Astrology: 
Signs for our Time?

In 1984 a survey was conducted in America in an attempt to determine the current level of interest in astrology. The results were staggering-it was estimated that approximately 60 million Americans read or depend on horoscopes on a daily basis. That’s about one-fourth of the entire population of the country! In another Gallup poll, it was estimated that approximately one-fifth of all adults in the United States believe in astrology and that 80% of adults can tell you their astrological sign.  

If you guessed that It must take a virtual army of astrologers to keep all these readers informed about their daily fates, you’re right. According to one recent estimate, over 10,000 people are employed full-time in astrology in the United States. When you add to that figure the estimated 200,000 part-timers employed in astrology, you begin to see that it truly is a big business. When one considers the yearly sales of over 1 million astrology magazines, as well as the sales of countless astrology-oriented t-shirts, jewelry, key chains and other paraphernalia, you begin to realize the magnitude of this enterprise. 

What is astrology? How do astrologers predict your future using the stars? Is astrology scientific, or is it based on ancient superstitions? Isn’t it all right for Christians to engage in this apparently harmless pastime? In this tract we will attempt to answer these and other questions. 

Astrology originated with the pagans of ancient Babylon more than 5,000 years ago. These people were polytheists, which means that they beloved in numerous gods” who they thought controlled the Eves and fortunes of men. Among the heavenly bodes visible in the night sky, the planets were thought to be five such gods: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were unknown to these people). Each of these planets was believed to be associated with some aspect of lit.. A well-known example would be the association of Venus with our love life.

These people also held a “geocentric” view of the universe--that is, the earth was thought to be the center of the universe and the sun, moon, planets and stars were believed to revolve around the earth. 

The Babylonians noticed that the planets moved around 12 groupings of stars (or “constellations”) while these constellations appeared to remain in stable positions. Since the planets were believed to be “gods”, this implied a great importance to these constellations. Moreover, since these “gods” were involved in governing the fates of men and nations, the interactions of the planets and constellations took on a personal importance for everyone. The Babylonians noticed that these constellations resembled animals (the word “zodiac” means “circle of animals”) or other shapes and named them accordingly: Aries the Ram, Taurus the Bull, Gemini the Twins, Cancer the Crab, Leo the Lion, Virgo the Virgin, Libra the Scales, Scorpio the Scorpion, Sagittarius the Archer, Capricorn the Goat, Aquarius the Water Bearer, and Pisces the Fish. 

Astrologers are concerned with the constellations that appear in the path (defined as a belt extending for 8 degrees on either side of the apparent path) of the sun as it "moves" across the sky. According to astrologers, a person’s character and attitudes are determined by the sign he or she is born under.  Dedicated astrologers will go to great pains to determine the exact time and geographical location of a persons birth. This is necessary because the exact positions of all the heavenly bodies in relation to each other are required for ones horoscope to be computed accurately.  The geographical location of ones birth needs to be known since the angles of the planets in relation to the earth are also necessary to compute the horoscope.

Astrology-Errors and Absurdities

Despite the (somewhat) scientific appearance of astrology, with its concern for planetary and solar movements, precision in determining the time and location of birth, etc., astrology is far from being a science.  Recently, a panel of 186 prominent scientists, including 18 Nobel Prize winners, spoke out against the “pretentious claims of astrological charlatans”, saying, among other things, that there is no scientific basis whatsoever for the belief that the stars foretell events and influence lives. [NOTE: Readers should be careful to distinguish between “astrology”, which is an occultic practice based on ancient pagan beliefs, and “astronomy”, which is a science concerned with the origin, composition, motion, size, position, etc. of stars, planets and other heavenly bodies.] 

Astrology suffers from a large number of logical and factual errors and absurdities which should lead any thinking person to reject it for the pagan superstition it is. We will examine only a few of these problems in this tract. Readers can probably come up with a number of other such problems on their own. 

1.  Geocentrism.  
Modern science has proven that the geocentric theory believed by the inventors of astrology is wrong-the universe doesn't revolve around the earth. Instead, the earth and planets revolve around the sun.  Since astrology is based on this refuted geocentric theory, its reliability is destroyed. 

2.  Unknown Planets.
Another major problem with astrology involves the fact that its originators were unaware of one-third of the planets In the solar system. Uranus. Neptune and Pluto were completely left out of astrological practice until recently (Pluto was just discovered in 1930). Remember, according to astrology, the positions of the planets influence both human behavior and other events. The failure to chart the 3 previously unknown planets (which should be exerting major effects on lives and events) Is further proof that astrology is scientifically bankrupt. 

3.  Precession.  
This refers to the sight shift in the angle of the earth's axis of rotation which has occurred in the centuries since the astrological charts were constructed.  As a result of this shift, each sign of the zodiac has been moved to the west approximately 30 degrees. What this means to the average astrology buff is simply this--his or her sign is actually one sign behind what he or she has always been told! 

4.  Polar Peculiarities.  
People born at certain times of the year north of the Arctic Circle are faced with a peculiar dilemma: they have no horoscope! This is because no planet of the zodiac is visible there for several weeks of the year. Also, the sun does not shine there for weeks on end, which would prevent astrological influences from affecting the lives of these people during this time.

5.  Twins.  Another source of embarrassment for astrologers is the birth of twins. Since they are born at the same time and place they should have the same destiny. This is obviously not the case and in fact, many twins turn out very different from one another and lead totally different lives. Also, what does astrology do with the case where one of the twins dies shortly after birth, but the other lives a long life? 

6.  Birth versus Conception.  
Life is a developmental process that begins at conception, at which time a person's genetic make-up is completely determined. It would logically follow that the planets should begin to influence ones destiny immediately after conception, not birth. This fact alone puts astrological charts off by about 9 months. 

7.  Grouped Horoscopes.  
The horoscopes which appear in daily newspapers do not take into account the different birth locations of people and are, therefore, inaccurate. Yet these are the very horoscopes most people consult.  

8.  Inaccuracies and Generalities.  
Horoscopes are notorious for their mistakes and inaccuracies. Anyone can verify this by simply reading two horoscopes for the same sign and same day written by two different astrologers. Often they will advise contradictory or even mutually exclusive actions (for example, one horoscope might tell you to go out and take chances today while another horoscope will tell you to stay home and play it safe). The characteristics attributed to each sign also appear to be totally arbitrary and will differ from astrologer to astrologer.  Horoscopes are also famous for their use of general statements which could describe or apply to almost anybody (e.g. “Life is often a struggle for you”). 

No discussion of the inaccuracies of astrology would be complete without discussing Jeanne Dixon, one of the most notable people connected with astrology today. Despite a number of well-publicized accurate predictions she has made, we cannot ignore the larger number of incorrect predictions which have been made by Mrs. Dixon. Among her false predictions: the overthrow of Castro in Cuba, that World War III would begin in 1954 and the Vietnam war would end in 1966. One of her most memorable false predictions occurred on Oct. 19, 1968, when she predicted that Jacqueline Kennedy was not thinking of marriage. The very next day, Mrs. Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis.

A Biblical View of Astrology

Astrology is clearly condemned in the Bible. In Deut. 4:19 we read: "And beware, lest you lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them..." The Lord clearly prohibited His people from participation in any occultic practices, including astrology, in Deut. 18. In Jeremiah 10:2 the Lord says. “Do not learn the way of the nations, and do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens, although the nations are terrified by them.” In particular, we are not to be afraid of those who, like Mrs. Dixon, prophecy in a false manner: “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him” (Deut 1822).

The basic idea of astrology is a direct affront to the Holy Spirit, since it teaches that our lives are to be guided and controlled by the stars. The Bible, on the other hand, says the Lord guides us (Psalm 37:23) through the Holy Spirit (John 16:13). 

Finally, those who would “dabble” in astrology, thinking it is harmless should remember the Lord’s admonition to His people concerning adopting pagan practices: “You shall be blameless before the Lord your God” (Deut. 18:13).

References:

1.  Larson, B. Larsons Book of Cults. Tyndale
Pub. Co., Wheaton, III, 1985, pp. 254-260.
2.  Weldon, J. and Wilson, C. Psychick ForcesGlobal,
Chattanooga, Tn,1987, pp. 111-128.

 

 


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