Is magic not basically the same thing as praying (albeit with ceremonies)?
No, it's not. As explained in The Satanic Bible, praying is an apprehensive
act. Prayer is based on the idea of oneself being inferior to a supernatural, external being, then asking this being for help, so long as it's still in accordance with his/her/its will. Compare that to the book's explicit definition of magic.
Do CoS members generally believe that magic works to help you achieve your goals?
Yes. Though as for what the verb "works" really means in this context, is a whole other discussion.
If not, is this because the CoSís views of magic has changed since LaVey wrote the Satanic Bible?
This is really the only thing I have heard in the Satanic philosophy that truly confuses me.
In my experience, this typically happens with people approaching Satanism from a "militant atheist" type of background. Usually they've been conditioned to only seeing ritual serve one purpose, and have a hard time putting themselves in the controlled yet subjective mindset that allows for its use. I'd recommend re-reading the Book of Belial.
Reverend Bill M.http://www.devilsmischief.com
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