Israel was taken into exile because of idolatry. Granted, part of the problem was how very similar the rituals of Temple worship were to those for the various Baals. In the mind of too many Israelis, it was a case of Jehovah being just another Baal. Monotheism was so radical of a notion that they never did absorb it until the Exile.
What many don’t realize today is that Western Civilization rests firmly on polytheistic assumptions, too. We don’t struggle with the intellectual concept of monotheism, but we still offer way too much devotion to things that are not God. It’s polytheism-in-effect. The problem in our case is a culture with a total absence of anything above the intellect. We have no clue how to claim the promise that our people should see visions and dream dreams from God. Westerners cannot taste the good gifts of the Age to Come (Hebrews 6:1-8). The West’s fundamentally heathen approach to reality itself has brought us to that moment of Exile again; it keeps crucifying Christ afresh.
Westerners have no trouble believing in a Devil with red skin, horns and a trident. Despite all the rhetoric, that’s still what people see in their minds. Look at all the popular “Christian” cultural art depicting Satan. Those images bear no resemblance to what the Bible says. But what difference does it make what scholarship tells us? We don’t listen; we cling to our cultural images based on primitive Germanic tribes. At the same time, we are relentlessly materialistic. Aside from a handful of heathen cultural images, we force everything into a sensory universe that simply must fit into our warped reasoning structure or it’s rejected.
If you want to follow Christ, you must consciously and conscientiously root out the entire range Western mythology. Our Christian Culture ain’t Western. The only reason I keep bringing this up is because I keep running into it among our parish members. Yes, even the man in the mirror needs a slap upside the head now and then. So I’m inserting this into the conversation one more time: If there’s one thing we must watch like a hawk, it’s that Serpent in the Garden being subtle with us again by sneaking his favorite lies into the picture. If there is any one thing Satan has ever accomplished, it is Western Civilization. It’s been very thoughtfully and artfully constructed to reinforce the Fall with a vengeance. The West is the pinnacle of trusting human reason over revelation. If you don’t learn to despise Western culture, you cannot escape the wrath of God.
Everything in the Bible — everything — requires a mystical approach to understand what God is trying to tell us. So you have to learn just what “Western” means and all the garbage that comes with it. I know we are stuck here in the middle of it, and America is easily the worst expression of it; the USA is the pinnacle of everything that’s wrong with Western Civilization. We can’t keep approaching the revelation of God from the ground of Western assumptions about reality.
It’s our good fortune that God has His bellyful of it, too. It’s on the way down. Granted, I’m not liking the looks of everything to come along behind it, but we still have to speak to the next culture rising from the Internet. We still have to take advantage of what usefulness we can find. Paul took serious advantage of the Roman road system and his Roman citizenship, even while despising how Rome was destroying the ancient Hebrew culture. John saw that destruction too, and wrote about in the Book of Revelation. And if you keep a Western orientation, you cannot possibly understand John’s apocalyptic vision. But it’s the key to what God is doing now and will keep doing every time something rises up to hinder Christ’s gospel message.
So one major feature of our Christian Culture is talking about the flaws of the Western approach to things. Our logic is not as their logic. As one brother says, it’s the Warped Civilization, so twisted and perverted that it’s hard to grasp. This is easily the one thing that’s going to distinguish us, because most Americans alive today idolize Western Civilization. They can have it. These are the folks already dragged off into exile, and they can’t come back to the Holy Land until they leave it behind. We are building a new Temple on holy ground, and Westerners can’t walk there.