Matt C. Abbott
October 5, 2009
Astrology: 'spiritual lust'
By Matt C. Abbott

Over the last few decades, the New Age Movement has ensnared a number of nominal and lapsed Catholics. Part of the blame for this falls on those clergy and religious who, instead of teaching the truths of The Faith and providing sound spiritual direction, have, how shall we say... lost their way. But I digress.

Astrology is one of the more popular aspects of the New Age Movement, and it's something each and every Christian should avoid.

From Catholic Answers (excerpted):

    'The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, 'All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to 'unveil' the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone' (CCC 2116).

    'The pagan world was dominated by belief in astrology. Pagans believed that the stars were divinities, or that they were controlled by divinities. Apollo was the god of the sun, his sister Diana was the goddess of the moon, and the known planets were named after gods as well (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn). Because of this common pagan belief, the Old Testament contains repeated injunctions against star-worship (Deut. 4:19, 17:3; 2 Kgs. 17:16, 21:35, 23:4; Jer. 8:2, 19:1213; Zeph. 1:46).

    'In the New Testament age, astrologers taught that all things were in the grip of Fate, which could assign one destiny to one man and another destiny to another. Fate was extremely powerful and sometimes was even said to rule the gods. However, what destiny Fate would assign to a man could be determined by reading the stars.

    'Today some Christians are influenced by revived paganism in the form of the New Age movement. Some even suggest that Christianity originally held many occult beliefs, such as astrology. But the early Christians, like the early Jews, were vehemently opposed to astrology, even attributing it to demonic origin.

    'The Church Fathers were willing to impose strong sanctions against astrology to protect their flocks....'

From a lengthy entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia (excerpted):

    'The history of astrology is an important part of the history of the development of civilization; it goes back to the early days of the human race. The unchangeable, harmonious course of the heavenly bodies, the profound impression made on the soul of man by the power of such heavenly phenomena as eclipses, the feeling of dependence on the sun, the giver of daylight all these probably suggested in the early ages of the human race, the question whether the fate of man was not dependent on these majestic manifestations of Divine power. Astrology was, therefore the foster-sister of astronomy, the science of the investigation of the heavens. From the start astrology was employed for the needs and benefit of daily life; the astrologers were astronomers only incidentally and in so far as astronomy assisted astrology in the functions which the latter had to perform in connection with religious worship....

    'From the start the Christian Church strongly opposed the false teachings of astrology. The Fathers energetically demanded the expulsion of the Chaldeans who did so much harm to the State and the citizens by employing a fantastic mysticism to play upon the ineradicable impulses of the common people, keeping their heathen conceptions alive and fostering a soul-perplexing cult which, with its fatalistic tendencies created difficulties in the discernment of right and wrong and weakened the moral foundations of all human conduct. There was no room in the early Christian Church for followers of this pseudo-science....

    'Up to the time of the Crusades, Christian countries in general were spared any trouble from a degenerate astrology. Only natural astrology, the correctness of which the peasant thought he had recognized by experience secured a firm footing in spite of the prohibition of Church and State. But the gradually increasing influence of Arabic learning upon the civilization of the West, which reached its highest point at the time of the Crusades, was unavoidably followed by the spread of the false theories of astrology. This was a natural result of the amalgamation of the teachings of pure astronomy with astrology at the Mohammedan seats of learning. The spread of astrology was also furthered by the Jewish scholars living in Christian lands, for they considered astrology as a necessary part of their cabalistic and Talmudic studies....'

Terry A. Modica, author of Overcoming the Power of the Occult, devotes in said book a chapter to astrology.

She writes:

    'Spiritual lust is a good description of astrology. Lust is an intense desire that falls short of true love. It makes astrology a false god that we ravenously pursue when, in fact, we should be loving and trusting the God Who truly loves us. We become preoccupied with devotion to the creation and overlook the love of the Creator.

    'Because God always cares about us, even when we don't love Him, and because only He is all-wise and all-knowing, He is the only reliable source of information about the future. 'When Daniel interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar's dream after astrologers had failed, he said that only God correctly reveals secrets and makes known what will happen in latter days (Dan. 2:28).

    'The Bible tells us over and over again that our personality and potential are determined by our relationship with the heavenly Father, not by our relationship with stars and planets. The stars reveal the glory of God in that He created them. But when we allow our lives to be ruled by these stars, we obey them as if they were gods. That's why astrology is idolatry.

    'Idolatry was the purpose of astrology since its beginning.

    'The first known astrologers were the Chaldeans and Babylonians, around 3,000 B.C. They recorded data about the sun, moon and those 'stars' that moved the planets. Because the planets travelled through the sky, people believed they were supernatural beings, gods to be worshipped. That's why, to this day, they bear the names of gods. In order to learn the intentions of these gods, the ancient people developed a method of interpreting their movements.

    'Do we believe there are gods in the stars today? If not, where do we think their power to influence us comes from? True, we are physiologically influenced by the sun and moon: The sun tans us, gives us Vitamin D, and causes cancer; the moon's gravity creates minute tides in the water content of our bodies, sometimes contributing to certain moods. But we cannot use these celestial objects to predict human events. And the stars and planets have even less effect on us....

    'Millions of people ... believe that astrology works due to a perceived all-encompassing unity of the cosmos. They believe that we are one with nature and with God, that 'all is one.' But this is simply not true. The Bible clearly rejects the idea. God is the Creator, not the creation. His power is supreme above all, and, rather than making us one with nature, He has put us in authority over it, as seen in Genesis 1:26 (RSV) where He said:

    'Let them [mankind] have dominion over the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.

    'The 'all is one' philosophy is straight from Satan because he was the first to try to make creation (himself) equal to the Creator. This is one reason astrology can be called satanic.

    'The stars and planets are not masters over us. Even the moon with its gravitational pull is not to be our master. Though statistically there are more crimes and accidents during the period from three days prior to three days after a full moon, a prayer to God can overcome whatever moods or 'lunacy' the moon might cause.

    'Any effect the zodiac has on us is purely psychological. It makes us fatalistic, leaving us without hope. Why strive for goals if the stars may work against us? Why make decisions if we have no free will? Why try to improve our lives if the future's not ours to create? Astrology robs us of hope, and where there is no hope, there is fear.

    'Those who do not become enslaved by fear through astrology become slaves nonetheless. They are held captive by the cosmic forces that they believe determine their destiny. They are enslaved by what they think is an outside force controlling their lives. They are imprisoned by fatalism, convinced that they cannot change or correct what lies ahead.

    'If we have this attitude, we drift aimlessly along, settling for less than the best, never reaching our fullest potential, never even coming close to the wonderful supernatural love of Almighty God and all the gifts He wants to bestow on us. As long as the stars rule us, we miss experiencing the victorious faith that overcomes the world, as described in John 5:4,5 (RSV):

    'This is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

    'God gives us freedom, not bondage. He deliberately limited His control over us so we could exercise free will. But we often choose astrology or other occult activity instead of Him. That is idolatry.

    'Idolatry is, of course, a sin against our Creator. But practicing astrology is also a sin against ourselves. It keeps us from becoming the very best that God wants for us.'

(Regarding the above excerpt: Copyright 1989 by Terry A. Modica, author of Good News Reflections, founder and director of Good News Ministries, and publisher of Catholic Digital Resources. Overcoming the Power of the Occult can be ordered from CatholicStore.com, your local Catholic bookstore, or Queenship Publishing, P.O. Box 220, Goleta, CA 93116; Tel. 800-647-9882. Mrs. Modica states that the above excerpt is not to be further copied to any other Web site or other written form without permission from the author, except in the case of individuals printing a single copy for their own personal use.)

© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.


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