Religion and magic are quite different. Religion is often viewed as a set of beliefs held by people based on moral values and faith in a god, goddess, or pantheon (group) of gods. Religion tends to provide comfort and reassurance for those who believe. Religion is generally practiced within the boundaries of cultural customs which helps keep it tied closely to society. Religion is often governed by an organized religion, church, or similar institution.
Religion is used to address problems of a spiritual nature having to do with the human condition. Magic on the other hand does not necessarily rely upon faith in a higher power for success. It is typically seen as a way of controlling outcomes through ritualized actions and words which often involves symbolism and witchcraft (the use and knowledge of various herbs and their uses towards magical purposes).
One can learn magic from others or even self-taught without any input from another person practicing magic because if there was one standard ‘group’ that people could identify themselves with in regards to learning magic it would be something such as: hermetic traditions (is a body of mystical teachings and philosophy containing ancient Egyptian and Greek elements. Hermeticism is concerned with the attainment of spiritual transformation through knowledge of God, nature, and the universe. ).
Even though there are different types of magic many modern practitioners prefer to maintain what some might think as ‘anonymous’ status because it allows for them to be more focused on their own individual needs instead of being part-of a group who might have one focus in mind versus another person’s personal desires. Religion tends to seek ways to help people with problems that involve human reasoning or emotions while magic typically relies upon ritualistic means or acts which are often times best-kept secret from others outside the practitioner/teacher/lodge.
Religion can be used by anyone but magic has traditionally been a secret practice. Religion is a social practice while magic has been a solitary experience for most practitioners, at least until the rise of organizations such as the Golden Dawn or Freemasonry where students study various disciplines of magic and mysticism under teachers who have knowledge both in formal religious teachings and magical ones.
Religion tends to be more organized whereas magic not so much, however some might say that what we call modern day ‘organized religion’ appears disorganized simply because there are different types of religions each with their own way of doing things which often times lead to one group not understanding another and they do not seek to understand another unless they themselves can somehow benefit from learning about that other type of religion. Religion is all inclusive in nature while magic is usually based upon an individual as well as the physical location where he or she is doing the magic.
Religion typically has rules that one must learn and follow while magic often times views any type of restriction to its practice as an impediment which results in a more fluid and free working environment. Religion focuses on people whereas magic tends to rely upon natural and/or non-human entities (spirits, gods, goddesses, elementals) for assistance. Religion may be used within society to help control certain outcomes based upon what leaders believe would be best but magic is used solely for individual purposes rather than group benefits such as religion promotes.
Religion seeks to enforce ways of thinking about problems facing people by trying to convince them through ritualized practices that this way of thinking is correct whereas magic is about freeing oneself from all types of restrictions to one’s own growth as a person. Religion has been influenced by magic throughout the course of history up until this present day which makes distinguishing between them quite difficult since religion tends to use aspects of magic as part of its set of beliefs and practices.
Religion promotes people being accountable for their actions whereas magic does not seek accountability from those who practice it although there are certain magical groups such as Freemasonry which might require members to promise not to reveal certain aspects about the group. Religion may be used in society (especially in politics) to help control outcomes through rituals and words (i. e. , praying over a meal before eating it, praying before bedtime, etc. whereas magic is often done independently without the need to involve others who are not part of the ritual itself. Religion is often times used as a way for people to organize themselves into groups which promote each other’s well-being whereas magic is only about doing things that might benefit one person or group without any regard for another unless it can somehow help them also.
Religion asks anyone who seeks its teachings to live according to certain guidelines (i. e. The Ten Commandments) whereas magic asks those who seek its knowledge and power to remain true to its teachings by not revealing secrets but rather keeping them secret unless they feel it would be beneficial for someone else to know what they themselves have learned, thus all magical teachings tend to be shared with only one’s own teachers (who may teach them certain things but not everything that they know) and no one else unless it is essential for another to understand or learn that particular teaching.
Religion tends to talk about an all-powerful God who controls the fate of those who follow Him whereas magic talks about individual empowerment which allows individuals to learn how to control certain aspects of their lives through their personal will (either with or without the assistance of natural entities such as gods, goddesses, nature spirits or elementals), thus religion tends promote a more top-down approach where magic likes to work more bottom up by empowering people first and then allowing them to learn how to tap into certain spiritual forces (such as the spiritual energy available in prayer) if they want help from on high.
Religion believes more in promoting social order through people having a shared belief whereas magic believes that freedom from unnecessary restrictions is the best way to promote individual growth. Religion tends to teach that there is only one true path leading to spiritual enlightenment whereas magic teaches that there are many different paths in life and everyone must choose for themselves which ones they wish to follow in their lives.
Religion asks people who use its practices and teachings to work within societal norms whereas magic asks practitioners of it not to concern themselves with such unimportant things as society when seeking knowledge since this will often times lead them down a much more dangerous path than if they just focused on what was important (i. e. , their own empowerment) instead of trying to convince others that their way of thinking correct by imposing certain aspects about religion onto society.
Religion is often age-old in its teachings whereas magic is often times constantly evolving with the passage of time thus requiring those who seek its path to follow what they feel is best for themselves instead of following something that someone else thinks might be right for them which can lead to problems when one person tries to impose their will upon another by making them think it’s the only correct way of thinking even though centuries ago, societies were much more open to having multiple ways of seeing life without becoming upset over differences in opinion concerning certain things.