On the evening of December 10, 1915, in the village of Sankebetsu in Japan the worst bear attack in Japanese history occurred. A large brown bear awoke from hibernation, attacking and killing seven settlers. One of the slain was a woman named Take. A mother of four, she was pregnant with her fifth when the bear attacked and killed her.
According to villagers, her final words were pleas to the bear to leave her stomach alone and instead eat her head.
I’ve read many historical accounts of bravery in battle over the years, and that’s as brave as any of them. It shows us why pre-modern cultures gave honour to men who had fought in battle and honour to women who had borne children.
Our society doesn’t honour women for bearing and raising children anymore, though. The pagan culture around us pretends to honour women for mimicking the behaviours of competitive men, but on motherhood, the neo-Marxist culture of the West has nothing uplifting or edifying to say.
At least not for women.
When we think of the village life that women such as Take would have had a century ago, we perhaps imagine women working in groups around their homes, troupes of children running and squealing and playing and perhaps the men visible out in the fields.
It’s an idealised image, sure, but it’s not too far from the lifestyle humans have experienced throughout just about all of human history until very recently. Life may have been short and work was surely hard, but there was meaning and purpose and fulfilment as each individual contributed to the whole.
For the bulk of Western women today, pagan and Christian alike, pregnancy, delivery and caring for infants are not like that. For too many, motherhood has become an unbearable burden. Of course, no decent woman and especially no decent Christian woman is going to say that, so perhaps it’s something a man needs to say.
Many women in our society today carry trauma from childbirth and child-rearing, and it is my contention that things don’t have to be that way. The curse of Eve need not lead to such diabolical mental wounds. God is not cruel.
It doesn’t have to be this hard. So why is it?
Too many women becoming mothers in our society are doing so without social support. Although Christian young mothers from Christian families are generally better supported, pagans and Christian women from non-Christian families are often bereft and have only their working husbands to lean on. The burden for single mothers I can’t imagine.
Carrying and caring for a baby is not something an individual can do. It’s where the steam train of postmodern individualism meets the solid rock of biological reality.
The lack of family and neighbourhood support mothers experience is a byproduct of the weak social bonds in our society. Australia is an atomised society – individuated human units floating in a moral vacuum with few or no bonds to others at all.
In faithful churches, this is not the case, of course. A community of Godly men and women achieves the molecular structure of a healthy society – each individual bonded within their family, each family in fellowship with other families and the community reaching out with hands wide to welcome the lost and the broken and the lonely to the flock.
Outside such churches, and as our civilisation has lost its fear of the Lord and its reverence for His ways, it has regressed back to the state it was in prior to the spread of Christianity. Our society today bears more resemblance to pagan Rome than it does to Victorian England.
God’s moral law and the sovereignty of Christ have not changed. The rebellion of man has grown.
Rebellious Western man has voted to construct a welfare state reminiscent of the bread and circuses described in Rome by Juvenal. Men will always worship that which feeds and clothes them, and so the state has filled the vacuum left by the West’s abandonment of God. Where family provided a safety net for individuals a century ago now Centrelink does, and the bonds of family among the postmodern pagans have withered as a result.
This will seem to left-leaning readers like a right-wing argument, but it isn’t. It’s a Biblical argument. We Christians must renew our minds by abandoning ideological categories in our thinking and returning to Scripture as the basis for our ideals, our beliefs and the type of communities we create.
The Bible lays out clearly what God’s vision for His people is. It has nothing to do with state-managed welfare.
The Godly form of social organisation was evident when God established Israel in the promised land. Tribes, clans and families owned land which yielded its fruit and provided surplus for exchange. There was commerce. Anyone who alleges that ancient Israel was a socialist society is a deceiving viper from the pit of hell.
There was employment (Leviticus 25:6) and the buying and selling of land (Leviticus 25:16-17). There was also however the command by God not to extract from the land and from workers to utmost efficiency and profitability but rather to moderate economic activity to temper greed and give land and people rest (Leviticus 25:1-7). The use of usury to create an overclass predating upon an underclass was also to be prevented by the institution of a jubilee year (Leviticus 25:8-17). Property could not be sold out of the family for temporary gain or due to the predations of usury (Leviticus 25:23). Money was sound, and not based on debt creation as it is in our society today.
We are very far from this type of social order. So what can we do to restore Godly motherhood to its rightful and righteous place of honour in our culture?
We don’t live in physical Israel. We are, however, spiritual Israel (Romans 9:6-9); and it is my contention that the postmodern society we live in can be understood as spiritual Babylon. We are a people whose bodies are in exile and whose spirits long for home.
I’m not a preterist, so I believe that one day this exile will end and the King will return. Until then, believers are to witness the Kingdom to the lost by coming out of spiritual Babylon and aligning with the order God laid down for humanity.
We’re God’s people. We should look like it.
Maxing out mortgage debt to have the flashest house possible with both parents working is not in accordance with God’s order for our lives.
Outsourcing the rearing of children to paid strangers at daycare centres is not in accordance with that order.
Seeking fulfilment and identity in the pagan concept of a ‘career’ is not in accordance with that order.
That goes for us men, too.
Letting our children get their moral messaging from Satan’s screens is not in accordance with that order, either. If your preschool daughter’s favourite idol is Elsa then do not be shocked when she becomes a God-hating feminist in her teens.
God’s warning to His people to come out of Babylon was not just because he wanted them to farm in the countryside rather than enjoy luxuries in the city. It was for their safety. I’m yet to meet a fully washed-by-the-blood, dunked-and-saved, Bible-believing Christian who doesn’t also sense that this society we are surrounded by is under judgement. Its destruction is coming, and likely soon.
My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the Lord. And lest your heart faint, and ye fear for the rumour that shall be heard in the land; a rumour shall both come one year, and after that in another year shall come a rumour, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler. Therefore, behold, the days come, that I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon: and her whole land shall be confounded, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her. (Jeremiah 51:45-17)
Let us come out of Babylon, brothers and sisters, as best we can. Time is short. Let us rediscover the ways to make motherhood honourable again.
And stay away from bears.