Christopher Hitchens has a new book out called “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.” While I totally agree with his premise that religion (Sagittarius) has poisoned many things and created more wars than anything else, I am saddened by his obvious need, like so many skeptics, to throw out any sense of wonder in life’s magic for the sake of objectivity and “science.”
In an article last week Hitchens lumps astrology together with other hoaxes of religion:
Astrology is widely considered to be discredited because of certain very obvious objections:
1) It gives people the impression that they are the center of the universe and that the constellations are somehow arranged with them in mind.
2) It suggests that there is a supernatural supervision of our daily lives, and that this influence can be detected and expounded by mere humans.
3) It bases itself on the idea that our character and personality are irrevocably formed at the moment of birth or even of conception.
Who does not know how to laugh at the credulity of those who fall for this ancient hoax? And why would it matter, except that religion, too, believes that the cosmos was created with us in mind, that our lives are supervised by an almighty force that priests and rabbis and imams can interpret, and that – by way of doctrines such as “original sin” – our natures have been largely determined when we are still in the womb or the cradle.
All the points Hitchens makes are indisputable. Astrology is indeed centered on the person, which is why it is geocentric (with the planets and luminaries orbiting the earth) rather than heliocentric (with the sun in the center). There is indeed a suggestion of a supernatural force that can be detected by mere humans. And, most mysteriously, that the moment of birth does define certain elements of our personality.
The comments to this article are very interesting. I particularly like this one: “Actually, I think astrology is on firmer footing than religion. It has no moral codes, demands no worship and supports no wars. I don’t think astrology asserts, as you say, that “the cosmos was created with us in mind” – rather that we, like the stars, are a part of the cosmos.”
Last weekend’s Parade magazine featured an article about the mysterious “dark matter” that appears to be causing the expansion of the universe. It’s clear that scientists don’t know everything there is to know about our reality!