Wednesday, March 29, 2006


“If the world worshipped a Mother Goddess, we’d all be as healthy as the healthy children of the healthiest mother. We’d be smart, rich, risk-taking, egalitarian, sensual, creative, capable, playful, freedom-loving, non-violent, lovable, gorgeous WINNERS! I can back this with historical and logical evidence….”

This was my March 22 post. Paxton wants to hear my "logical evidence." Here it is:

Mothers love unconditionally, fathers conditionally. In fact, a scientific basis may lurk beneath this: “Mother love” may be the one-and-only human instinct. In my Ph.D. seminars, we argued about whether humans had instincts at all. Only one was considered possible: mother-love. (Sadly, women under Father gods aren’t always mentally healthy, and therefore don’t always shower us with unconditional love.)

At any rate, if our role model is Father, we love ourselves and others conditionally – with strings attached. If it’s Mother, we love ourselves and others unconditionally. A third possibility is GodScience. Worshippers of GodScience see themselves and others as an absence of love. They behave toward others with an absence of emotion.

Since Father gods love us on condition -- that we are born with certain qualities, are blessed with good luck, behave in certain ways -- a hierarchy ensues. When it comes to winning Daddy’s love, only one or two make first place. When it comes to almost anything in life – sports, grades, looks, what have you – someone almost always beats us.

But those few who've reached Daddy's top rung (& they’re scarce as hen’s teeth) -- win Daddy's love. To the rest of us slobs, Daddy says, “Come back for love when you get on the team/make straight A’s/win the gold.” It's hard to avoid feeling nasty toward the top-rungers.

On the other hand, it seems right that those below Daddy's upper rungs deserve to be punished (abused, robbed, cheated, raped, discriminated against, locked up if they're different, the electric chair if they sin, war -- it's all okay because they're bad. Daddy says so.)

Face it, Daddy worshippers: your life is one big war to win Daddy's love, which is always dangling -- like the carrot on the stick -- just out of reach. You and all your sibs are scrambling hysterically over each other toward the top, where -- somewhere -- Daddy's love lies.

Now I ask you, Paxton, does this sound like Daddy’s kids are “smart, rich, creative, freedom-loving, non-violent, lovable, winners”? I think not. Try “nervous, dumb, up-tight, stodgy, angry, depressed, mean, racist, sexist, unlovable, hide-in-the-house losers.”

But it’s not their fault. It’s that bogus, boogeyman Daddy-god sitting on their shoulders that’s to blame.


Morgaine said...

Excellent description, Athana. Even our chemistry supports this. When threatened, women may have a "tend and befriend" response as well as a fight or flight response. Men only exhibit the latter. The former, as well as Mother Love, are supported by a woman's oxytocin, which cements our bond to those whom we love.

I'm finding that many people in this culture are so damaged that they cannot even imagine a world without punishment, nor can they envision true acceptance, unconditional love, or real freedom of fear. It makes me sad, but resolved as well to find a way to reach them.

Mike said...

In my Ph.D. seminars, we argued about whether humans had instincts at all. Only one was considered possible: mother-love. (Sadly, women under Father gods aren’t always mentally healthy, and therefore don’t always shower us with unconditional love.)

Another game of spot-the-contradiction?

It's always the same way with you folks who spout this gender essentialism nonsense.

Gender 1 has trait A. If member of gender 1 does not exhibit trait A, then they are aberrant.

Or said another way:

Gender 1 has trait A, even when it doesn't.

Um, maybe trait A is not an inherant trait to gender 1? Maybe there are no inherant traits?

Athana said...

Maybe there aren't, Mike. But then again, maybe there are. Have you read any of the studies on oxytocin?

Mike said...

Can't say as I have, but even if a substantial majority of women exhibit a particular trait, it doesn't mean that trait is inherantly female. I've already outlined the logical consequences of insisting on essential gender traits. If you're willing to call women without trait A aberrant, then fine.

Actually, I guess you've already said you are comfortable with those consequences, since you're constantly dividing people into "sane" and "insane." I suppose that's your choice, but please don't pretend you are acting any differantly than Christians who divide the world into the damned and the saved.

Paxton said...

I challenge your very first assumption - "mothers love unconditionally, fathers conditionally".

IF this assumption is correct, then your argument might be logical -- I don't know because my thought process sticks on your first assumption, so I haven't thoroughly considered the rest of the post.

Why do you believe that fatherly love is inherently conditional?

Morgaine said...

Mike and Paxton - you are both being deliberately obtuse. Obviously these are generalities based on the stereotypical "male" and "female" roles as defined in this culture. She isn't talking about individuals - she's talking about basic cultural definitions, and like it or not, they are accurate.

This is classic male strategy. I've seen your behavior in college classrooms, in person and on line. It's ridiculous but it achieves your goal, which is to keep us on the defensive so our time and attention is diverted from achieving our goals.

When you are talkiing about social trends, you have to generalize. This is common in sociology, psychology, anthropology, archeology... virtually every social science. To insist that a concept apply perfectly to every member of a specific group is absurd, and you both know it.

Mike, you are determined to keep us on the defensive proving that we aren't advocating oppression. Paxton, you want to impose a new age definition of fatherhood on a culture that simply isn't up to that level yet. Let go of your science fiction stereotype of men-hating Amazons taking over the world and killing all the men, and listen to what Athana is saying.

A matriarchal society would benefit you, too. It is inclusive, embraces diversity and fosters egalitarian behavior. She isn't attacking people - she's attacking the lies of patriarchy, and trying to replace them with a healthy model for human interaction. Patriarchy isn't any more fair to men than it is to women. Men may control the money and have the power, but it comes at the cost of losing their connection to Nature, the comfort of the Goddess' love, and the suppression of their feelings and intuition. It prevents healthy loving realtionships and replaces them with conflict - the "war between the sexes" is a patriarchal invention, and so is the concept of domination/submission. Men on the whole in this culture - not every, single one, but on the whole - are selfish, angry, and violent. If you aren't, good for you.

The reason you don't get this is that you aren't in danger everywhere you go. Women can be gang raped with impunity even after the jury sees it on video tape, beaten to death in their homes while the police sit outside, and are mutilated and burned alive every day. The number one cause of death for pregnant women in America is murder.

We didn't create this divide or start this war, but we're going to do everything we can to end it. If we don't start acting like sentient creatures immediately, the Planet is going to get rid of us. If we don't get over our addiction to war, it's going to get us all killed in a nuclear attack. If the elite continue to oppress the poor, eventually they will rise up against them - French Revolution, anyone?

But, hey - if you are happy with the status quo, while a child in Africa starves to death every 3 seconds; while 53% of the population is oppressed, underpaid and disenfranchised in most of the world; where grain rots in government-supported grain elevators while people starve; with dropping bombs on people who never posed any threat to us; where your government suppports sweatshops in indonesia, but not abandoned women and children anywhere; with 10% or more of the population isn't allowed to decide whom they want to receive their insurance or health benefits, and children languish in government institutions when healthy families are longing for them; where the average woman walks down a city street without making eye contact with a man; then by all means, worship big daddy.

I can't do it.

Paxton said...

A new age definition of fatherhood? There is nothing new-age about unconditional love. Morgaine, I do not doubt you if you say that in general, fathers these days are weak and unloving men. But to say that the world "is not ready" for the idea that fathers should love unconditionally, is foolish. Telling fathers to "be more like mothers" is no solution. We should tell them to be more like FATHERS, like real fathers, loving fathers, good fathers who care about their kids.

I really am sorry if I sound obtuse. I genuinely don't mean to =(

what I am trying to say is this:

Athana says that fathers love conditionally. She states it like a rule. It's not a rule. PEOPLE love conditionally because they are selfish. People SHOULD love UNconditionally because it's Right.

It is as possible for fathers to love unconditionally as it is for anyone else to love unconditionally. It is not helpful to say that fatherly love has no hope of being conditional. It is not helpful to say that if fathers love conditionally, it is because they have learned to act like mothers. If anything it teaches them that it's OKAY if they don't love their kids, because the kids are already getting Mom Love anyway. If Dad Love is useless and Mom Love is good, why is it a big deal whether or not Dads love their kids?

Fathers should NEVER EVER love their children more or less based on their children's accomplishments. Neither should mothers. Both parents should instruct as they are able to. Together they should model love. Together they should encourage excellence, reassure their children that they are loved, teach values and behavior, build strong strong relationships with their kids.

And you're right, This Culture's definitions of male and female roles is terribly, woefully chaotic. Not at all like it should be.

However, there are two things in my mind right now:

If (for instance) a selfish man sees a woman, and likes how she looks, and wants to have sex with her, and decides to rape her -- will a belief that the universe loves him unconditionally, change his mind? Going from "I want to rape her" to "I want to rape her, and I believe mother earth is smiling at me". What I believe is that selfishness and other problems like that go really deep, and "believing that you're ok" does not fix them.

I don't like killing, starving, war, and violence, morgaine. I don't like cruelty and lust and greed and irresponsibility and sin. I want them to stop.

The second thing on my mind is that religion is not, or should not be, a tool for social reform. Christians and other people are constantly trying to make it that way. I don't think it's right. If God is truly good and real he should be worshipped. If he is false, he should be forgotten. The choice should be made independent of the social ramifications. It is a very big difference. Jesus Christ was not a reformist. He is The Lord.

That is my position, anyway =)

I want to make one thing clear:
I object to Goddess worship because I believe God is a Father. That's it. I object because I think it's false.

I object to *your* version of Goddess worship because I think it is too focused on "what will benefit society".


a quieter, more thoughtful thought just occured to me. If a person is hurting because fatherly love is broken and bad and harmful...what does that person really need? If fatherly love wasn't important -- if motherly love was the most necessary -- then it would not hurt so much. I will even suspend my reluctance to think in terms of "the good of society" for a moment -- I will say that if (as you claim) the faultiness of fatherly love is the cause of so much rage and badness, then the solution is a healed and regenerated and perfect fatherly love. If there is a hole in someone's heart, it is not enough to say "Oh, that part of your heart isn't actually meant to be filled anyway".

Of course GodFatherly love is different than human fatherly love. Human love will never replace God's love. I think a person is made such that s/he will benefit from:

1. dad's love
2. mom's love
3. God's love

I simply don't think that people are built to require:

1. dad's love
2. mom's love
3. goddess's love

I think that if you are missing #1 and #2, then God's love will still be sufficient for you. I think he is all you need, and he loves you and knows your needs and will take care of you, even though a lack of mom and dad love will still hurt you really bad because you were intended to enjoy it, but sin came into the world and messed things up and ripped it away from you for any number of reasons. You are not meant to be unloved by people -- but if you are unloved by people, God's love will still catch you and carry you.

Now if God were just some invention of man, something that man made up in order to not feel so bad about lacking mom and dad love, then Christianity simply would not work. Christ would not fulfill. But he does fulfill -- here I only speak for myself, and you can trust me or not.

The same goes for the Goddess. If she exists and God does not, then Goddess love may well be what we need. But I don't think she exists, and so I think that goddess worship will disappoint and not fulfill -- and most importantly, you will miss what really does fulfill.

See how it comes down to truth, not benefits? If goddess does not exist, the best you can call her is a form of psychological dishonesty intended to cure antisocial behavior. That is not Life -- it isn't Love either. If goddess does exist and God doesn't, then I am wasting my time and believing in a lie. Even if it makes me feel happy, or improves my behavior.

But if God exists, and I believe he does, then I have started my eternal life and I am in a relationship with my Father, who will love me forever.

Mike said...

When you are talkiing about social trends, you have to generalize. This is common in sociology, psychology, anthropology, archeology... virtually every social science. To insist that a concept apply perfectly to every member of a specific group is absurd, and you both know it.

If someone from any one of those fields takes their pet concept and claims it to be an essential part of demographic A, then they are bullshitters. It is simple as that.

It is one thing to make generalizations about demographic A. That's fine. But to begin making philosophical/religious/metaphysical statements based on that generalization - as Athana does on a regular basis - is desperate folly.

Athana said...

Paxton, you say that “It is not helpful to say that fatherly love has no hope of being unconditional.”

And I say, “No, no, no!” Fathers can indeed learn to love unconditionally. I just believe that the best way to do that is for them to “become” mothers, i.e., to study the way (healthy) women interact with their babies, infants and children.

We all need to study mothers to learn how to love unconditionally. Motherless women need lessons too. And mothers need to be told to love all others the way they love their own children.

Athana said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Athana said...

Mike, do you know the difference between gender and sex? Methinks you are using the two concepts interchangeably.

Do most men have more testosterone than most women? Yes. Does the difference in hormones between men and women affect their behavior differentially? I think that most say yes. How about you?

Read up on ocytocsin.

I know there’s a debate about whether or not any non-learned behavioral differences exist between males and females. I happen to believe that they do.

Reread Morgaine's post. She says it all. The Goddess is as good for men as for women -- if not better.

Athana said...

"Why do you believe that fatherly love is inherently conditional?"

Because among animals fathers are usually biological only, not social. Fathers contribute sperm and then leave. I suspect that the human nuclear family is an artificial invention, that it was originally the mother's brother who was parent to the children.

This doesn't mean that men shouldn't learn to love unconditionally. They should. And they should study mothers to see how it is done. I believe mothers are natural conditional lovers of their children.

Even childless women need to learn from mothers. WE all need to love everyone the way mothers love their children.

Mike said...

Mike, do you know the difference between gender and sex? Methinks you are using the two concepts interchangeably.

I think I've been pretty careful about saying "gender" when I mean "constructed identity" and "sex" when I mean "anatomy." Go back over my comments in this thread and you'll see that I am in fact consistant.

Don't you see that when you claim that trait A is inherant to gender X that all you're doing is adding another social criteria for gender? It's just the same old game of social divisions.

Do most men have more testosterone than most women? Yes. Does the difference in hormones between men and women affect their behavior differentially? I think that most say yes. How about you?

I say yes, of course. But the simple fact that there are men who exhibit minimal (feminine?) levels of aggression or sexual drive (the standard traits influenced by testosterone) shows that aggression and sexual drive are inherant to neither the male gender nor the male sex.

Athana said...

Okay, Mike. I'm not talking about men, women, males or females here. I am talking about people who go through the process of carrying a human being inside their bodies, and then expelling that human being out of their bodies. There is excellent evidence that some if not all of these people produce at least one hormone during this process. This hormone has been securely connected with an increase in care and concern for others, an increased focusing on others in one's environment. I don't care what you call these people. You can call them men, women, male, female, gay, bisexual, transgendered, hermaphroditic -- I don't care what name you give them. But I do care that we all look to these people as guides to the way in which we should treat each other.

Mandos said...

I think part of the objection is that you're implying that men are "defective" in some way that women are not, and hence acknowledging the feminine without the masculine in the divine is claiming that while the universe might "love" men, men aren't really a fundamental part of it. Like, at best, a luxury.

It isn't hard to see how someone could take it that way, and, assuming your theories are true, it also isn't hard to see how some men might revolt against it.

Paxton said...

I think it is silly to base human behavior on animal behavior, but since you brought it up, I will briefly mention the whole March-of-the-penguins thing with the fathers walking hundreds of miles on an empty stomach so that they can feed the mother + child.

"Someday" when I have time, I will write what I think about the idea of: "Dads, if you want to be better, act like moms."

Anonymous said...

Guys, this is precisely why we need Goddess energy to come back so much. There is resistance from women and also so much from men. Nothing that Athana has said is personal: she is talking in generality. As a writer and medicine woman, I do this too. I wouldn't have thought it needed to be explained, but I see that it does. As a medicine woman, the world to me is purely a question of energy - that is it. Goddess energy not only preceded God energy, but also created it. The simplest way to explain this is: the forces/energy in operation in the world today are hierachichal and divisive. This means that these energies 'divide' - the world has ended up being a 'them and us' problem. This energy is masculine, not feminine. Feminine energy is inclusice and not divisive. Also, there is enormous abuse of male power going on - that affects both men and women. The sexual exploitation of women is rampant. Ninety eight per cent of all physical sexual abuse is carried out by men. While there is no judgement attached to this, neither is there any voice from anywhere entertaining the sensible idea to look to women to see why they carry out so little violence and abuse of power. Global healing depends on the collecive psyche turning towards the divine feminine and learning from her. Rather than become defensive, open your eyes to the the fact that, energetically, the world is completely out of balance: all answers and solutions are being found on the 'outside' which is the masculine principle. Mankind - not womankind - is also raping the planet - it is abusing the Mother that gave it life. The blueprint, cosmically, is feminine. Eve created Adam - not the other way around, (speaking allegorically). As such, women as well as men need to embrace the feminine - if we are to survive as a species. Of course, there are a few men who do this already, but so few. The others are currently making all the decisions that affect all women and children - doomsday is close. And nearly all of them have no idea about conditional love. Quite a few male spiritual teachers are saying exactly the same thing as I am. Perhaps study what they are saying? (Erkhart Tholl). Charly Flower