Thanks to Lesley, and indirectly to The MadPriest, for a pointer to this Irish Times article, in which Canon Ginnie Kennerley puts magical thinking in its place, as eloquently and effectively as any atheist could:
"...is a demonstration of “magical thinking” at its most primitive, akin to ritual rain-making ceremonies and tribal rituals designed to control the uncontrollable" - Yes, even Christians are atheistic when it comes to some beliefs.
"While many of us occasionally indulge in magical thinking in small ways, if applied to serious issues it can become a major cause of injustice and handicap to general well-being."
"As I understand it, magical thinking relies on perceived (but un-confirmable) causal links between desired events and the phenomena that appear normally to accompany or precede them."
"It assumes that, by ensuring that there is no change in the supposed link of cause and effect, we can ensure the desired result every time – in effect, we imagine we can control the action of God."
"Those who fall prey to this style of magical thinking in the 21st century may deserve our sympathy and even a degree of respect, given that a high level of anxiety and desire for control, of which they may not be aware, is probably at the root of the matter."
I've a sneaky feeling Canon Ginnie Kennerley nodded off while reading some New Atheist book, and awoke thinking she'd been taking notes for something else entirely. I hope she doesn't mind if I keep these words in mind when I next argue with a theist.