I find it very interesting that “extrascientific explanations” can be so interwoven ad/or coexistent with official religion. As a practicing Jewish person, I am very familiar with numerology and its prevalence in Judaism. I learned when I was very young that the number 18 somehow spelled out the Hebrew word for “life”, and haven’t questioned the correlation or logic since. Although I was aware of the concept of numerology, I never thought of it as a stand alone belief system. I just assumed it was an exclusively Jewish concept, and one that did not fall anywhere near in the same category as UFOs or witchcraft.
Another practice I never considered comparable to religion is astrology. I have been around astrology my entire life, but I have never really delved in too deeply. However, I have always known that I am a Scorpio, and the related basic traits. I have observed that this is a commonality among most people in modern society– astrology is acknowledged as existent, but not necessarily believed in. I found it fascinating that McGuire felt the need to say that astrology can exist alongside official religion, because I never thought of the two as conflicting. I have several people in my life who subscribe wholeheartedly to astrology, and also express belief in G-d. Now that I think about it further, it does offer explanations for goings on in everyday life and personal tendencies that might otherwise be justified by religion.