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Sun May 26, 2013, 03:47 PM

This is what I understand the thesis of Astrotheology to be:

That Greek and Roman mythology, bible stories, "The Greatest Story Ever Told", and even fairly tales are imaginative narrations of observed celestial events. primarily but not exclusively 'the journey of the Sun of God through the Zodiac'. Anyone care to discuss?

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Reply This is what I understand the thesis of Astrotheology to be: (Original post)
Viva_Daddy May 2013 OP
Warpy May 2013 #1
Viva_Daddy May 2013 #2
dimbear May 2013 #3
muriel_volestrangler May 2013 #4
SheilaT May 2013 #5
muriel_volestrangler May 2013 #6
SheilaT May 2013 #7

Response to Viva_Daddy (Original post)

Sun May 26, 2013, 04:25 PM

1. Bored kids sent out to watch the family's flock at night

started making up stories about the stars in the sky.

I think a lot of religions probably started that way.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Mon May 27, 2013, 11:21 AM

2. A more likely scenario:

Ancient man realized that regular seasonal changes on earth coincided with regular changes in the heavens and postulated a "cause and effect" relationship between them. Thus "astrology". Then "professionals" took over and Astrology became a religion.

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Response to Viva_Daddy (Original post)

Mon May 27, 2013, 06:35 PM

3. The best chance for connection to an actual religion would be Mithraism.

Lots of astrological themes in their decorative murals. There's been many gallons of ink spilled considering whether or not they represent the change of astrological house that took place about that time.

Still hotly debated.

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Response to Viva_Daddy (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2013, 07:41 AM

4. Sounds unlikely to me

'Observed celestial events' that you can base stories on are few and far between. For instance, "the journey of the Sun of God through the Zodiac" is not something that a normal person observes; you don't see the stars when the sun is near them. So the concept of this journey means you first have to accurately map the stars along the ecliptic, and record their rising and setting accurately enough to be able to say where the Sun is among them; then someone assigns shapes to the patterns of stars, which, if you are starting from scratch (as opposed to thinking of the myths you already have) is extremely arbitrary, and then you make up a story which has some meaning, you think, about, say, the Sun moving into Aquarius. Then you have to sell that story to the general population who haven't the faintest idea why you're talking about "the Sun moving into Aquarius".

The occasional very noticeable event could easily generate a myth or two - eclipses, comets. The phases of the moon are very obvious, and regular; I could believe stories based on that, I suppose. But they compete with happenings on earth - seasons, weather, animal behaviour, etc. - that are more noticeable. But, most of all, they compete with human stories.

Myths are mainly fables, based on human behaviour - sibling rivalry, over-reaching ambition, warnings of disaster that are ignored, wasting away the wealth you have, and so on. I think it's far more likely that most are just made up to illustrate our behaviour - like novels are now.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #4)

Wed May 29, 2013, 03:35 PM

5. Our distant ancestors spent the major part of their time outside, in nature

 

day and night. It wasn't that difficult to observe things like the changing patterns of the stars through the year. Modern people don't give ancient people sufficient credit for what they knew through direct observation. And when you have no clue about the actual size of the Universe, what stars actually are and how far away they are, you're going to make up good stories to explain stuff.

I constantly have things happen that I know better than to explain as the willful behavior of gods, spirits, whatever. But sometimes I just don't have a rational world explanation. Here's my most recent: About four years ago I bought a 3-disc cd changer/radio. I really liked being able to put in three cds and get music for several hours. For no reason that I could determine the cd player simply stopped working about a year ago. Worse yet, the last three cds I'd put in would not eject. How annoying. I put off buying a replacement since multiple cd-changers seem to be a lost technology these days. A couple of months ago I bought a small cd/clock radio to take with me on a trip, and when I got back home with it I placed it in the living room -- where the other cd player was -- intending to start using it there. Immediately the cd player resumed working. I know because I tried once again to play the cds therein. After a week or so it went back to ejecting the old cds, and now I can play all of my music again. The only thing that hasn't spontaneously fixed itself is the ability of the player to change discs automatically. It's a nuisance, but I can live with it.

I can think of absolutely no good reason why this would happen. If I didn't have my "scientific" understanding of the world it would be very easy to assume that the player was possessed, or that the god of it was angry at me for a time, and that the threat of being replaced made it play again.

Astrology actually makes a great deal of sense given the context in which it was developped. Which is not to say a modern person should still believe in it, but to understand that it helped understand the world and laid the groundwork for modern astronomy is not so bad.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #5)

Wed May 29, 2013, 03:55 PM

6. But this isn't about just noticing star patterns and timing

It's about taking the patterns, then building a story about actual beings on the patterns, and then convincing people to accept the stories as reality, and to make them central in the religion. This is more than "Sirius starts rising in May" (or whenever it is), it's a claim that biblical stories are derived from the patterns of stars.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #6)

Thu May 30, 2013, 01:03 AM

7. I wasn't aware of Biblical stories being based on patterns of stars.

 

Maybe some of them are, but there are an awful lot of stories in the Bible.

People have been telling stories ever since there was language. It's not surprising that some of them have been hardened into supposed truth.

If you want to look at stories that are made up, and then convincing people those are true stories, just look at things like Scientology and Mormonism. Neither of which falls back on astrology, granted, but they are still entirely made up stories that a lot of people take for reality.

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