Why does it seem that so many guys swear off religion but live by astrology?

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    Aug 01, 2007 7:38 PM GMT
    Anyone notice that many of the discussion threads on here are full of random references like "but since I am a classic Libra..."?

    There are a lot of anti-religion threads, responses, etc. And I hear a lot of stories about people's sexuality leading to estranged feelings regarding whatever religion they were taught when younger... But what's up with all the astrology? Aren't the two awfully similar? Actually, isn't astrology even more far fetched?

    I'm a libra myself, but delight in reading just about every other horoscope - and the fact is, they ALL could apply to anyone. I know an atheist who insists that his Sagitariusness is the reason he "has a high sex drive".

    I'm starting to get a bit testy hearing all the "geminis" implying that their astrological birth sign is the reason for their multifaced personality, the saggitarians blah-blahing about how they are known to be particularly horny, etc.

    I don't get it. Is some of what I am observing just because people reject religion because they are taught it, but embrace star signs because they choose to on their own? What do you guys think? Does anyone else find this rather odd?
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    Aug 01, 2007 9:14 PM GMT
    very interesting point. I think a lot of people reject religion because they think it is just a way to gain power and oppress people. This way they can have some kind of faith outside themselves, but still pretend they are above petty religious things.

    That said, I don't know any atheists who are astrologists.
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    Aug 01, 2007 9:47 PM GMT
    There's a huge difference between those silly sun sign horoscopes in the newspaper and a detailed natal chart done by a serious astrologer. Over the years, I've had my chart done a number of times by professional astrologers (all using Vedic astrology, a.k.a. Jyotish, which uses the sidereal zodiac instead of the tropical zodiac used in western astrology), and they've been very accurate.

    In fact, when I walked into Chakrapani's office almost 20 years ago, he took one look at me and told me that my birth time is wrong because if I were a Sagittarius rising, I'd look older. He did the chart with the time I gave him, and it was clearly that of another person. Interestingly, Chakrapani and another astrologer, independently of each other, both came up with the same rectified birth time (55 minutes later than the time on my birth certificate.)

    As for astrology being far-fetched, I think it depends on how you look at it. Personally, I don't think of astrology in terms of some planet, millions of miles away, exerting some kind of force or influence on my life. I think of the patterns of the planets and constellations as being like a clock that tells the quality of time rather than the quantity of time.
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    Aug 01, 2007 10:13 PM GMT
    Astrology was arguably the first psychology. It was also intimately related to the Neoplatonic revival of the early Renaissance, particularly in the figure of Marsilio Ficino, whose Florentine Academy, sponsored by the Medicis, had enormous impact on Renaissance art.

    Ficino's astrology was a means of active imagination. It understood the aesthetic function of the psyche -- the way our minds spontaneously create and respond to images. Many of the works under Ficino's direction, including Botticelli's, are specifically designed to evoke contemplation upon astrological images.

    Like alchemy, astrology has undergone a dumbing-down process. Both were understood as metaphorical in most respects but it's now impossible to talk about either without people literalizing everything about them.
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    Aug 02, 2007 12:03 AM GMT
    that's the zodiac thing - right? don't believe it, don't go near it.

    NICK
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    Aug 02, 2007 1:05 AM GMT
    Read my post in the 'is anybody still religious' thread and you will know what I think about it.
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    Aug 02, 2007 1:07 AM GMT
    It is remarkable what a load of bollocks people are able to swallow. Which is probably, on balance, rather a good thing.
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    Aug 02, 2007 1:12 AM GMT
    The zodiac is idolotry. My Ouija Board told me so. My magic 8 ball confirmed it.
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    Aug 02, 2007 1:46 AM GMT
    What about your sweet little dog's entrails?
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    Aug 02, 2007 2:23 AM GMT
    If we're using the old ways, I prefer oenomancy, haha. That wat we can tell fortunes and get drunk afterwards :-p
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    Aug 02, 2007 3:00 AM GMT
    OW makes some interesting points.

    ... On the other hand, are you going to trust a guy who's making faces at a frilly lizard?

    Yeah. My thoughts -exactly-.



    Being serious, though, I don't really believe in astrology in general. But I do like to read my fortune cookies...

    And, come to think of it, my sister had one a month or so ago that said, 'you will find love soon,' and believe it or not, she met her first boyfriend ever not long after that.


    ... oh my God, do you know what this means?

    I HAVE TO GO EAT MORE FORTUNE COOKIES.
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    Aug 02, 2007 3:20 AM GMT
    "... On the other hand, are you going to trust a guy who's making faces at a frilly lizard?"

    Can't keep your eyes off my lizard, can you, Twink?

    Hey, I am not defending astrology. I'm just making the point that it is understood very differently now than it was during the Renaissance, when it was a method of active imagination.

    I took a weird class as part of my doctoral studies that included a day of guest lecturing by a "leading astrologer," Rick Tarnas, who wrote The Passion of the Western Mind. It was a class in Jung's psychology. Jung had been interested in astrology but abandoned it.

    I was furious about having to sit through the class. We were assigned to get our "charts" for that day off astro.com, an interesting site.

    So I got mine and I was stunned. It was an amazingly accurate depiction of my mood that day and generally described what was going on in my life at the time. I mean, I was seriously shaken by how accurate it was. It was quite insightful.

    But then I noticed something.

    I had entered my birthdate wrong; apparently it was the birthdate of the last user of the computer I pulled the chart off of. The chart, which so accurately described me, wasn't even mine!

    This is actually why Jung abandoned astrology. He concluded that it was completely projective, that the mind of the subject "ordered the stars," so to speak, in the same way a Rorshach takes different forms for different individuals.

    So that's why it's crap as science. However, the way I unconsciously used it, basically as active imagination, did help me see at a deeper level why I was so incredibly annoyed that I was being subjected to a day of teaching about astrology.
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    Aug 02, 2007 3:28 AM GMT
    For the record, OW, how many weird classes have you taken in your life?
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    Aug 02, 2007 3:34 AM GMT
    I don't believe that "so many guys live by astrology...". I believe that people humorously refer to their signs (I am an Aries, for instance), but that's different than checking astrological charts each day, and actually believing that there is a cause and effect between astrological configurations and human behavior.

    But even if it were so, assuming that there is some scientific connection between astronomical configurations and moods/behavior...that's a lot different than worshipping a supreme being who makes up many apparently nonsensical rules (really, guys, what supreme being would care a hoot about who fucks whom?).

    Belief in religion and belief in astrology are not comparable choices.
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    Aug 02, 2007 3:37 AM GMT
    "For the record, OW, how many weird classes have you taken in your life?"

    Why? Define "weird."
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    Aug 02, 2007 3:41 AM GMT
    Im a catholic but I think astrology has no effect on it. i find it to be a useful tool. ?Its like anything and not always on the dot but yeah to a degree i do consider it a point in my life. I mean just look at my post about Aquarian men. = ]
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    Aug 02, 2007 4:10 AM GMT
    Well when you press me, weird can be many things, but maybe off-the-wall would to better or I don't know, but you seem to use the word quite often as related to experiences, input, and education you have had, at least if my memory serves correctly -- which I failure of I admit is a distinct possibility. I suppose the question would fall under the 'eclectic' nature of you personality.

    As far as astrology I think I'm a gemini, my birthday is 06/21/75, but I've been told otherwise by some all-knowing, or not knowing individuals, so as far as that is concerned I'm not even sure what I am.
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    Aug 02, 2007 4:27 AM GMT
    Well, WRE, I am drawn to the odd and unusual and have been since I was a child. Psychology and journalism have in common a fascination with oddity, character, narrative. What is peripheral, in my view, usually discloses more meaning than what claims to be at the center of things.

    Usually I supply the word "weird" in anticipation of other people's reactions.
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    Aug 02, 2007 4:44 AM GMT
    Yes, I'm sure you are drawn to the odd and unusual OW. And maybe that was my point, the odd and unusual is like a magnet for you.
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    Aug 02, 2007 4:49 AM GMT
    Would you not say the same of a physician?
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    Aug 02, 2007 5:03 AM GMT
    Oh, I'm fascinated with religion OW, and the rest of the metaphysical, but don't believe it or astrology either in a scientific sense, but maybe it's just my mystic with you and your ancientness, whatever that may, but you seem to have involved yourself and exerienced much of what is beyond the usual and normal.
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    Aug 02, 2007 5:57 AM GMT
    I Agree with (fastprof) no suprise to me, being I agree with most things an aries thinks about or says. Im Aquarius and Im a firm beliver and lover of astrology. Its the only thing that has ever told me what happend in my childhood was supposed to happen. It was literally in the book exactly the tabbo thing that occured in my family and broke us all apart. Turn the page to read a diffrent aspect and it was totally diffrent scenario.

    Get your charts done if you really want to know. Astro.com is a great starter site that I praise for giving so much good information for free. Where other sites sadly make it strckly business which is sad.

    If everyone studied it further than the funnies in there local newspaper. You would see how much people can benifit from it. I pardon most the annoying things my family, X boyfriend, friends and some co workers do after studing there charts. Because you really see that is who the person is supposed to be. I argue so much less with people. The aspects in a chart or your chart are the deepest most informative parts of astrology. Not your horoscope. Its like flying over the city of las vegas and saying yove been there.


    Before you say you dont believe, nothing is meant to be 100 percent true. Astrology is not gonna tell you how many calories are gonna be in the next meal you eat. And its up to you to decipher most of the lost in translation astrology text. It will pretty much in my observations tell you close to 80 to 85%.

    The person that posted this topic is a libra and being libran by weighing the simalarities or not so similarities of these two subjects. I could bring up so many connections ive found that signs are the way they are. Everyone has a place and something to teach. Frankly that makes me feel so much better about being here. For what ive gone through, Im greatful to the universe that IT put some answers in the sky for those of us inspired enough to look up and pay attention.

    If it wasnt for astrology giving me a sense of something greater putting the things that happend in my life into my life. I honestly dont think i would feel like continuing.




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    Aug 02, 2007 6:01 AM GMT
    I actually haven't noticed people using astrology on this site other than that one guy who said his mother was a mystic or something. I'd say a reason people believe in astrology and not other superstitions is to put it simply, people are dumb and we want to believe there are answers to the unanswerable. We believe what we want to and if one type of superstition throws you out for being a "sinner", why not find shelter in another. Gay people are just as susceptible to superstition as any other person. Thats one possibility. As far as the reason people believe in astrology in general, here is a decently put together reason.

    http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/skepticism/blfaq_astro_psych.htm
  • NickoftheNort...

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    Aug 02, 2007 10:14 AM GMT
    *rolls up sleeves*

    (as it is approximately five-thirty in the morning and I am suffering from six-hour jetlag, this will consist of bullet-points)

    - many religions and, more specifically, institutions that claim a basis in religious beliefs have persecuted and continue to persecute homophilic persons

    - I do not know of any anti-gay strains of astrology (would we include persons who use astrology as a basis for their discrimination? that would have been consistent with the dislike of "religion"); quite frankly, I don't know of any strains of astrology other than what comes with our mainstream

    - much of the gay "anti-religion" movement stems from the persecution we endure at the hands and mouths of the self-proclaimed religious; they attack us, they hurt us, and our inner bitch doesn't want to take it laying down (insert whichever joke you wish here...yes, I am aware of my unintentional double entendres :-) )

    - being "anti-religion" does not necessarily entail being anti-superstition; along this line, astrology provides a comfortable back-up in establishing the kind of existence-narrative so many among us desire; it provides people with reasons and justifications, as well as a trust that everything happens for some (presumably benign) reason

    - frankly, being persecuted and attacked pushes many of us toward seeking explanations; we want to know why we are suffering, and are not content with there just being patriarchal jackasses, resulting in no meaning for our stories

    Personally, I am atheist because I have faith in the mundane, the lacking narrative, and the "what the hell? things just happen" structure. I find astrology to be a cute occasional diversion, but don't put any more trust into it than as a whimsical indulgence.

    My "anti-religion" streak comes from my frustration over the attacks against myself, my gay brethren, and the attacks against whoever does not control the religion in question. I also have an inner streak of holier-than-thou with regards to being atheist and a moralist (especially against people who claim to be atheist when they are really agnostic or just going through a crisis-of-faith; atheism is not "park", it is its own set of gears)

    Once again, I blurt myself onto the forum...oh toodles!
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    Aug 02, 2007 10:59 AM GMT
    "Oh, I'm fascinated with religion OW, and the rest of the metaphysical, but don't believe it or astrology either in a scientific sense, but maybe it's just my mystic with you and your ancientness, whatever that may, but you seem to have involved yourself and exerienced much of what is beyond the usual and normal."

    I was programmed in part by my upbringing. My father's family founded a community near Philly for a mystical religion, Swedenborgianism. Although my father was brought up there, my mother would not live there (thankfully), and we moved South when I was very young. We did some years spend half the year there. No, it isn't totally weird shit but it is pretty unique. Jake Gyllenhaal was raised a Swedenborgian.

    My grandparents, both concert musicians, hosted a lot of interesting people. It's only been in recent years that I've become aware how much I was influenced by their religion.

    Also, one of my writing gigs for a few years was exploration of alternative spirituality. I burned out quickly.

    But I'm more interested in psychological oddity than spiritual shit.