Christianity and Astrology
Question asked on Quora
Many of the early Christians, including some Popes, were strong believers in astrology, yet today it is strongly looked down upon by that religion. What accounts for this change? Christianity and astrology
Thanks for your interesting question on Christianity and astrology.
I don’t know how far back you actually want to go. I’m sure some early Christians could have been versed in astrology. Some Christians (Origen and followers of Origen) also believed in reincarnation – how things changed from those times. I think it highly likely that Jesus did also believe in reincarnation.
During the mediaeval period astrology was certainly a valued and important discipline. It flourished. One could study it as an academic subject under Church controlled education.
The Church back then wasn’t anti astrology per se but it did depend upon which, or how, astrology was being applied. Not all applications of it were viewed as kosher.
It was certainly opposed to judicial astrology being applied to people.
This went against the belief that everything that happens in the future is under the control of God, not astrology. It was therefore viewed as heresy to make predictions about people, and astrologers doing so were subject to persecution by the Church.
But, on the other hand, the Church supported natural astrology. The practice of natural astrology and the publication of books on the subject were permitted. This branch of astrology dealt with events that occur frequently or necessarily from natural causes.
In other words judicial astrology applied to agriculture, to navigation and medical practice was okay.
Advent of the heliocentric system
Of course, as we know the Christian Church came eventually to condemn astrology more or less outright. But you have to look at this development in context with the huge cultural changes taking place in the 16th to 18th centuries – and especially with the rise of the empirical sciences and their developing materialistic and mechanistic worldview.
I’d suggest that it was a matter of survival of the Church, and its beliefs, to be seen to distance itself from the then astrological system that (since the emergence of heliocentric system devised by Copernicus), was being viewed as superstition.
I might add that the modern Western astrologer is likely to treat judicial astrology, where people are concerned, in a somewhat similar manner to the Church. That is to avoid making judgements that in any way are likely to compromise a person’s ability to make choices for themselves and express their own freewill.
I hope this helps… It really only scratches the surface. I might add that the heliocentric system does not debunk astrology. Astrology works just as well within the heliocentric system – where the planets orbit the Sun instead of the Earth – as it did in the old geocentric system.
You can find out more about my views on astrology how it works, and benefits, by getting hold of my Discover Proper Astrology series on Kindle books – or check out the PDF versions here.
Is astrology actually more about…
Is modern astrology just another pseudoscience?
How does astrology work with reincarnation?
Leave a Reply