On a recent airline flight I sat next to a lady who identified herself as an “astrologer.” Upon her discovery that I was an evangelical Christian, we had a spirited discussion over the topic of astrology. As a form of divination, astrology is an ancient occultic belief system and practice.
According to astrology, the exact alignment of the heavenly bodies (planets, stars) at a person’s birth greatly influence, if not determine, an individual’s life, including character, temperament, and accomplishments. People who practice astrology seek to discover their horoscope—a forecast of daily, monthly, or yearly events in light of their birth sign under the Zodiac. The practice of astrology can be traced as far back as ancient Mesopotamia and was a common practice among the ancient Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, and Romans.
Astrology is quite popular in Western culture today. People are commonly looking for divine guidance, even if they reject belief in the biblical God. The influence of secularism has left a spiritual vacuum and that emptiness is often filled by the widespread practices of occultism. Astrology fills the role of religion and spirituality in the lives of many but it doesn’t demand much personal discipline or devotion.
Five Problems With Astrology
From the standpoint of historic Christianity, there are many fundamental problems with the belief and practice of astrology. Let’s briefly consider five difficulties:
Astrology is an occult (secret, esoteric) belief system and practice that is specifically condemned in Scripture (Deuteronomy 4:19; 17:2-5; 18:9-13; 2 Kings 17:16; Isaiah 47:13-15). Astrology is a form of idolatry because it attributes forces and powers to the alignment of heavenly bodies instead of acknowledging God’s role as transcendent Creator and Sovereign Lord over all (Jeremiah 32:17; Psalm 22:28).
Astrology is unscientific as a practice. The ancient astrological charts were based upon a prescientific understanding of astronomy. Astrology declined overall as a belief system with the coming of modern astronomy.
Horoscopes are frequently overly general, vague, and imprecise. Therefore, it is difficult to verify or falsify the claims of astrology.
When astrological predictions can be tested objectively, astrologers often make blatant false predictions. For example, famous astrologer Jeane Dixon, who claimed to have predicted President Kennedy’s assassination, also predicted that the popular music group The Beatles would be killed in an airplane crash.
Astrology appears deterministic, if not fatalistic, in orientation and therefore conflicts with human deliberation and free agency.
Astrology is incompatible with the teachings of Scripture and contrary to sound scientific and logical principles.
For more on a Christian critique of astrology, see Astrology and Psychic Phenomena (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998) by Andre Kole and Terry Holley.