Q: #333. Is reading your horoscope a sin?
A: Horoscopes and astrology have been around since early Old Testament times. Today, they are more popular than ever (almost everyone knows their horoscope sign), being found in daily newspapers, magazines, online, and even on Facebook. They are read by millions, including the rich and famous (actors, politicians, sports stars), the not so famous, and even many Christians. Some people even go so far as to plan their lives around what their horoscope says (i.e. financial decisions, who they date or marry, when to go on vacation, etc…). What does the Bible say about this? Should we be reading our horoscope?
Webster’s Dictionary defines a horoscope as: “a diagram of the relative positions of planets and signs of the zodiac at a specific time (as at one’s birth) for use by astrologers in inferring individual character and personality traits and in foretelling event’s of a person’s life.” While the Bible does not use the word “horoscope,” it does speak very clearly about those who seek to “divine the future” or “foretell the events of a person’s life” (fortune telling). Words used are: “divination,” “an observer of times,” “soothsayer,” and “enchanter.” God warns His people not to practice this (Lev 19:26), nor listen to it (Jer 27:9)(Jer 29:8). It is “evil” (2 Kin 17:17)(2 Kin 21:6)(2 Chr 33:6) and “an abomination” (Deut 18:12). It is associated with evil spirits (Acts 16:16).
(Isa 47:13-14) says “the fire shall burn … the astrologers, those who prophesy by the stars, those who predict by the new moons…”
Saul was removed from being king in part because “he asked counsel of a medium” (1 Chr 10:13-14).
In the book of Daniel, God worked through Daniel three times (twice to interpret dreams, once to interpret handwriting) to show the powerlessness of the king’s astrologers (Dan 2)(Dan 4:4-27)(Dan 5:5-30). (See specifically what Daniel says in Dan 2:27-28) In (Dan 1:20), it says that King Nebuchadnezzar found the “wisdom and understanding” of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (better known by their Babylonian names: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego) “10 times better than all of the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.”
Astrology and horoscopes have their roots in paganism and the worship of the sun, moon, and stars as gods. It is taking objects which the one true God of the Bible created, and giving them power that belongs ONLY to Him. This is idolatry, blasphemy, and sin. (See Ezek 21:21 for a few other ways that pagans sought to “divine the future.”)
Now, I realize that many of you may be saying that reading horoscopes is just “harmless fun.” I must disagree. Horoscopes prey on people’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities. They give false hope to those who those who have little hope (much like false prophets did in the Bible). They forecast a future that is NOT from God. They do this by making statements with sweeping generalizations, that can apply to almost anyone. For example:
“Life has been difficult for you lately but things will likely improve very soon.”
“There may be some traveling in your near future, so be prepared.”
“You are a very kind person, but sometimes you feel like people take advantage of that.”
“You tend to be worried about your finances.”
“Brace yourself for some very surprising news you are about to receive.”
“You like to spend time with people, but sometimes you also need your alone time.”
Have I just described you? I am guessing you are saying “yes!” Of course, these statements can apply to almost anyone. These generalizations even have a name called “the Forer effect.”
So, where is the danger? When enough of these “generalizations” start to fit with some people’s lives, they begin to believe them, and thereby give them power. “My horoscope said I might soon get a raise at work, and I got one!” “My horoscope said a baby might be in my future, and now I am pregnant!” (Notice the word “might.”) Of course, of all the people who read horoscopes, a few are going to get a raise or become pregnant. Then, a few of these people are going to be “hooked,” and think “Wow, they were right, maybe I better pay more attention to these horoscopes.” Soon, they start to change their lives based on what it says. This is not “harmless.”
As we showed above, the Bible is quite clear that God calls those who practice astrology and horoscopes “evil” and “an abomination.” Can you really believe that God approves of checking your horoscope to “guide your life,” or just “for fun?”
P.S. I place horoscopes in the same category as other dangerous things that Christians should avoid that we have discussed previously on this site like dreamcatchers, yoga, amulets, tarot cards, crystals, Ouija boards, a talisman.