Astrology has saturated social media, teens are drawn to it believing it is harmless.
Jessie dropped into a chair next to her friend Sarah at the cafeteria table. Pushing her chemistry and math books out of the way, she opened her sack lunch and peeked over Sarah’s shoulder to see what she was scrolling through on her iPhone. She recognized the symbols for the zodiac but didn’t realize astrology had become so popular among her teenage friends. “What are you reading?”
“My horoscope,” Sarah answered, showing Jessie the app. “Look. It tells me my strengths and weaknesses, the best and worst parts of my personality, what my day will be like, the people I connect best with, and even helps me make smart decisions on what I should do. Like if I should go on a date with Todd or not.” She winked at the football player from across the high school cafeteria. “You should give it a try sometime. It’s totally harmless.”
Sarah’s words played on Jessie’s mind all afternoon. That evening, as she stared into her chemistry homework, she wondered about the horoscope that her friend had been reading. She had so many questions about herself, her life, her friendships, and her future after high school. The world felt more uncertain every day. Maybe she’d read just one and see what it said. After all, Sarah had said it was harmless. Right?
Astrology, Zodiac, and Horoscopes
Chances are good that you’re one of the 90% of people who knows their star sign. Astrology and the zodiac have so permeated our culture that whether or not you believe in or practice any form of astrology or read your horoscope, you’re familiar with the concept.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines astrology as “the divination of the supposed influences of the stars and planets on human affairs and terrestrial events by their positions and aspects.”
Astrology began in Babylon around the 2nd millennium before Jesus Christ was born. The Babylonians established a system of twelve constellations, called the zodiac, that interact with the paths of the sun, moon, and other visible planets. They believed that the placements and movements of the heavenly bodies impacted everything that happened here on Earth and even determined human actions and personalities.
They began using a horoscope, a diagram of the positions of planets and zodiac signs at certain times, to determine a person’s character and personality, and predict their life’s events.
Increasing Popularity With Teens
Astrology and the zodiac have spread across the globe in the centuries since. They are still prevalent in our society today. In the 1960s and 70s, the New Age Movement in the United States sparked an interest in astrology. However, astrology has seen a strong resurgence in the last few years and has become increasingly popular among teens and young adults.
Studies show that 65% of people between the ages of 14 and 29 read their horoscope daily. Of those people, 40% believe the zodiac helps make life decisions. Google Trends reported that in 2020, searches for astrology and zodiac birth charts hit record highs. Co-Star has reported that someone in the United States downloads their astrology app every 3-4 seconds.
Paul warns us in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but have itching ears. They will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
What has happened to cause this renewed obsession with the zodiac, and why is astrology so popular with teens?
Why is Astrology So Popular with Teens?
1. It’s Accessible
Our teens can find the zodiac everywhere they turn. Not only can it be found on all types of merchandise at the store, but our teens have it at their fingertips. Celebrities and social media influencers, many of who are teens or young adults themselves, make the zodiac popular among their viewers. Apps like Co-Star and Sanctuary give teens their horoscope at the touch of the screen.
2. It’s Meme-able
Teens and young adults love good memes and are almost obsessed with creating them. The zodiac gives endless opportunities for them to make memes in creative ways.
3. It’s Personalized
Rather than being the generic horoscope that once could be found in the newspaper, apps can now personalize a person’s horoscope and tailor it to each individual. This personalization makes our teens feel seen and understood, even if it stems from an impersonal source.
4. It Gives a Sense of Control
Our world, especially since the pandemic, has been full of stress, fear, and uncertainty about the future. It is a normal human response to want to feel in control of a situation. Psychologist Stephen D. Benning once said regarding astrology, “Having a method of making sense of what might otherwise seem chaotic and uncontrollable would be appealing.” However, the Bible tells us in Isaiah 47 that it is better to put our trust in a God who is in control than in astrologers who cannot even save themselves in a time of need.
5. It’s Comforting
When our teens feel in control or like they know what is coming, they tend to feel comforted. They like to believe there’s hope or feel there is something that they can do to accomplish a particular outcome.
6. It Gives a False Sense of Connection
A teen’s horoscope can create a false sense of connection. Believing that the universe impacts and connects everyone with its movements may help teens feel connected to their peers and the bigger picture. As previously mentioned, the apps that can personalize their horoscope make them feel seen and understood.
7. It Gives a False Sense of Identity
Teens and young adults are at a time when they are trying to figure out who they are and what their purpose is. A person’s zodiac lists their positive and negative traits, strengths and weaknesses, and tells them who they are. However, the things the zodiac tells our teens do not match up with what the Bible tells them about their identity and purpose.
What Does the Bible Say About Astrology?
Astrology has a strong allure and has become popular with teens and young adults. But what does the Bible say about astrology and the zodiac? Is reading our horoscope harmless, as many people claim? And can a person follow Christ and read their horoscope?
The short answer is this: Yes, astrology is harmful, and no, a person can’t follow both Christ and the zodiac.
Astrology, the zodiac, and horoscopes are forms of fortune-telling.
Fortune-telling is a form of witchcraft, of which the Bible makes clear that we are not to take part.
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 says: “Let no one be found among you who… practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist who consults with the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.”
When Paul describes the fruits of the flesh, which are contrary to the fruits of the Spirit, he says, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).
Is It Really That Serious?
Our teens might ask, “Is it really that serious? Is reading my horoscope really that harmful?”
Yes. It is.
When we look back at Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, how did the serpent convince them to take a bite of the fruit? By telling them it was harmless and that, rather than dying, they would “be like God” (Genesis 3:5).
Creating an Idol
In Romans 1:25 (NIV), Paul writes: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things, rather than the Creator….” Those who believe in astrology worship the movements of stars and planets that God created. We are making idols of them rather than trusting the one who created everything and knows us better than we know ourselves.
Giving Our Teens a False Identity
When teens hear or read things about themselves that have nuggets of truth, they pay closer attention. When a horoscope says something that reflects one of their traits or that comes true, our teens begin to believe it is accurate.
The zodiac gives lists of our positive and negative traits. For example, it may tell the teen reading it that they are strong and capable but also that they are stubborn, temperamental, and argumentative.
The zodiac can lead our teens and young adults into a false sense of identity when they believe their horoscope is true. “If my sign says I am like this, then I must be like this.” It’s all too easy to excuse negative traits and behavior because of what appears in one’s horoscope. However, God calls us to greater things and invites us to produce the fruits of the Spirit rather than the fruits of the flesh, and invites us to step into the beautiful identity and sense of worth that He has given us.
When we turn to the zodiac for insights and act on them, we think we know better than God. However, only the Holy Spirit can provide us with true wisdom, knowledge, and discernment. The Bible tells us in James 1:5 that “if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” If that is the case, why do we choose to turn to something else that gives us false wisdom?
When our teens judge their friendships and relationships on their horoscopes, they keep those negative things in the back of their minds. They can become convinced that their relationship will never thrive. Our teens can also miss out on extraordinary relationships with others if they base them on whether the other person is a zodiac sign that suits theirs.
John writes in 1 John 4:1, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Discussion Questions For Your Teens
- What do you believe about astrology, the zodiac, and your horoscope?
- If you read your horoscope, what do you hope to find in it? What does it provide that God doesn’t through His Word and Holy Spirit?
- How do you test whether or not something you read or hear is from God?
- If you read a horoscope, does it help you feel in control? Or would you rather have God in control of the outcome?
- What do you believe your identity to be?
- Do you realize that your friends are watching when you are reading your horoscope? Do you think seeing a Christian reading their horoscope makes God look strong or weak?
Our teens must test what they hear and read every day. The devil and his servants know the spiritual world. However, they cannot be trusted to tell us the truth or keep our well-being in mind. Being in God’s Word and in continual prayer will help our teens to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and know what is truly coming from God.
©2023 by Carol Cuppy. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.