good and the
glory in it.
Help me to let go of my desire for any power over anything but obedience to your will for me and the power to carry that out, and make me transparent to YOUR power flowing through me and in me, that YOU may be Glorified above all things,
as the cause of all things, in all things.