Astrology: True or False – Program 1

By: Tom Warneke, Maxine Taylor, Karen Winterburn, Dr. John Weldon, Dr. Walter Martin; ©1988
What is astrology, and is it credible?

What is Astrology?

John Ankerberg: Welcome! We’re glad that you’ve joined us tonight. Our topic is: “What is the relationship of Astrology to Christianity?” Is astrology credible? And you can see from May 23, 1988, People magazine had a big article on this. And of course, when Nancy Reagan talked about her relationship with her astrologer in California, this also made news in Time magazine. Tonight, we have some people that know this topic and we’re glad that you’ve joined us. And I’m going to come to Ms. Maxine Taylor first, the First Vice President of the American Federation of Astrologers and a practicing astrologer in Atlanta, and I’d like to ask you, Maxine—we’re glad that you’re here, first of all—we’d like to ask you, just define terms: What is astrology?
Maxine Taylor: Well, astrology, as I see it, because each astrologer will define it a little bit differently—just as you know everyone can interpret things differently—the study of astrology is the study of the relationship between God and man. And because each astrologer interprets it differently, to show you that there’s room for all type of thought in astrology, you might be interested in hearing Terry’s definition of astrology.
Ankerberg: Okay, Terry, what’s your definition of astrology?
Terry Warneke: Well, mine would be a great deal different, of course, because of the scientific background, and I would construct a sort of scientific definition that would go something like, “Astrology is a holistic or spacially-oriented science that studies the effects of major astronomical sized objects usually within the solar system in terms of their effects upon specifically-located entities and events on or near the earth’s surface.”
Ankerberg: Okay. Let me give you a couple that I’ve picked out here from other astrologers and just so we get some definitions on the board. “Astrology is the study of the heavens and the influence they exert upon the lives and affairs of humanity.” Another astrologer said, “Astrology is the science of certain cryptic or hidden or mysterious relations between the celestial, the heavenly bodies, and the terrestrial, the earthly life.” Or just a little different side of it is that “Astrology is the science of life’s reactions to planetary vibrations.” There’s a vibration that is emanating from the planets and this has a mysterious effect, supposedly, influence, on people on earth.
Or, even more different than that, and maybe this is where you’re really coming from, “Astrology is the system of interpreting symbols.” And instead of the heavenly bodies, the planets and the stars, actually giving off some kind of influence or energy, no, it’s not an actual, the heavenly bodies are just assigned names and influence by astrologers and correlated to human behavior and activities. I think that covers quite a few of them, but there are still more.
Dr. Martin, astrology is a belief system based on assumptions and primarily that the stars, the planets, the sun, somehow they are mysteriously influencing the lives of men. And there are 40 million Americans that are said to dabble in astrology. And, of all things, the Gallup Poll just came out and said that 10 percent of Evangelical Christians embrace astrology. You don’t. Tell us why you object to astrology, with all of these people and with our friends sitting right next to you, why is it that you object to astrology? Okay, Walter, what do you think?
Dr. Walter Martin: Well, from a biblical perspective, as Professor of Comparative Religion, I would have to say that my reservations about astrology are based upon its origins, its association with polytheism, and the fact that what you’re really getting is an analysis of the characteristics of the gods when they are discussing the various signs of the Zodiac. This can easily be demonstrated and has been for a number of years. Actually, the Oxford English Dictionary gives an excellent definition of this. It says that “Astrology is the art of judging the occult influences of the stars upon human affairs.” And this is where astrology has always been coming from as far as the Christian church is concerned and Judaism is concerned. There’s nothing to be said “good” about astrology in the Old Testament, and it’s connected with polytheism and paganism. And I think if we’re going to deal with it honestly from a Judeo-Christian perspective—and this is a country which espouses that perspective, the United States—then I think it would be a good idea for Western civilization to take a good look at the origin of it and not be misled by the fact that scientific information and other things are brought in an attempt to establish it. Biblically speaking, it’s not compatible with Christianity.
Ankerberg: Terry, you’re shaking your head like you disagree there. Let’s go back to your definition here. Would you agree that astrology is saying that there’s a connection between the whole universe; it’s inner-connected? And that somehow that what is happening in the planets is happening in men—it’s influencing men? Is that how you would put it?
Warneke: Yes. Absolutely. And I certainly would hope that we would be misled by the things that modern science has accomplished. To say that or to suggest that there’s no connection between astrology and Christianity or the Judeo-Christian tradition is simply ludicrous. There are statements, for example, we take one in the Bible in Luke 21:25. When the apostles asked Christ how they will know when the time of the end is near, he answers to them there will be great signs or great portents in the sun, the moon and the stars that tell you when the time is near. Now, there’s an example of Christ using astrology. But not only that, he’s even recommending to his apostles that they use this technique to tell about something to happen in the future.
Ankerberg: Do you really believe that Jesus Christ would use something that is condemned by Moses in the Old Testament?
Warneke: I don’t believe it’s condemned by Moses in the Old Testament.
Ankerberg: Dr. Martin, what do you think?
Martin: Well, that’s ludicrous. First of all, the context of Luke 21 is talking about the end of the ages, there’ll be signs in the sun and the moon, and then he describes them. “The moon will be turned to blood… the sun will be darkened.” That’s your signs. He’s not talking astrology, he’s talking about, you can look up at the terrestrial heavens and you can see this and know immediately that this is nearing the time of the end. Jesus Christ was a rabbi, number one. Two, he was an orthodox rabbi. Three, he said that the greatest of all the authority that we could turn to was the Word of God. He said that Moses wrote of him, and he backed up what Moses said in fulfilling his prophecies—he was the Messiah, the Redeemer of the world.
He had all the knowledge necessary to inform us if astrology was good. So did the apostles. They didn’t. In fact, they backed up Moses in the Old Testament where God lists astrology in Deuteronomy 18 as under his curse specifically. Now, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Hebrew or not, but I have both Hebrew and English here tonight. Deuteronomy 18: “When thou hast entered into the land which the Lord thy God gives thee, there shall not be found in the midst of you anybody who practices divinition, astrology,” and astrology is essentially divination.
A person who is casting a horoscope is saying, “I can tell you something, through the stars, about you, your times, and the future. I can do that through this information.” That is the biblical definition of divination. And the dictionary definition; “The act or practice of foreseeing or foretelling future works or describing hidden knowledge.” “The art or practice of trying to foretell the future or the unknown by occult means.”
Now, you qualify in the Hebrew language and in the Greek language for an occultist. You qualify for condemnation under the law of Moses. Now, I believe that astrologers are sincere because there’s obviously power there, and they’ve tapped into it, and if it’s real for them it’s right. But from a Christian perspective, it can be real and Satanic, and that’s the Church’s perspective.
Ankerberg: What do you think?
Taylor: John, I’d like to jump in here. I’m sorrowful, I think. I know that you’re very sincere in what you’re saying. Years ago when I first became involved in astrology I went to a minister, a priest, and a rabbi, because I was very concerned about what I might be doing. Particularly so since I’ve been involved in the legalization [of] the practice of astrology in Atlanta.
And when I went to the rabbi—since you brought up the Jewish heritage—I’ll never forget this. I went to his study, and he had a book just like you see in old… huge book; black book. He dusted it off; it was covered with dust. And he opened it up and dusted it off, and I thought, this is like in a movie. And he started translating, because I don’t read Hebrew, and what he was translating was the definition as I had studied it of the planet Saturn. And he was reading in Hebrew, right to left. And I said, “What book is that that you’re reading.” And he said, “This is from the Kabbala, which is the mystical, the spiritual book, that only rabbis are permitted to use. This is taught to them in what they call the Yeshiva where the rabbis study. This is not given out to the common people. He said, “This is the basis of the spiritual interpretation of Judaism. And then he asked me if I would do his horoscope.
Now, in Judaism, I understand, they have—just as in Catholicism and just as in Christianity—a division. There are those people who are for it and there are those people who are against it. When I saw that rabbi reading from this book, it just blew me away. And then when he asked me to do his horoscope, I said, “Now, is this contrary to your religion?” And this rabbi said, “Absolutely not,” and quoted Rabbi Ben Akiba Now, I don’t know who Rabbi Ben Akiba is, but this man is a learned rabbi, and I take his word that it is not against Judaism.
Ankerberg: Walter?
Martin: Forgive me for laughing! The Kabbala is cursed by orthodox Judaism. The Hasidic [spit] on it because they say it’s blasphemy! The Old Testament wants nothing to do with it. And if he did that in Jerusalem, they’d stone him to death! If he could get out alive. So…
Warneke: Doctor, let ask you this…
Martin: Now let me finish…let me finish. You can say whatever you want, but let me finish. The Kabbala is a cursed tradition, condemned by the Old Testament, condemned by the New Testament and by the Christian church. The fact that the rabbi told you that, I know immediately he’s not an orthodox rabbi.
Taylor: He is an orthodox rabbi.
Martin: Then he would be unfrocked if they knew it.
Ankerberg: We’re going to take a break and we’re going to come right back here, and I want to talk to our other two guests as well here. And we have a lady that’s been a practicing astrologer for 12 years and I’d like to ask her a question when we come right back.

 

BREAK
 

Ankerberg: Karen, I want to come to you. You were a practicing astrologer for 12 years in the city of Chicago. You have broken down the definition of astrology into three groups. You think there are three kinds of astrologers that you saw as a practicing astrologer. Tell us what you’re talking about.
Karen Winterburn: Well, when I got into astrology I was a skeptic and I was challenged to “just try it and see if it works.” And I did and it worked immediately. And so I delved into the study of it and with one goal in mind, and that was to find out why it works—because it does work. And the farther along I got in study, the more people at the sort of, shall we say, upper echelons that I met in my area, the more it became clear that astrology that is done well is done in an altered state of consciousness.
There are three levels of astrology, how to do astrology. And this was kind of common knowledge—not something perhaps you would share with a client but something that we all understood among ourselves—that there is psychic astrology; there’s intuitive astrology; and there’s bad astrology. Bad astrology is: serve it up right out of the cookbook—computer can do it or you can do it, and let the chips fall where they may. You don’t have to ask the person anything. You don’t have to get to know them; you don’t have to psyche yourself up or anything.
Intuitive astrology, you don’t need to be psychic for. Sometimes these two overlap, but not necessarily. In intuitive astrology, I meet the person, I converse with the person, find out kind of where they’re at, what their concerns are, you know. Is it relationships? Is it finances? Is it education? Goal in life? What’s the story? And the more I talk with that person and look at their chart, when I have their chart in front of me, I have hundreds of indicators. They all say and indicate different things. Some of them are mutually exclusive and contradictory and others are self-supporting or mutually-supporting within that system. So I can pull out any one of those or any combination of those that refer to where that person’s at right now. And I can begin to read the chart of that person and deal with that person’s character and possible options in life on the basis of that. I can ignore the ones that seem contradictory. Those aren’t operative in the person’s life right now, I’d say.
Then there’s psychic astrology. This is where it’s at. This is where the dramatic successes are in astrology. This is where every astrologer I have ever known who has had dramatic successes say it has led: and that psychic astrology is a matter of you get your information about the person’s character, about the person’s future, about the person’s options—however you want to phrase it—from either your “higher self,” your “god-self,” your “Christ-self,” your “spirit guides,” discarnate entities, however you want to phrase it. There’s an intermediary there. You do not get it from the information before you. That is simply to prime the pump. That is simply to give you something to talk about. It’s a framework which you use verbally when you’re communicating with the client.
Ankerberg: Dr. Weldon, you actually went out to the American Federation of Astrologers [Convention] where Maxine was speaking, I believe, as well as you listened to the other lecturers that were out there and you’ve written your book in light of what was said. Where did you feel that the emphasis was for the astrologers?
John Weldon: Well, the emphasis clearly was on the side of astrology being an occult practice. I talked with approximately 50 astrologers and interviewed about 10 among those 50 in some depth. I took nine courses. And eight of the nine professional astrologers admitted to having spirit guides or to being influenced by spiritism. I examined approximately 300 of the 500 books that were on sale on their book tables quite briefly, and without one exception there was occult philosophy, at least to some degree, in all of them.
And as far as I can see, what we’re dealing with here is… my objection to astrology is that it is in essence an occult system. Historically, it has been accepted as an occult practice. Today, many astrologers accept that it is an occult practice. Most objective independent scholars tie it into the occult. I think that the basic power in astrology—where the genuine self-disclosures, the revelations, come from—is ultimately spiritistic. In fact, a number of former astrologers admit to this. Charles Strohmer in his book, for example, What Your Horoscope Doesn’t Tell You, says that after seven years as a practicing astrologer his conclusion was this was where the real power came from. Almost every other person I talked to at the American Federation of Astrologers Conference, it seemed, was into spirit guides.
You have a number of other corroborating lines of evidence to indicate that astrology is not a science, it is an occult practice. And the reason for concern is that the occult is something that is very dangerous. I’ve studied the occult for 15 years and I’ve written a 400-page text on the hazards of psychic and occult involvement. Today, most people do not know that they’re getting involved in something occult because it’s given a different name. And astrology is one of the easiest ways to get involved in the world of the occult, indeed, almost all occultists accept astrology….
Taylor: Can I ask a question? I need a definition. What do you mean “occult”?
Weldon: I define the occult as involvement with demonic supernaturalism. I believe….
Taylor: Astrology is not occult in that case. There is no demon. There is no supernatural. And John, you didn’t interview me at the AFA, because I would not have said that.
Warneke: Nor me. Nor did you ever have any classes from me. By the way, I might point out this also includes the category of Kepler, Copernicus, Tycho-Brahe, Galileo and Newton. If you don’t believe me that they were all practicing astrologers, read it in their own words. Go to the library where they tell you that astrology is a true science. My background is not Christianity, it’s science.
Martin: If your background is science, how do you explain the fact that for 1500 years the astrologers were casting their horoscopes based on a geocentric universe of Ptolemy. And nothing to do with the heliocentric universe which Copernicus demolished with one paper. Now, if you’re a scientist, you know perfectly well that Copernicus annihilated….
Warneke: But you have not answered my question.
Martin: Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. If you’re a scientist, you know that Copernicus demolished Ptolemy, didn’t he?
Warneke: No, he act… well, the Greeks….
Martin: Oh, come on…..
Ankerberg: You don’t believe in a flat earth.
Warneke: No, the Greeks were quite aware that the sun was the center of the solar system. Ptolemy changed that for a while. All Copernicus did was bring that back. If you read that particular essay that Copernicus wrote, you’ll find that he writes a preface to the pope in that saying that “this is not my idea, it was the original Greek idea.”
Ankerberg: Wait a minute. Are you saying that their views were correct then before Copernicus?
Warneke: No. What I’m saying is that we have a man over here who is trying to speak about astronomy and he knows nothing of astronomy. I am an astronomer.
Martin: Whoa, whoa, whoa! Just a minute now. I didn’t claim to be an astronomer….
Warneke: Well, then you shouldn’t….
Martin: You claimed to be a theologian before. You quoted Jesus Christ and knew nothing about it…
Warneke: Your point is well said. Well taken.
Martin: All I said, my point with you, is that I’m reporting a fact, a scientific fact, that Ptolemy’s concept of the world and astrology based on it was demolished by Copernicus. Is that or is that not true?
Warneke: I would say that’s true, yes.
Martin: That’s all I said.
Warneke: Okay, now let me ask….
Martin: Therefore, I do know something about it, don’t I?
Warneke: Let me explain what that has to do….
Martin: I do know something about it.
Warneke: You know something of it.
Martin: Thank you very much!
Warneke: The old saying “A little knowledge is dangerous.” Let me explain what is going on there. An astrological chart is erected from the earth—not because we believe the earth is at the center of the universe—the point is that it’s a map of the sky from the place and time that a person is born. And since all people have been born on the earth up to this point, the map has to be made from there. So the fact that astrological charts were done before they were aware that the sun was at the center actually made no difference on the astrological interpretation simply because of the fact that you’re drawing a map from earth. As long as they got the sun in the right spot, it would have the same effect as far the astrology goes.
Ankerberg: Before we close, let me ask you a question about what astrologers do. The cardinal signs—Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn—are supposed to be active. This is according to Womack’s 12 Signs, his book on 12 signs. The fixed signs—Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius—are settled; they stand fast. The mutable signs—Gemini, Virgo, Saggitarius, Pisces—are agreeable; they are flexible. I want to know, who told the astrologers that information?
Warneke: That’s a very good question. First of all, you’re doing sun sign astrology, which is not really scientific astrology.
Ankerberg: So you don’t believe in sun sign astrology.
Warneke: No. I really don’t.
Ankerberg: All the astrologers that are practicing that in the newspapers we should forget those guys.
Warneke: Absolutely. As a matter of fact, astrologers frequently debate over whether the publicity that you get from the newspapers outweighs all the difficulties it creates by giving people….
Ankerberg: Maxine, would you agree?
Taylor: On what?
Ankerberg: That sun sign astrology is out in the newspapers? We should throw that out?
Taylor: No, I would not. I have the same feeling that Terry does. I feel that the public is interested in astrology, and if that’s the only information that we can deal with, if that’s the only way that we can explain it. No, it is not true astrology, but it’s better than nothing.
Ankerberg: Wait a minute. Is it dangerous then?
Taylor: No, it is not dangerous.
Ankerberg: You’re just giving false information then.
Taylor: No, I’m not giving false information, or they’re not giving false information. You’re giving a particum of information.
Warneke: You’re dividing the entire world into 12 categories which is obviously…
Ankerberg: So, then, Terry, you would say it’s okay to use that?
Warneke: Well, as I said, it’s a great debate. I don’t really…sometimes I feel that it is, if it’s done very well. The point to keep in mind is that it’s not right or wrong but it’s a tremendous generalization. And anytime you generalize to that extent, you know, if it’s 51% right and 49% inaccurate, you can say it’s “mainly right,” but you begin to wonder whether or not it’s worth it to be that generalized.
Ankerberg: Let’s get into that next week and I hope that you’ll join us because I think it will be an interesting discussion.

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