The only difference between them is artificial.
The political left in the US (liberal, progressive) reflects the overt worship of that amorphous goddess of feminist mythology. The political right (conservative and/or reactionary) is simply covert about it. Both presume a mythology that men-as-males are some flavor of trouble and that women are closer to the presumptive deity. Political debate boils down to the particular balance of power between male versus female.
Even though I wrote a book about it, I still struggle to define the perverse way Satan has suckered us into something that seems real and which mimics in some ways what God created, yet so fundamentally false. At the very least, we note how the West drives the heart-mind into the territory of the subconscious. It seeks to divert the natural dominance of the heart, and the natural reliance of the mind on the heart, into some false state where we simply imagine that our minds rule.
Poll the ostensibly male leadership of conservative social institutions, particularly mainstream evangelical churches, and you’ll find that there is some desperate effort to keep men in charge. They say it should be the natural order, but everything in the structure of the organization presumes otherwise. You should see the propaganda in men’s Bible studies bearing a burdensome presumption that they are somehow obliged to defend manhood. There are no women around to level any kind of accusations, but there is this unconscious pool of feminist presumption that everyone simply accepts as the default. Worse, men are defending a false manhood in the first place.
The fundamental Western image of manhood is the immature boy, the fellow who never quite grows up and could not tie his own shoes without some corrective guidance from a woman. So he climbs out of his mother’s lap and into the lap of his wife. He remains in desperate need of mothering, and as Freud noted, he continues through adulthood seeking to make his wife his mother. Freud was right only because our culture is so very wrong. The only difference between left and right in our day is whether we should assume that men can be tamed or not. In order to rebel against social convention, the man must play the bad boy. He’s still within the same frame of reference.
This is quite the opposite of the Bible. The man of the Ancient Near East (ANE) in today’s social structure simply ignores all the nonsense and rejects the whole narrative. He neither is nor does manhood, but assumes it on a moral level far deeper. He lives it as the fundamental moral truth against a whole world of deception. He might be willing to explain it in terms of manifestation in his own life, but it defies definition and debate. He’ll walk in it because he simply cannot deny reality.
Western women are steered into solipsism. They demand the moral high ground for whatever it is they want at that moment, and only an evil miscreant could possibly argue. She is taught to demand that the whole universe bow at her whims, but redefines them as moral reality. Meanwhile, any man who refuses to go along with her demands is being petulant and irresponsible. She is the manifestation of moral truth itself. She would find an ANE man utterly impossible and dismiss him as uncivilized (even as she is drawn like a magnet to his masculinity).
The ANE as the broad cultural background of the Bible did have a problem with feminine deification, but it was an entirely different kind of mythology. We have almost no words for explaining the difference because the full impact of subconscious assumptions are radical. There were some elements in common with what we see today, but little of that spiteful resentment between the sexes fundamental to Western mythology. Ancient pagan goddess worship still valued manhood for itself as essential to cosmic balance. There was nothing in it aimed at extinguishing masculine identity.
Western mythology presumes that men are some brand of inherent evil, something that would have shocked and saddened every ANE devotee of goddess worship. Yes, there were infamous departures, but those did not affect the cultural background. In the broad general trend of ANE goddess mythology, nothing prevented a devotee from totally surrendering to her man. She didn’t worship a competing deity, but stuck to the natural realm of womanhood within the assumed framework of male dominance. The fundamental question was not whether men could be tamed, but whether and how each individual woman can be tamed. There was a presumption that women are the weaker ones, not just words to that effect with a sarcastic twist. The Bible presumes women in general are morally vulnerable, not just physically so.
The most serious problem in the Bible with worship of Baal and his consort Ashtarte was a whole range of things we utterly fail to see, because we read back into the Bible our Western assumptions. It was as much a matter of Ashtarte as the grounds for pulling men into Baal worship as anything else. Moses was up against the pervasive premise that there were multiple deities, as opposed to multiple images of the One Creator. The broad moral difference between Jehovah and the various manifestations of Baal is virtually invisible to Western minds. Baal worship did not challenge the shepherd image of manhood, but called for a series of blasphemous deviations from God’s revealed character within that broad ANE cultural background. Nothing in our culture today resembles Baal worship any more than it resembles genuine faith in Jehovah.
As previously noted on this blog, ANE male dominance was entirely different thing from what is imagined here in the West. Again, we struggle for the words to point it out with sufficient impact. ANE manhood included a deep compassion that compelled men to take up the office of leadership against a great personal reluctance, but no one questioned whether he would and could be that compassionate father figure. Moral failure was a matter of self-will and pampering of an entirely different sort than we recognize. It was more a failure of self-sacrifice within those alien cultural norms. The image of the grouchy Norse deity or the playful man-boy of Germanic legend would be ludicrous to ANE men, even the worst of them.
Scholars point out that our Western society doesn’t even get sexual perversion right. We label entirely natural urges as “perverse” and create a whole new range of perversions that never existed in the ANE. We can’t even get homosexuality right, but invest it with an aura that never existed outside Western Civilization. Yes, it will always be a sin, but we are so perverted about perversion itself that we bind God’s redemptive hand by a priori rejection of it.
Men, don’t fight for your proper place before God. Let the heathen Cult of Oester fester and wither without you. Let Westerners imagine you as they wish. Every encounter with moral conflict is a matter of measuring tactics, not perceiving a threat that suckers you into resentment. Refuse to play. Refuse to buy into the fundamental assumptions. Take up your Cross with Christ, but leave behind all the false mythology and find the image from which God made us. Learn to live by your heart and you will eventually discover it for yourself. It won’t happen in a day; it won’t be finished when you die.
Women, your escape from Western mythology is also complicated, but for an entirely different reason. You have far more to sacrifice than Western men. Nothing in Scripture pretends that the Cult of Oester lacks depth and a range of things that appeal to our sense of beauty. Nor is this a question of the silly absolutism that so thoroughly cripples our understanding of reality; we aren’t required to trash every detail of the imagery. Rather, we have to understand that the Western roots in the Germanic tribal society and their particular, pernicious brand of Oester worship is not reality. It requires dragging out a vast depth of falsehood that prevents women from surrendering that last element of themselves to the God of the Bible. The Western Cult of Oester is just a mask for denying God. He does not offer to explain or justify why He chose the masculine image for Himself, so it’s not something up for discussion.
Just as a side note, any discussion of how our image of God might include feminine aspects is wholly polluted by our false Western understanding of male and female identity. We set aside such discussion until we are certain the participants are cleansed of false notions about sexual identity.
When we rebuild our understanding on the imagery of Scripture, we begin to understand why we cannot possibly participate in the silly political debates of our time. It’s not a mere question of refining the agenda, but a wholesale rejection of all the assumptions about reality itself. You cannot possibly take seriously any part of the current scene, and certainly no political candidate or partisan agenda, because all of it simply reaffirms the slavery of our minds to the Big Lie. If you participate at all, it’s with a cynical resignation that your choice is merely some tactical approach to the lesser of evils, taken from a field that is wholly and relentlessly evil.
There is no objective reality to which you can appeal. We pretend that this or that figure or agenda is more reasonable on some imaginary basis of morality, but it’s a morality bearing little resemblance to the character of Our Creator. Until you turn to your heart-mind as the starting place for ruling your mind, you cannot know what God wants for you, never mind what He might want for humanity at large.
You don’t need to know what I might say about this or that political assertion; you need to see how wrong the whole thing is before we can compare notes.