Some time ago, I read an interesting article in Times & Transcript that discussed the history and popularity of astrology. Astrology is the belief that our destinies as individuals is determined by the relative positions of the stars and planets. The article pointed to the fact that astrological practices date back to the beginnings of recorded history. Astrological markings have even been found on cave walls dating back as far as 25,000 years!
Astrology remains very popular today. In fact, Canada is one of the leaders in astrology. A few years ago, an analysis was done to determine which cities and countries of the world were most interested in astrology based on a study of Google searches. The results were fascinating. Two Canadian cities were in the top 10: Toronto, #5 and Vancouver, #6. As a country, Canada placed fourth on the list behind only India, South Africa, and Singapore. The popularity of astrology can be seen everywhere—in newspapers, on t-shirts, on jewelry, and on restaurant placemats. There are even horoscope vending machines! A quick Google search of the word, astrology, brings up 102,000,000 hits—a good afternoon’s reading! Indeed, astrology is big business. Worldwide, the astrological industry is worth billions.
Astrology is a “universal” discipline. Astrologists claim to be able to help people in virtually every aspect of their lives from understanding and interpreting their childhood experiences to gaining insight into their personality traits. We are told astrology can help people pick a mate, find a job, and ensure financial success. Astrology is even used to help parents decide if little Johnny should be an athlete or a musician. Ultimately, astrology is used to determine one’s very destiny.
So, what should be our attitude towards astrology? Is it something that we should make use of in our daily lives? Certainly, I think most people would agree that if one is going to depend on astrology for guidance in all the great and small aspects of one’s life, it’s important for astrology to be shown to be a worthy anchor for one’s life. Unfortunately, when one looks at the track record of astrological forecasts, it fails miserably. To cite just one study reported in the December 1985 issue of Nature, 28 professional astrologers were given three personality profiles for each of 116 subjects. Only one of the three profiles for each subject was the correct one. The astrologers were also given the birthdate and time of each candidate in order to do their analysis and make their predictions but were able to match the personality profiles to the correct individuals only one third of the time, exactly the rate expected by chance. The astrologers were even allowed to pick a second choice for each personality profile yet fared no better. In study after study astrologers have never been shown to have the ability to predict world events, warn of natural disasters, or discern personality traits. This should not be too surprising; why should anyone think that planets and stars influence their lives? It can’t be based on gravitational force—a large building exerts more gravitational pull on an individual than a distant star. Similarly, there is no known force, including magnetism or light waves, that could offer any theoretical framework for explaining why astrology might work—if it actually did produce results! Adolf Hitler discovered the hard way how unreliable astrological predictions are. During World War II, Hitler tried to use astrology to gain military supremacy. We know how that worked out for him.
In a brief article, there is no way to deal adequately with a topic as large as astrology. I would simply encourage you, before giving your time and money to this pseudo-science, to research the predictive reliability of astrology. Don’t take the astrologers’ word for it. Look for independent studies and come to your own conclusions.
A final word for Christians. For believers, the stars exist “to declare the glory of God” and “to show forth his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). They are not meant to guide us or determine our destiny. Biblical Christianity is opposed to all forms of determinism. We are not machines whose personalities and destinies are shaped by impersonal forces. We are beings created in the image of God. God created us as free beings and He alone determines our destinies. God wants us to look to Him and the Scriptures for guidance and direction, not the universe He created. There is no place for astrology in the life of a Christian.