> trac ki n g s p i r i t u a l t r e n d s i n t h e 2 1s t ce n t u r y
v o l u m e 1 8 : 1 0 ( 1,1 4 6 ) / M a r c h 6 , 2 0 1 3

In this issue:
contrasting astrological systems atheists?
ASTROLOGY - summaries of FREAK FILE - a British church for

JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES - an uncritical review of Gunnar Samuelsson’s Crucifixion in Antiquity
Publisher: Apologia • www.apologia.org Contact: ar.feedback(at)apologia.org Post Office Box 7112 Pueblo, CO 81007 Phone: (719) 225-3467 Editor: Rich Poll Contributing Editor: Paul Carden
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ASTROLOGY “An Indian Test of Indian Astrology” by Jayant V. Narlikar — especially significant for its helpful summaries of contrasting astrological systems. “In the world of astrology, India has many claims to fame. It has an astrology fundamentally different from both Chinese and Western astrology.” An endnote here speaks of “the Indian astrology still in use today, which exists in numerous schools disagreeing over details (most schools of astrology, Indian or Western, disagree over details). The main differences from Western astrology are a preoccupation with reincarnation and karma, use of the sidereal zodiac instead of the tropical zodiac (they now differ by nearly one sign due to precession), exclusion of the non-classical planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto in favor of the two lunar nodes Rahu and Ketu, use of twenty-seven lunar mansions or nakshatras, and progressively smaller and smaller subdivisions of the signs.” Continuing the Indian claims to astrological fame, Narlikar notes that India has “possibly more partand full-time astrologers than in the rest of the world put together, and the world’s longest-running English astrological monthly (The Astrological Magazine (1985-2007) <www.astrologicalmagazine.com>. Its main government funding agency, the University Grants Commission, provides support for ... courses in astrology in Indian universities.” In reference to reincarnation, another endnote adds: “According to ancient Hindu texts, each believer has 8,400,000 rebirths from which they are released only by attaining enlightenment.” Narlikar then calculates the vast amount of time, if taken literally, that all those rebirths might require one soul to complete. Narlikar describes the extremes to which Indian lives are driven by astrological advice. He follows this by explaining that “Western astrologers are generally taught that astrology is nonfatalistic and therefore not a good bet for predicting events. Indian astrologers hold the opposite view, and every astrologer worthy of the name must be able to make such forecasts. Unfortunately, these predictions do not carry any controls. ... “Indian astrologers often make extreme

claims about [ancient] Indian astronomy....” Narlikar provides examples of this, climaxing with an example which ‘implies that the shadows cast on ancient sundials were routinely positioned to better accuracy than a hundred millionth of the diameter of an atom. Even at night.” (I’d say that qualifies as “extreme,” wouldn’t you? - RP) “Indian astrology is more complex than Western astrology, with countless authoritative aphorisms to cover every possible situation. Indeed, the few Western authors who have described it for Western use have typically required decades of study before proceeding. ... “And there is no Western equivalent to the ways in which those authoritative aphorisms can be modified via suitably chosen amulets, mantras, colors, gemstones ..., and by performing yajnas (a spiritual ceremony involving offerings to fire performed by a Hindu priest).” A caption beneath a diagram of South Indian, North Indian, and Western system components such as signs and houses reads: “Indian horoscopes are a different shape from Western horoscopes, and their signs, houses, and aspects are calculated differently. They also differ in how they are interpreted. A Western-style interpretation focusing on the owner’s personality and motivations would be rejected in India, where clients expect fortune telling.” Narlikar goes on to describe Indian Nadi astrology, computerized horoscopes, and astrology as an emphasis in Indian government and education in some detail. He also presents a summary of the spectacular astrological prediction failures in India. “In the West, books critical of astrology are not hard to find, but in India the reverse is true.” Narlikar notes two “excellent” though unavailable books1 as examples of the latter, and adds that “all are hampered by a lack of Indian tests with which to counter true believers.” He also recommends <www. astrologyandscience.com>. To help rectify the need for Indian tests mentioned above, Narlikar concludes his essay by describing “a controlled test that my colleagues and I conducted recently.” He then summarizes: “Our experiment
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.ow.ly/ie0PQ>.com>. 99 pages) <www.. as the group is called.” <www. 2010. Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions of Crucifixion.. “The more I came to realize this point. 336 pages) <www.org/si> Apologia Report is available free of charge and sent to you once a week via email.com/ApologiaReport . Or.6 FREAK FILE And it came to pass that a group of atheists in the UK decided to create a church for people of their own persuasion. “Many will no doubt feel uncomfortable with the author’s terminological minimalism. which I believe ironically pointed to the very God of creation that the church was disavowing.csicop... Samuelsson’s work “casts no doubt on the reality of the death of Jesus. by David W. by S.ow.1 4 6 ) / M a r c h 6 .”5 William Lane Craig has given a general.facebook. pp72-74) by Dick France reports that. Narlikar calls it “The best single survey of both Indian and Western astrology.ly/ ihLHe> 4 .’ So the question is what was a cross. “Church isn’t about music. . it all depends on where you place the emphasis: he is not saying ‘Jesus may not have died on the cross’ but ‘Jesus may not have died on the cross. Podanus 641023. If you thought you knew what a ‘cross’ was . and [another] team of astrologers judging 200 horoscopes.Crucifixion. <www. Premanand B.ly/idVuG>.Skeptical Inquirer (anti-supernaturalist).ly/ihKL4> SOURCES: Periodicals 5 .” 1b . 156 pages) — also unfound by us. Harry Cliff — a researcher at the University of Cambridge and super particle physicist from CERN <www.S. the service shifted to the talk. be prepared to be surprised..ow. “Few except specialists will want to read all the research. Balachandra Rao (Navakarnataka [Bangalore]. .htm Search back issues at: www.. eds. well-presented. are simply trying to fill the void of their design and purpose without actually knowing how. “It seemed that most people were there for . by Martin v o l u m e 1 8 : 1 0 ( 1.ly/iejhC> 3 .ow..tinyurl.ly/ iswtt> JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES Crucifixion in Antiquity: An Inquiry into the Background and Significance of the New Testament Terminology of Crucifixion.Astrology: Believe It or Not?. and will wish to claim that many of the ancient texts do in fact provide evidence for something very like what we call ‘crucifixion. Church isn’t even about getting together in community to get your felt needs met.tinyurl.. “After some singing. 1977.Crucifixion in Antiquity: An Inquiry into the Background and Significance of the New Testament Terminology of Crucifixion.” Kyle Beshears reports: “The Sunday Assembly <www.. and it ended in an extended death struggle.” Skeptical Inquirer. Cliff delivered a great talk... paperback. showed that none were able to tell bright children from mentally handicapped children better than chance. by Gun- APOLOGIAreport nar Samuelsson (University of Gothenburg)3 — as you might suppose. It is careful.. paperback. Chapman’s book. . Mar/Apr ‘13..ly/ie3Vz> SOURCES: Monographs 1a .” Samuelsson “understands crucifixion to be ‘a suspension. by Gunnar Samuelsson (Mohr Siebeck. what we Christians like to call fellowship and worship...’ but at least we can no longer plead that we were not warned how slippery the ancient vocabulary for ‘suspension punishment’ actually is. “It was given by the (wonderfully articulate and intelligent) guest speaker. Chapman (Baker. ow. it isn’t about making people feel happy. ow.. rather brief response on the subject: <www.. Bhatty M.. 2 0 1 3 Hengel3 and David W. pp45-49.. 2000.. 2011.ly/iswi2>.Evangelical Quarterly.Astrology: Science or Ego-trip?. The Indian Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (10 Chettipalayam Road.... a completed or intended execution on a pole.astrology (continued) with twenty-seven Indian astrologers judging forty horoscopes each. with Christian hindsight [assuming] the sort of cross we are familiar with. As he puts it. and how did it work. only on the specific means of his execution. India).ow. Evangelical academics specializing in textual criticism have given Samuelsson specific attention: <www. 357 pages) <www. .. but have since yearned for a return to them. “Why? Because Cliff ’s talk sounded an awful lot like .com/archive-apologia Follow Us on Facebook: www. & Risbud M.ly/ie1Dx>.. the more obvious it became — all of these people — made in God’s image. meets once a month at The Nave in North London for ‘anybody searching for a sense of community. <www.4 which was evaluated in Review of Biblical Literature (July. A review in Evangelical Quarterly (85:1 2013. 2 . to meet and “turn good intentions into action. paperback. Also consider Crucifixion.. the Watchtower crowd likes this book: <www. “Church is about Jesus... “People missed the fellowship and worship they left behind in their childhood churches. and as far as I know more comprehensive than any other study of the ancient evidence.. Tamilnadu. com/m8pg77> 6 .Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions of Crucifixion. . Subscribe now to this valuable resource! To subscribe online.. ow.org/htm/subscribe. 2010): <www. go to: http://apologia. “I couldn’t hold back a huge smile. contrary to claims by some in the media. with or without a crossbeam. “They are missing the point entirely. “Samuelsson claims that very many of the supposed ‘crucifixions’ in ancient texts are so labelled by scholars . and it isn’t about instilling wonder. “It soon becomes clear that this will be primarily a study of terminology. community and singing.ow. 1993 — which we couldn’t find. Genesis 1:1-3.sunday assembly. In “My Sunday at an Atheistic Church. by Martin Hengel (Fortress. paperback.”’ ..’ .

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