Is Astrology or the Belief in UFOs a Religion?
First I wish to thank the artist that granted me permission to use the above illustration which comes from the cover of a 1979 edition of his book "The Round Art":
© World Rights A. T. Mann (www.atmann.net)
The subjects of astrology and UFOs have been a part of my studies for many years. The reason for this was not only that both topics intrigued me, but that they held promise as a branch of science. Astronomy actually has its roots in astrology. Or put another way, astronomers in the days of Galileo and Kepler were both scientists and soothsayers. Either subject also lends itself well to people who have an interest in collecting data and to then try and make sense of that gathered information. I have an interest in historical seismology for similar reasons.
Another quality I have that comes in handy with studying these subjects is a mathematical mind. Chess was a part of my life at a fairly early age and I played a pretty good game, but didn't have the dedication to become great. Although I am not the most practical person in the world I felt it more useful to try and solve the mysteries of the World rather than to learn more than a dozen chess openings and endings in depth and to spend my time practicing the game till my life was spent. Attempting to Solve life's puzzles was more interesting and rewarding as well in my opinion.
Also, if I were ever to share my discoveries as a chess player, only other chess players would be able to make sense of it. Explorations into life's mysteries on the other hand is interesting and rewarding reading for just about anybody. It is fascinating to me to make connections to matters in life that one normally wouldn't think were related, such as the solar cycle or astrology with earthquakes or UFOs. That reminds me, I haven't dug into the subject of astrology and UFOs very deeply, but I likely will in the near future.
It is now time to get closer to what this little article is all about. It may be true that you have to believe in the precepts of a religion to be religious or a follower of the guiding principles that are its foundations. You can't be an adapt without believing in its philosophy, but it takes more than just belief to be a disciple. One has to have moral conviction to dedicate one's life to the core principles of that religion. To find purpose in religion or to have a calling is to gain a positive direction leading to nirvana or a superlative existence.
That said, I don't see how either the belief that UFOs ("Other Worldy Aerial Phenomena" might be better) are real, or that astrology works a good deal of the time can be equated with being a religion. But here are both at hubpages.com, located under the heading of "Religion and Philosophy". Astrology can seem more like a religion because it has what could be perceived as the Sun God, the Moon God, the angelic planets, and with the earth representing ourselves. But I see astrology as a road map to guide us through our lives about 40% of the time, not as a bible. Belief in the UFO phenomena is even less of a guiding principle. The only thing it teaches us perhaps is that we are not alone or that there is more to life than is dreamt of in the philosophy of the average person. For some it also opens a can of conspiratorial worms.
So if neither of these subjects are true religions what are they? Are they a science? Well, not officially, yet. But with a lot of effort it may be possible to have at least one of these two graduate to that level. For astrology, the most I feel it can gain is more respect as a combination art and aid to social interaction and understanding. And for the subject of UFOs, it has the religion or cult tag, or conspiratorial theorist tag, to overcome before it can ever hope to find its way into the acceptable scientific realm. The death of J. Allen Hynek and the retirement of Jacque Vallee hasn't helped that field attain that level of acceptability.
One thing that a religion should do is to unite its followers to its surroundings. To make oneself feel at peace and connected to other fellow beings is an important guiding principle in all true religions. If the subject of your belief is making you more disconnected from the world around you then it is an anti-religion. It may even be considered anti-science if your belief system rejects or flies in the face of science. It is my belief that just because science rejects the tenets of your beliefs doesn't justify you to reject science or to become its enemy. As Deep Throat once said wisely in the X-Files: "Always keep your friends close... but keep your enemies closer." But more accurately I think, it should be paraphrased as: "If you perceive someone to be your enemy, better to have them think you're their friend." Or put another way: "Two wrongs don't make a right." Or even as Jesus professed: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." So invite those scientists and skeptics (or even aliens) in for milk and cookies, just like they were Santa Claus.
Perhaps the best way to put it is that if we all saw things through a more positive spiritual light than we instinctively or impulsively would do, then we all could get along. The belief in UFOs doesn't teach us that, but astrology may come closer. It can be an ally for us towards the attainment of a higher purpose.
© 2011 Joseph Ritrovato