Transubstantiation, the miracle of ritual

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Despite being a long-time atheist, I have been consistently drawn back into contemplation of the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence, also known as  ‘transubstantiation’.

Depending on your point of view, this is a consistently reproducible miracle or “just” an amazing hypnotic effect of religious theater. In either case, it’s a phenomenon worth meditating. 

What is the algorithm for powerful ritual?

What was adaptive about ritual? How can that powerful aspect of human psychology be canalized into good and away from evil?  Or is it too dangerous to touch, like the capability for “berserk”/”amok”?  For example, the Nazis tried to harness the power of ritual to poison, pollute and pervert.

I’m sure none of these are new questions, where are good sources to study?

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