Astrology—Is It Harmless Fun?
RECENTLY, British astronomer Patrick Moore said: “It is quite ridiculous to think that lives and destinies are controlled by stars . . . [Astrology] is all pretty harmless stuff, but as any kind of science it is quite baseless.”
Looking at matters from a purely practical viewpoint, however, one is forced to conclude that astrology is anything but harmless.
‘Blame It on the Stars!’
One of the most obvious dangers is the fact that astrology discourages people from taking responsibility for their actions. Take marriage, for example. Stated one South African astrologer regarding couples with incompatible horoscopes: “I have told several people their marriage has no chance, that they should get divorced.”
But consider: Is it reasonable to end a marriage because stars and planets are badly matched? Would it not be better for couples having problems to take responsibility for their actions and seek help? The Bible contains much practical advice for solving marriage problems. (See, for example, Ephesians 5:22-25.) And many who have applied it have found it to be just the right help and have saved their marriages. This is surely better than blaming one’s problems on the stars!
And what about the numerous mistakes that we make in life? Is it healthy to turn to astrology for justification? Some years ago, a man from Miami, Florida, (U.S.A.) was charged with robbery, rape, and assault. His defense? He rounded up three astrologers who claimed he could not cope because of “disharmonious alignment of the planets.” Following this sort of reasoning could only harden one in a course of wrongdoing.
Also, think if responsible people, such as national leaders, begin looking to the stars for guidance. In the book Human Destiny—The Psychology of Astrology, Gwyn Turner gives this chilling reminder: “Kings and Rulers of the past always had their Astrologers by their side and even as late as the second world war a Hungarian Astrologer, Louis de Wohl, was quietly employed by the British War Office.” He provided the British with predictions of success of certain officers and victories in certain battles. He was also able to tell the British War Office what advice Hitler was getting from his astrologers according to his horoscope. Some even claim that a number of politicians today look to the stars for guidance.
Does it seem harmless to you that life-and-death decisions may hinge on the position of the planets?
Behind the Power of Prediction
At times astrological predictions do come true. But is it really because of reading the stars? A few years back, the late psychologist Vernon Clark tested the abilities of some astrologers. He gave them ten case histories and asked the astrologers to match each with one of a pair of horoscopes. The astrologers were remarkably successful! Three astrologers were even able to match all of them correctly!
American astrologer Dal Lee got seven out of ten right. But what accounted for his success? Apparently more than reading the stars was involved. “It should have taken an astrologist at least half an hour to evaluate each theme, that is to say, ten hours in all,” Lee reportedly said. Yet, because he was busy at the time, Lee “only gave a minute to each theme.” Admittedly, then, his success was not “purely astrological.” Confessed Lee: “I believe rather that it was a case of ‘extra-sensory perception.’”
Interestingly, a number of astrologers have similarly admitted to using what amounts to occult power. This is of concern to people interested in pleasing God. For at Isaiah 1:13, God pointedly says: “I cannot put up with the use of uncanny power.” Why? The Bible shows that people manifesting predictive powers are often under the control or influence of demonic spirit forces. (Compare Acts 16:16-18.) Astrological predictions may therefore at times be nothing less than the utterances of demons—avowed enemies of God and of the people who serve him! Only harm could come to anyone who seeks demonic guidance!
Some, though, claim that their interest in astrology is only casual. Yet what often starts off as a casual interest can develop into something akin to religious devotion. One scientist who signed the aforementioned declaration against astrology said: “To some, astrology is doubtless a kind of escape . . . To others, astrology has become a divine revelation, a pure truth—that is, a genuine religion.” Authorities say there is a tendency for some to allow horoscope predictions to become self-fulfilling prophecies. When astrology controls a person this much, it has indeed become like a religion.
Astrology actually did become an official part of the religion of ancient Babylon. But did this religion work to her benefit? On the contrary, the Bible contains this pronouncement against ancient Babylon: “You have grown weary with the multitude of your counselors. Let them stand up, now, and save you, the worshipers of the heavens, the astrologers, those giving out knowledge at the new moons concerning the things that will come upon you.” (Isaiah 47:13, Ref. Bi., footnote) The predictions of Babylon’s astrologers were unable to save the city from falling into permanent ruin.—Isaiah 13:19, 20.
Interestingly, though, Babylon’s religious influence survived her. “From Babylonia,” states the book A History of Astrology, “the Chaldeans carried astrology into Egypt, and more importantly into Greece.”
Following the religion of astrology is thus dangerous. Why? Because according to the Bible, all religions that are based on Babylonian beliefs are scheduled for destruction. Indeed, ancient Babylon’s fall points to this future devastation. At Revelation 18:4, we are warned: “Get out of her [Babylonish organization], my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.”
Astrology can thus hardly be termed ‘harmless fun.’ (Compare Deuteronomy 18:10-12.) Following it could be the first step to falling under dangerous, demonic influences and losing one’s friendship with God! (2 Corinthians 6:17, 18) True, all of us need guidance. But how much safer and better it is to turn to the Bible for guidance! (Psalm 119:105) Those who heed God’s Word gain practical help in coping with life’s problems, something astrology fails to give.
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Stated one South African astrologer: “I have told several people their marriage has no chance, that they should get divorced”
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Ancient Babylon’s reliance on astrology did not prevent her ruin