Faith and Stars

One of Sully’s readers:

Why is astrology any less respectable than religious belief? Believers in both suspend reason to help explain the randomness of human existence.

The reason that astrology is less respectable than faith is that astrology is not a religion and doesn’t claim to be. Astrologers claim that what they do is science. They have charts. The look at planets. They claim to make predictions based on the positions of heavenly objects. They claim that someone’s personality is determined by what time of the year he is born (never mind that they have not corrected for the precession of the equinoxes and so all their astrological signs are one month off). But in the end, it is a sham. Astrologers either make prognostications that are deliberately vague. Or, for personal readings, they perform what amounts to a cold reading.

It possible, in fact very easy, to disprove astrology. It’s so easy, in fact, that Penn and Teller have yet to devote an episode to it. Faith is far more difficult. It is wrapped in the general and possibly unknowable mystery of who we are and why we are here. Faith attempts to answer those questions but — with the exception of deluded ID people — it doesn’t claim to have scientific proof. It asks for belief.

There is also, I would add, more evidence supporting the tenets of Judeo-Christian faith than astrology. There was a nation of Israel. Many traditions described within are supported by contemporaneous external accounts. There is ample evidence that there was such a person as Jesus Christ. That the history of the region was determined by God, that Jesus was the Messiah, that there is an afterlife — these are matters of faith and belief.

There has never been, in 2000 years, any evidence that astrology is based on anything other than shamanism.

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