What a Solar Eclipse Signifies in Different Religions


The predominant sentiment around the solar eclipse is doom and gloom.

Today, August 21, an eclipse will darken the skies above the United States. It will last for about two minutes as the moon crosses paths between the Earth and the sun. The moon's shadow will fall on Earth. Those whose residence or work area is within the 70-mile wide path across a total of 14 states will enjoy a total solar eclipse. For others who live beyond the primary zone, they will witness a partial solar eclipse. Today is the first time a complete solar eclipse has crossed North America in almost 100 years.[/tweetit]

What a Solar Eclipse Signifies in Different Religions[/tweetthis]

Solar eclipses are believed to have negative connotations throughout human history. They are regarded as omens or divine warning signs. Almost every religion has imposed its take on it. Every religion imposed the thought that the sun's sudden disappearance was a mystery which only the gods may explain. Even in the modern age, when science has succinctly described the mechanism of the solar eclipse, it continues to be a special occasion of significance.

According to John Dvorak, who authored the book, Mask of the Sun: The Science. History and Forgotten Lore of Eclipses, the phenomenon has always been regarded as a harbinger of doom. However, a religious subtext also says that eclipses are a way of showing God's infinite power. Dvorak said signs in the sky are a part of the Christian narrative. He pointed out that in the Gospels, the star of Bethlehem was sighted when Jesus was born and when he died, the light of the sun also faded with him.

Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of famed evangelist Billy Graham, said that she does not expect anything to happen due to the eclipse. However, she does not rule out any special event, saying that Gospel of Matthew does not reveal when Jesus will return to this world. Curiously, in her blog post, she said the anticipated event can be construed as a warning of God's judgment and the almighty is angry at the United States for what she calls, “grievous national sins” such as, same-sex marriage and legalized abortion.

It's not only Christians who look up in the sky during an eclipse, Jews do the same. According to Rabbi Menachem Posner, a Jewish scholar with the Judaism website Chabad.org, specific blessings exist for earthquakes and rainbows and many more, but no blessings are provided for eclipses. The rabbi said the Talmud views both lunar and solar eclipses as “kind of a negative time. Although there is a notion of there being messages perhaps from the heavenly bodies and all that, people do not at all see it as dictating our future or dictating what is going to happen to us.”


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