We close today’s coverage of the relevant religion beat with a perspective on an interesting discussion over at “Gene Expression,” one of the Discover Magazine blogs. They’re puzzled by the finding that
… within the results it seems rather clear that the gap between liberals and conservatives is most evident amongst the religious of both! In other words, secular liberals and conservatives tend to agree (and be skeptical) in relation to astrology. While religious conservatives are skeptical of astrology, as one would expect from orthodox conservative Christians, religious liberals are not. (Razib Khan, “The liberal religious and astrology,”August 28, 2011)
Some of us aren’t sure why they’re puzzled.
First, the astrology finding is quite similar to another recent finding that liberals in general are more likely to believe in space alien visits. In other words, the astrology finding probably isn’t discordant.
Second, religious conservatives (or traditionalists) take seriously the fact that astrology became discredited as a science in recent centuries. Put simply, early astronomers supposed – reasonably, based on what they knew – that the influences of the moon, stars, and planets affect life on Earth intimately. They cast horoscopes for kings – on marriages, births, and wars – for that reason.
The technology to understand why astrology was valueless only became available in recent centuries. Among the orthodox, belief in astrology then crashed because it came to be seen generally as occult lore, therefore forbidden. However, the growth of liberal religion meant, among other things, a growth in permissible interest in occult knowledge. Including an actual increase in the number of people who credit astrology, compared to a century ago. Today, a surprising number of university students credit it.
Follow UD News at Twitter!