Friday, May 18, 2007

Seth Ponders His Sign and Wonders...




I have a sneaking suspicion that more Christians read horsoscopes than any other religious group. Probably because our favorite apostle is darn near a mystic, and the bible is full of signs, wonders, and prophecies, some including the stars; On BIG star-event in particular. Give you a hint: Magi (astrologers), Star, Prophecy, Virgin…

I am going to confess something. This might make some of you *cough*JOHN*cough* think that I am going straight to hell but… I wonder sometimes: Could there be “something” to them? NOW BEFORE YOU GET YOUR BIBLE CLUB OUT. Hear me out.

If there is, I really don't think it has to do with the gravity of mars makes you masculine or some other hocus pocus crap. And I would NEVER say that God governs our actions through the most ancient and culturally pervasive of mystical ideology: Astrology. And I certainly don't think that ANYONE should put any faith AT ALL in your daily "horoscopes" which are completely stupid and fatalistic.

I am really not talking about that stuff. I just think there is a general cycle to God's creation and throughout time man has done his best to describe that cycle. (Your eyes are rolling. I can feel them) and this is what I am thinking, or really, “wondering for fun”: Like it or not, people born at a certain time of year, seem to display certain tendencies over others. In my opinion, Astrologers used this cyclical behavior and fit it into their magical star predictions. Just like the Greeks thought the sun God rode a fiery chariot across the sky everyday. Or the same reason that in the Ancient Jewish Prayers to the planets, special angels and demons are assigned to the different planets; the greatest and most powerful planet Saturn having only one angel, Ktetoel, and one demon, Beelzebub. These planetary demons regulated the destiny of men. Each planet was an angel or demon.

I think all that stuff mentioned is what man does unless God intervenes and says otherwise. It is how he supernaturally explains the world for which the natural phenomena lives. And Christian theology is the ONLY religion that works in harmony with science. (A thinking Christian views science as a way to see HOW God did it.) So that is what I am wondering, vicariously, with no real “I give a rip” one way or another:

The possibility, that there is in fact, a kind of rhythm to humanity. Just as there is to all of creation. And in that rhythm, (I AM ALMOST CRACKING UP AS I WRITE THIS) it is possible that people, born in certain periods of time, share certain personality traits or tendencies?

It is really about observation without ANY explanation, spiritual or scientific. There are some downright CREEPY similarities in Taurus women and my wife. Creepy. Same for my sign Scorpio. How is this possible? Who the heck knows? I am just saying that the similarities seem to be there. We all recognize them at some level. Again, it could NEVER be proven and I am in NO way condoning astrology or any kind of dependence upon that hogwash. I am simply saying that there MAY BE similarities. And, honestly, I don't see a big problem if that little bit of mysterious programming went into how God set the comedy.

But then again, I have been told that I have quite the imagination so, this all could be total crap as well. The funniest part about this whole blog here is that it perfectly fits the description of how a Scorpio might view it, not to mention brave enough to make a complete and total fool of himself. (Then arrogant enough to brag about his bravery.) And I bet you could go check the qualities of your "sign" and you just might find your reaction to this blog fits the description of yours as well. I have no proof, biblically, theologically, or scientifically- other than there does seem to be a similarity and if it makes sense it would make sense scientifically considering the apparent design of all things. I’m the kind of fella who loves mystery. I love things that aren’t exactly what they seem. Like my wife. Why does she laugh at my jokes? Or like God. “A never ending Art Gallery without beginning or end.” as Chesterton puts it.

Doesn't really matter to me one way or another, just sort of fun to ponder. What pondereth you?

14 comments:

The Stan said...

I don't know, Seth. On the one hand, it's a seductive idea. But I seem to remember hearing about scientific studies being done to determine if you could predict personality traits based on the time of year you were born...and it the results were negative.

The classic argument for personality has always been Nature vs. Nurture. And today, we know that both have a profound role. Even if there were some cyclical influence, it stands to reason that genetic and environmental factors would have a much greater influence on the personality.

Perhaps these cyclical influences are part of the "Nurture" environment, but their influence would be so small in comparison to other, more immediate, factors as to be unmeasurable...and ultimately unprovable.

Seth Ward said...

HA!

Reminds me of another converstaion we once had at a subway.

"Thats an interesting "theeeeory" Seth. (using quotation fingers) But it's not science."

However, like I said, I am not saying that there IS a scientific explanation. I am simply observing that there does "seeeeem" to be similarities. And if there are similarities then there is probably some kind of scientific explanation mixed with the usual mystery behind it. And that maybe we are observing something that we can't understand and never will.

But then again, it could be an invented psychosocial dream.

btw, when were you born?

FancyPants said...

I think this is an interesting idea. I've never given it much thought, but I will say...that there are uncanny similarities between my personality and that of a Taurus. At least in the description of Taurus that we read the other night. And you're right, God did use the Magi, the stars....

And I'm with you about the daily horoscopes being hogwash.

it would be hard to collect observable data on this because how could you have a controlled environment? Nurture absolutely plays a role on certain personality traits.

Also, I have no idea if authors vary in their respective descriptions of each sign...that's another factor to consider. Like I said, I've never been into this so I have no idea.

Stan, couldn't cyclical influence go hand in hand with genetic factors? If the idea of signs were true, then it would support the Nature argument for personality rather than the Nurure argument.

Which reminds me, there have been personality studies done on twins to determine Nature vs. Nurture. That would be an interesting place to start with testing veracity of signs.

Chaotic Hammer said...

Seth, Seth, Seth. Where to begin here. Hmmm.

It's funny you mention this. I spent quite a while just the other night discussing this exact subject with my daughter. She is a Christian and loves Jesus, but also thinks astrology is pretty neat, and doesn't see the problem with dabbling with it.

I admitted some things about my past that she didn't know, like how heavily and sincerely I dabbled with all things occult and New Age during my youth, prior to being a Christ-follower. The long and short of it is that in the Bible, astrology is lumped in with all the other occult and pagan things that the Lord doesn't sound particularly fond of, and I think it's for good reason.

This lead to discussions of demonic possession (which is real, I've seen it with my own eyes and it was NOT in some weird charismatic/pentecostal snake-oil healing church service or anything like that) and other mysterious spiritual things which, while real, are largely dismissed by many people in the "rational, civilized, scientific" world of today.

I had very real and undeniable experiences while dabbling with the occult, including experiences with a genuine psychic (a girl who could "see", not some palm reader phony near Westheimer and Montrose). I know there is power and oppression in that stuff, and if you ask many missionaries who have been to third-world countries and remote locations, you'll hear quite a few stories about what kind of power demonic spirits can have over peoples' lives. Bizarre stuff.

However, having said all that, I'm not particularly concerned about the "for amusement only" horoscopes near the comic section of the newspaper, or with people reading/watching Harry Potter or playing D & D., or even with the goth/emo kids on Myspace who say they practice Wicca. I don't see the devil hiding behind every tree, and I especially don't stop in the middle of my prayers to the Lord to talk to and "bind" Satan (it's sort of a pet peeve of mine when people do that).

I think you have it right when you say that this sort of stuff is what man ends up doing after a period of time when he is separated from God, and separated from Truth. And sure enough, there are evil spirits out there willing to "play along" if man wants to make some deep and convoluted pseudo-religion out of signs, wonders, seasons, rhythms, stars, whatever.

The Stan said...
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The Stan said...

Fancypants:

To quote:
"Stan, couldn't cyclical influence go hand in hand with genetic factors? If the idea of signs were true, then it would support the Nature argument for personality rather than the Nurure argument."

I don't see how there could be any relationship with cyclical influence and genetics. DNA is mutated by certain environmental conditions (High-energy rays, alpha and beta radiation, etc.) But these are almost always harmful.

The environment can cause different genes to express themselves, though. (Our DNA is made of many long sequences of unexpressed genes. Scientists can only speculate what they do and why those strands of DNA are there. In fact, many scientists call these long sequences of apparently useless DNA "junk DNA." Some speculate it's parasitic DNA--a collection of viral DNA sequences collected over many millenia of infectious viral agents, which got passed down through the generations. Not everyone agrees, though.)

Anyway, the Nature argument says our personality is all encoded in our DNA. But twin studies have disproven that.

The Nurture argument says it's all our environment. (I would imagine cyclical influences would fall here.)

Our DNA is basically fixed. But the interesting thing is, our environment can effect how our genes are expressed. So there is actually a fuzzy line between the two.

But to answer your question, it would be just the opposite. Nurture refers to the environment, and cyclical influences would be environmental in nature because they're external to the genetic code.

Seth Ward said...

First off. The idea about stars unlocking a genetic code of sorts is pretty kick-butt. Consider it copyrighted right here and now. I think a sci-fi story should be written immediately about that.

I'll probably respond with a few comments.

But everyone feel free to have a go.

Fancy, the occurrences of the Magi in the bible are I think, the only instance of another religion besides Judaism that god used to work congruently with his plan. It has always puzzled me. Cach?

C-ham, I am glad you brought all that stuff up and reminds me to be VERY clear, so as not to tempt any of my impressionable, younger readers.

I AM IN NO WAY CONDONING OR SUGGESTING THAT ASTROLOGY IS A VALID RELIGIOUS PRACTICE. IT IS MAN MADE AND IS NOT GOOD. IN ANY WAY.

That being said, I am saying that usually at the core of every religion is some kind of truth about "something" that THE God has done or is doing in nature. All the pagan religions worshiping the Corn King. No corn "King" but there certainly was a pattern and season that the corn adhered to that we can now explain scientifically. I am saying that all the hocus pocus stuff stripped away, that there MAY be some natural pattern of personality.

This taken ONLY from observation in the similarities of various personality types. This is alllll complete conjecture and speculation, but speculation because of an apparent tendency in human behavior.

Stan, I thought about the nature thing as well. What about seasons? We know people are affected and effected by seasonal environment. For instance, Northern people tend to be a little more reserved than southern people.

The human brain is such a magnificent sensory ... thing that we have barely begun to unlock the potential. The amount of information that we process second to second is astounding. So that being said, I think there are bound to be things that are apparent in nature that are on different levels of consciousness that maybe we cannot explain. Shoot, if you would have tried to explain quantum physics to Newton he would probably have thought you were nuts.

The Stan said...

Okay, here's a plot synopsis:

200 or so years from now, we finally have the technology to start colonizing a world that's long been known to be habitable to humans. (Let's call it Gliesius, after the recent discovery of Gliese 581c, a planet thought to be similar to earth in many respects and possibly habitable...and only about 20 light years or so away!)

Gliesius, being 20 light years away from Earth will have a slightly different pattern of stars in the night sky.

So everything is just fine with the Gliesian colonists...until they start having children.

The children begin displaying "odd" behavior...and in remarkably similar ways. They seem to have personalities completely alien to humans and can't relate to their Earth-born brethren. They can only relate to each other.

Meanwhile, other colonies on other planets are experiencing similar phenomenon. But each colony reports different strange behavior.

On some planets, the native-born humans exhibit new talents, such as telekinesis, psychic powers, expanded sensory perception, or greatly enhanced intelligence.

But on Gliesius, the changes are more sinister. The "star imprint" (which would, perhaps, remain a mystery until the end of the book...or revealed as the action plays out in true sci-fi character.) is causing more primitive emotions and behavior to express themselves.

As the children grow, they act more and more like violent zombies, terrorizing the colonial population...and eventually spreading terror and mayhem throughout the galaxy.

Over time, these newly "unlocked" regions of the brain cause the native-born Gliesians to metamorphose (as long-dormant genes begin expressing themselves) into a truly alien race.

In this way, an otherwise empty galaxy (other than for the humans) becomes populated by different alien species, which are really mutated forms of humans.

(Alternatively, all this happened in the distant past and our first contact with an alien race will really be with a descendant of a same common ancestor, say from the earliest known civilization in Mesopotamia...say, someone known as Enoch. (Read Gen 5:24))

Eventually, as the secret becomes known (that star formations in the night sky act as "codes" that unlock or lock regions of the brain), some speculate that a planet exists where humans will reach their full potential, unlocking every region and capability of the human brain. In other words, we'll unlock the dormant 90% of our gray matter.

And so the search for this mythical planet begins. But with so many competing races, some more "noble" than others, some more power hungry than others, who will find the planet first? And how will the discovery of this planet (if it exists) change the destiny of humanity?

(Actually, this is more of a brainstorm than a plot synopsis. There are so many different directions you could go with this.)

What do you think? Worth writing down?

The Cachinnator said...

I'm just bemused by the whole thread, so I'll withhold any comment about signs since I'm not sure I appreciate the implication that your wife and I are prone to "hedonism, laziness, inflexibility, jealousy, and antipathy."

As for God using other religions to work with his plan... well, it may stretch some of your definitions and understandings, but I'd say that the magi are not the only such example. Consider John's favorite, the witch of Endor. Although forbidden, Saul seeks out a medium and communicates with Samuel who speaks God's word to him. Then there's also Melchizedek. Hmmm... those are the ones that pop right out to me. I'll think about it some more.

FancyPants said...

But see now, Cach, that is a prime example of how all of this is hogwash because what I read about Taurus specifically said I was not a jealous person, or lazy. Rather practical, nonjealous, able to take control but only when necessary, intellectual about matters I choose, and great stuff like that.

You just read the wrong horoscope.

Stan,

So what if cyclical influences were not necessarily astronomical but rather a sort of life cycle of all things, thus being able to control the genetic code in some way. Like birthing patterns having some sort of cosmic order, and so determining DNA makeup somehow?

What kind of bogus question did I just ask?

I would like to reiterate what Seth said a few comments back:

I AM IN NO WAY CONDONING OR SUGGESTING THAT ASTROLOGY IS A VALID RELIGIOUS PRACTICE. IT IS MAN MADE AND IS NOT GOOD. IN ANY WAY.

The Stan said...

Hmmm...there are cycles that Earth as a whole experiences. Cycles that play out over a period of one year, several years, thousands of years, even hundreds of thousands of years.

Think of ocean currents, animal migrations, jet stream patterns, storm patterns, the position of the sun, large scale weather patterns, climate changes, solar cycles, etc.

I don't see how this would effect the genetic code before birth, though. Our bodies are remarkably adaptable, but within the framework of the genetic code that we inherited from our parents.

That being said, there are many mysteries in science--particularly in biology. Even many things known to be true that have no good scientific explanation.

For example, how do bees navigate? No matter how meandering a course they take from their hive, they always make a "bee line" for home. How do many animals navigate, for that matter? Many animals are migratory, but only after a certain age. What sets off the desire to migrate? How do they find where they're going? How do they even know where to go? The mechanism remains unexplained.

But I do think Cachinnator has hit on something. I would be willing to bet anything that a detailed study of various astrological personality profiles would yield many contradictions.

It's fun to wonder what-if, though.

Seth Ward said...

Stan, the science fiction story kicks serious arse.

Would you be interested in a co-write?

I think that would be a total blast. Let us begin the process if you are.

About the astrology stuff. I think I'm over it.

There are similarities in personalities across the board. This in itself is mysterious. The question of "what about people born at the same time of year" that will probably always be a mystery to us if there is anything at all to it and something in me(just a small part) says that there is.

I have a friend that was born on the same birthday. We didn't know each other till a few years ago but we have some FREAKY things in common. Same favorite authors, same favorite Led Zeppelin song. (Obscure song), same favorite Liszt composition (and this person doesn't even play the piano and became obsessed with the b minor sonata about the same time that I did. Whats even weirder is that Liszt was born 2 days before we were!!!) among many other. These similarities are striking. Strange. Explainable? Maybe.

Most if not all of the similarities in the signs are probably a combo of the power of suggestion and personality types that are explainable via psychology.

However, I do think there is something mysterious about man and destiny that we cannot see or know. Something about his nature and its relationship to time and the universe the he has always tried to reclaim or grasp since the fall. A balance, or harmony. I believe that Astrology and all other mystical religions are bad attempts at reclaiming that. We work at minimum capacity in our physical existence. The spirit and flesh are constantly at war and that war brings the worst confusion. The spirit is WAAAY ahead of the flesh's ability to understand things and that is one reason why He intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. There are things that we need that we don't even know we need. Like there are things working in our bodies bioligically that we could never comprehend all at once.

I think someday we will be able to look up at the starry firmament, see the harmony and beauty and know all that we need or will ever want to know. Not necessarily from the pattern of stars, but from the harmony of all life and the responsibility over it that we have been given.

Seth Ward said...

However, I am still interested in the various accounts of "different" religions seemingly working congruently with Christianity or Judaism, and in the case of the Magi, in a kind of harmony. THAT is extremely puzzling to me.

I TOTALLY forgot about Saul, the Witch and Samuel. What a bizarre story.

(sounds like a book...)

MamasBoy said...

I don't think I'm comfortable with reading a horoscope, even for fun to light-heartedly look for similarities. My great-grandma wouldn't even leave the house if her horoscope was bad. Reading a horoscope for fun strikes me as dabbling in divination, kind of like visiting a palm reader or soothsayer just for fun. As a general rule, I'd say its safer for one's soul to not even go there. Scripture and the catechism seem pretty clear that divination isn't something one want to fool around with.

I'm not saying that your questions or intentions are bad. I'm just not comfortable doing something as subjective and subject to chance as reading my horoscope/sign and looking for parallels in my own life. A study by a social scientist/psychologist would be safer for my soul. If one were to promote such dabbling, I'm afraid that too many people would take it too far and do damage to their souls.

And that's from a guy who lights candles and prays for dead people.

MB

PS: I had friends growing up who believed that God had written the Gospel in the stars, kind of like a form of divine revelation that was set in stone and referred to Jesus, not one personally. I haven't heard this much since, but as a concept I'm not sure that would necessarily be classified as divination. I bring it up because it seems to relate to the magi and there are in fact verses that can be interpreted as referring to the zodiac (e.g., Psalm 19:5 referring to Virgo and (i think) Leo). My friends claimed that all the constellations in the mazzaroth/zodiac had Jewish names any many referenced the Messiah. Anyway, I'm not sure what to make of all that, but I thought I'd throw it out there with the distinction that it doesn't strike me necessarily as divination, though it seems to come awfully close. On the plus side for the theory, it seems to try to reconcile/interpret OT verses which refer to stars when AD literature (including the NT) seems to ignore them for the most part.