Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Astrology

A little snipet of conversation with my Dad, which based on a couple of comments from a member of the Edgardo cast about astrology, have caused me to think a little more in depth about it. I'm kind of an open-minded person - I think there are a lot of strange, unaccountable things that people believe and really might have some grain of truth in them. My dad, of course indicated that astrology is a bunch of bunk, and I commented that I thought perhaps there might be something to it, though I'm not sure how much. So here are a few of my thoughts on it, though I haven't taken a lot of time to reason it out or do any real research.

I'll start with biblical authority, since I happen to have a degree in biblical studies and I still believe a lot of that stuff is very important. No, my degree in biblical studies did not go in depth on the topic of astrology. But there are certain places mentioned in the Hebrew scriptures in which "divination" is forbidden. I have heard before of people linking this idea to astrology. It is basically saying that astrology is a form of divination, consulting the stars for guidance and truth. Most of those passages refer to mediums and spiritists, consulting the dead. So I dont' think it is talking about astrology. If it is, then I do not really understand why. If it's a complete load of bunk, a bunch of meaningless chatter from idiots who are obsessed with the alignment of the stars for no reason whatever, then who cares that much if someone dabbles in it? It hardly warrants that kind of sanction. It would be more something parents would tell their children: don't pay any attention to that load of crap, it's all hogwash. But what would cause the parent to say: Don't you ever, ever get caught up in any of that astrology crap, you hear me? To me that sounds like it might be dangerous. What's dangerous about people imagining that the stars might mean something? I mean the worst that can happen is that someone will think the end of the world is coming and decide to stop working. But people do that for many reasons, some of which are not half bad. Anyway, that's all to say that if astrology is included in those scriptures, which I in some small way doubt, then I have no idea why, though frankly I'm not completely sure why people shouldn't consult the dead, except I know there is some really freaky stuff there.

Next on the biblical issues: the wise men. There's a little-known story, I know not many people have heard of it, about a little baby being born to a man and woman named Joseph and Mary. And at his birth, over his little manger bed, a star appeared in the heavens. Lo and behold, the Messiah is born, and a star appears in the sky. Bear with me if you've heard this one before, but I'm thinking most of you haven't. This is not just some random star that made someone go, huh, I think the sky is brighter tonight. Apparently some "magi" in the east saw the star and decided it was really really important and they wanted to follow it. In fact, presumably because of their astrology, they knew that it was a very significant star and it was a portent for the birth of a great child, so they brought gifts, very expensive gifts, and when they came they told Herod that they wanted to worship the child. Now I'm sure the response from the anti-astrology crusader would be that the birth of Christ was so important that it reached into areas of life in which God was not previously a part. In other words, astrology really doesn't mean anything, but because God wanted to reach those who practiced astrology, he sent them a sign that did mean something so that they would come and worship him. A good argument, I suppose, if you need a justification. I don't know why God couldn't have spoken to them in dreams, like he did everyone else, instead of validating their "faulty" practices with his involvment, but whatever. Biblically speaking, the star is never attributed to God's actions. And of course, I know that God's actions must be involved, but let's not banty words.

I've known several God-fearing people, who actually put a lot of stock in astrology, and though they are a little weird, I do not have enough knowledge to dispute their claims, nor do I have any desire to do so. I find it interesting in a world filled with so much mystery and created with so much enigma, that we are so scared of believing in the mysterious and strange. Those who adore and worship God should be especially attuned to the mystery and wonder of the world, and yet we seem to be the most fearful. I am not saying we become slavering idiots who believe every little thing they are told. Did I say that anywhere? Anyway, just some thoughts. I'm interested to hear what other people know or believe about this stuff.

7 comments:

Brother James said...

See, this here's the point that I wanted to bring up at the sermon, but it was too disorganized. Interesting that, of all the people who were made aware of the birth of Christ, the first were stinky shepherds and (presumably) Babylonians. Like, it was written somewhere in easter astrology that one day there'd be this big friggin star which would signify the birth and location of a great king. These are probably not people who are well-versed in biblical literature (especially since there's no Old Testament prophecy involving a star). God revealed himself in a way that made sense to them.

That being said, I think the problem with astrology is that it is often linked with polytheism and the worship of the stars themselves or things that they signify. I have not personally encountered any astrologists who relate their practice to Christian worship. Still, an interesting couple of points you raise here, Jake. I guess it's really similar to the problems people have with the Catholicism and Orthodoxy's preoccupation with images of Jesus and the saints. For some they are useful tools of worship, while to others they are nothing but idolatry.

kati said...

ooo-ooo-ooo! I love this topic! I rarely hear of a christian being open-minded about it, so I can't wait to hear more of your thoughts about this... or maybe we'll talk about it sometime. In the meantime, check this out: http://www.heavendwellers.com/stars_chapter_one.htm and I'll bring you the book sometime soon. Anyways, from what I've read about astrology (and this was awhile ago), there is really something to it. While I don't believe that a daily horoscope is worth the paper it's printed on, I do believe that our birth charts can be helpful in knowing more about ourselves and our tendancies and inclinations. I don't believe we are bound by them, but I believe they can be used to gain wisdom. Also, regarding The Witness Of The Stars vs. birth charts: I believe that it is completely consistent with God's character to use the same stars to tell the Human (Redemptive) Story and an individual's story. I'll leave you with that for now, and hopefully talk to you more about it sometime soon...

Anonymous said...

Erik was pretty convinced that things like your star sign (is that what it is called?) told you a lot about your personality. He read to me from a book that really seemed to pinpoint his personality pretty well. On the other hand, for me it didn't work the same. However, that could have been because I was somewhat negative to the whole idea. I don't know. I wonder if a lot of that stuff isn't influenced also by our own preconceptions to it . . .I mean, I think we can read a lot into almost anything.

kati said...

Jake, I hope this is the place for open discussion... If not: sorry in advance... I want to reply to Anna! :) Anna, I had a book that described me perfectly (throughout several chapters), but when I read about Chris, I was so frustrated, because almost none of it fit. Also, many books on the subject are different (especially when it says who you should be in relationships with, etc). I think when it comes down to it, to get any sort of wisdom from it, one needs to have a birth chart done and read (although, I haven't had mine done; I am wary of having some kook do it, and I have yet to find a professional astrologer who is a christian!). :) More specifically, about your comment: there are many aspects to a persons birth chart, and sometimes the sun sign (what people refer to when they say "what's your sign?") isn't very accurate because it is supposed to reflect our public personality more, whereas the moon sign is more about our inner personality, the one we rarely show to others. And there's a whole lot more to a person than just those 2 aspects, too... which brings me back to the birth chart (a map of the stars and sun as viewed from the location of your birth at the moment of your birth).

Anonymous said...

Well I guess if it all works, then it must just be because God created the universe to be so elaborate. . . and for all the pieces to fit togehter so well. . . because otherwise then I don't know.
It's hard enough going to Harvard where I learn the higher criticism of the bible in every class (if even the bible has any worth at all). . .i have to try hard to keep any sort of reverence and mystical element to my faith.

Anonymous said...

ps, I'm just saying that's what they are trying to teach me, that's not what I am letting them teach me. . .

✙ patron saint of ulster ✙ said...

so you know my sixth grade boyfriend huh?