Astrology has become increasingly popular in recent years. You’ve probably read your horoscope in the newspaper or an online magazine. Maybe you’ve even made major life decisions based on what your zodiac sign or tarot cards dictate. But what does God say about astrology? Should Christians be consulting the stars for guidance?
A Brief History of Astrology
Human beings have been fascinated with the stars since ancient times. Nearly every early civilization carefully plotted the movements of the sun, moon, planets, and stars across the sky. These observations eventually led to the development of astrology – the belief that the positions and alignments of celestial bodies impact or predict events on Earth and people’s personalities and destinies.
Some of the earliest evidence of astrology appears in Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, and Ancient Greece by the 2nd millennium BCE. Horoscopes – diagrams of the position of the sun, moon, and planets at a person’s birth – began appearing around 410 BCE. The system of 12 zodiac signs also originated with the Babylonians between the 18th and 12th centuries BCE.
Over thousands of years, astrology spread across Africa, Asia, and Europe. As civilizations discovered the ability to forecast seasons and navigate using the stars, astrology grew in popularity and complexity. By medieval times, many royal courts had an astrologer to offer guidance.
Today astrology continues to influence cultures worldwide. Horoscopes remain popular across Asia and the West. In China, Vietnam, and India, babies are named based on astrological charts. Astrology impacts major events like weddings in Hindu culture. In the 20th century, astrology experienced another revival, perhaps in part because people feel uncertain about the future.
But what does God actually say about modern astrology? Should Christians be turning to horoscopes and astrologers for life guidance?
What Does The Bible Say About Astrology?
The Bible speaks against astrology in several places, generally for two reasons:
- It represents a failure to trust in God’s wisdom and power.
- It gives astrological bodies and guides influence that rightly belongs to God alone.
In Jeremiah 10 verses 1-2, God directly condemns the practice of astrology and other forms of fortune-telling among the people of Israel:
“Hear what the Lord says to you, people of Israel. This is what the Lord says: Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them.”
God tells his people not to be afraid of astrological signs – even if the cultures around them are shaken by them. More broadly in the Old Testament, God prevents His people from adopting the pagan practices of nearby cultures, including astrology (Deuteronomy 18:9-14).
Why does God forbid astrology? Partly because people use it replace faith in God with faith in the stars.
The prophet Isaiah warns against this directly in Isaiah 47:13–15:
“All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up… Each of them goes on in his error; there is not one that can save you.”
Isaiah suggests that astrology offers pretend security and counsel that wears people out. God wants His people to rely fully on Him instead of “stargazers.”
In the New Testament, Paul echoes similar ideas. Addressing the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers in Athens, he points them away from worship of the universe toward the one true God in Acts 17.
People stumble in the darkness of astrology because they feel distant from their Creator. But God wants people to reach toward Him, not the stars, for hope. Paul encourages the astrology-practicing Athenians towards a personal relationship with God instead of horoscopes.
So in short, the Bible speaks against astrology for both practical and spiritual reasons. God wants people to rely on His guidance rather than messages in the stars.
Isn’t Astrology Completely Fake Anyway?
It’s easy to dismiss astrology as a silly superstition. But actual observations of the stars did help societies like the Babylonians track seasons and navigate. So early astrology wasn’t total nonsense. However, today experts consider astrology a pseudoscience – an idea that sounds scientific but lacks evidence or falsifiability.
Modern astrology makes scientifically testable claims. For example, astrologers argue that the position of the planets impacts people’s day-to-day lives and personalities. But multiple large meta-analyses of over a hundred astrology studies show no statistically meaningful connections between astrological signs or readings and people’s lives.
Astrologers continue providing readings for patrons and offering life guidance. However, they cannot scientifically prove their interpretations work.
Most scientifically literate people dismiss modern astrology as an unproven fringe theory at best and a profitable scam at worst.
But studies show horoscopes remain popular because they offer comfort, identity, and reassurance in an unpredictable world using the language of mystic forces. Even without proof, the social utility of astrology persists.
Of course, uncertainty about the future has always frightened humans. After all, the familiar patterns of stars rotating through the seasons fail during years of extreme weather or unexpected change.
Astrology promises the confidence of secret knowledge – as if a patron could bargain with the heavens for prosperity. God condemns astrology because it peddles false confidence and power. The stars remain indifferent guides. True hope arises fromconnection with the Creator who designed the universe.
Can Christians Read Horoscopes and Astrology “Just for Fun”?
So astrology fails scientifically. But can Christians read horoscopes purely for entertainment without violating their faith?
First, some argue that astrology remains dangerous even as entertainment because it subtly encourages idolatry. Christians shouldn’t dabble in astrology anymore than playfully take up witchcraft.
In Deuteronomy 18: 9-13, engaging in pretend pagan practices could lead God’s people towards the actual worship of false gods or demons. Some current theologians argue astrology poses similar risks by exposing people’s minds to cosmic forces seemingly outside God’s control.
Second, astrology teaches principles contrary to a Christian worldview even in jest. Most branches of astrology proclaim self as part of the divine universe made of the same eternal stuff as the stars. Spirit beings may inhabit nature alongside gods. Everything interconnects through mystic energy forces, not a personal Creator.
Obviously such New Age concepts deeply conflict with Christianity. Yet these ideas penetrate modern culture so thoroughly that even Christians often unconsciously absorb them as they casually read horoscopes or personality tests.
So should Christians avoid astrology entirely? Pastors tend to agree – at minimum horoscopes represent wasted time and attention better invested in scripture and prayer. At worst, astrology indoctrinates people in opposing spiritual assumptions they must consciously reject.
Of course, everyone faces temptation towards idols – even activities and media seemingly harmless on the surface. So how should Christians respond to friends obsessed with their zodiac? Or colleagues who make decisions based on horoscopes?
How Should Christians Respond To Modern Astrology?
The rise of astrology today reveals unmet emotional and spiritual needs – the uncertainty, desire for meaning, and search for guidance astrology promises yet fails to truly provide.
Rather than scolding or attacking friends and family members participating in astrology, Christians can respond with compassion. Conversations may open doors to discuss Jesus’s power, love, and offer of community that so captivates astrology fans.
When afraid, anxious people inevitably find astrology’s assurances ring hollow, Christians can shine the genuine hope of Christ. Guidance from the stars pales beside a relationship with the One who created every star by name (Psalm 147:4).
The next time someone asks about your zodiac sign, try redirecting the conversation to deeper questions about purpose and relationships. Their soul thirsts for a love no horoscope can satisfy – but Jesus offers living water. (John 4:13-14)
Gently challenging others’ astrology beliefs while listening without judgment follows the Apostle Peters’ guidance: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15)
Of course, not everyone who dabbles in astrology realizes earnest spiritual danger or deception. Many people harmlessly enjoy astrology’s enchantment like fantasy movies or games with magic.
Christians can ignore overreacting to benign cultural astrology while still mindfully rejecting its principles for themselves. And when friends become truly troubled or obsessed, compassionately sharing Christ’s truths in conversation or action makes the most lasting impact.
What does the Bible say about astrology and horoscopes?
The Bible directly condemns astrology as an idolatrous practice that gives creation the glory, trust, and allegiance belonging to God alone. Bible verses against astrology include Deuteronomy 4:19, 17:2-5, Jeremiah 10:2, Isaiah 47:13-15, and Acts 7:42-43.
Can Christians read their horoscopes and zodiac forecasts?
Most Bible scholars advise Christians to completely avoid horoscopes, even casually or for entertainment. Reasons include:
- Astrology promotes principles contrary to Christianity like divine forces control destiny
- Over time astrological beliefs can shift thinking away from God’s truths
- Astrology fails to meet people’s emotional/spiritual needs though it claims insight
However, some Christians believe reading superficial sun sign horoscopes purely for fun remains OK. But beware astrology creeping into actual life guidance.
What does the Bible say about magic and mystic arts?
Along with astrology, the Bible strongly warns against any type of sorcery, mediumship, fortune-telling, or other magic-related practices. These represent false spiritual guides that distract people from God.
Revelation 21:8 warns all types of magic arts ultimately come from idolatry and sin. Other verses include Leviticus 19:31, 20:6, Deuteronomy 18:10-12, 1 Chronicles 10:13-14, and Acts 19:19.
Should I make major life decisions based on astrology or horoscopes?
No – Christians believe astrology lacks legitimate predictive power or spiritual authority over anyone’s life. Depend only on Scripture’s wisdom and the Holy Spirit’s guidance to direct your personal choices.
What should I do if friends or family make big choices according to their zodiac?
Lovingly share your perspective if asked. But often simply listening to their motives non-judgementally then offering to pray together proves most helpful. Avoid hurtful criticism or passive aggression regarding their beliefs.
Is astrology connected to spirit guides or demons?
Potentially – many Bible experts throughout history have attributed astrology and psychic arts to deceitful evil spirits. However, some people innocently view astrology like entertainment rather than seriously consulting the stars. Christians should gently discern their specific motives on an individual basis when concerns arise.
So in summary, the Bible clearly speaks against actively practicing astrology or worshiping cosmic bodies as divine. Seek God’s wisdom rather than messages in the pattern of planets and stars. And when friends become fascinated with horoscopes, respond with understanding and grace rather than judgement.