One of the major problems which Filianism has to overcome as a religion is the perception that it lacks of any positive conception of the male principle. For example within Filianism its monotheistic deity is Thea / God the Mother. There is no male God nor gods. The elements which are commonly seen to characterize the male principle such as competitiveness, a solar / intellectual consciousness ultimately come from Her, and are identified as ultimately feminine in nature. While biological maleness, recognized as a principle within the realm of the physical / manifestation, ultimately derives from the Goddess; Thea is ultimately female in nature since she gives birth to reality.
The status of the male within the Filianic scriptures is also obviously problematic. Within the Scriptures males are almost entirely absent or in the few passages in which the male principle is mentioned it takes on a negative meaning. The theology which has developed over the decades from the scriptures has not been much kinder to males. The male principle is in general identified with competitiveness, patriarchy, manifestation and conflict. As a consequence only one Filianic derived community the Kyrian Church founded by Episcopa Pamela Lanides admits men as members. In fact the Kyrian Church goes further then this. One of the primary reasons why the Kyrian Church was founded was so that males could be included within the religion on a level equal to females. Thus the DNA of the Filianic faith is changing and hopefully men will play a strong role in its future on the same level as women.
However in spite of the recent movement forward of men within Filianism, a serious question can be asked. Since alternative religions such as Neopaganism and the New Age have embraced both the male principle and men as having a vital role within their communities and organizations, why should men have any interest in Filianism? What could men possibly find within it that would out weigh in significance its problematic record?
While I would like to be able to formulate some sort of objective answer to these questions, it is probably not possible. Thus to a great degree the response will ultimately be based on many of my own thoughts about the Filianic faith, its benefits, and its strengths vs its weaknesses. I first want to state the obvious. Religion is about more then the existence of a theology which establishes egalitarian roles among believers. It is certainly more than about the establishment of a divine balance theology in which both male and female aspects have an equality. The fact is that religions through out most of history have had patriarchal theologies either as within the Abrahamic religions in which Deity is envisioned as being male or as in polytheistic religions in which the male deities hold the most powerful roles within the pantheons. These facts, however, have not prevented millions of people both male and female from embracing these religions and finding spiritual meaning within them.
What orthodox Filianism has done is turn the table on the Abrahamic religious traditions , thus giving supremacy to Thea / God the Mother / the Lady and to matriarchy. While many may see this reversal as being no more just than is patriarchal theology it is certainly not any more unjust either. Furthermore one can argue that since billions of people embrace the religions of patriarchy it certainly is not a bad thing for at least few minority faiths to embrace the opposite.
In contrast to most Neopagan and New Age based alternative religions, Filianism is one of the few religions which have developed since the 1970s which has a fully articulated set of scriptures. The Filianic scripture is one of the few in the world in which the supreme Deity / Center / Creator of the universe is seen as Goddess as Thea as second to none. Its scripture which provides strong moral guidance and principles is also very unusual within the context of the alternative religious communities in that its moral and ethical instruction is not made up of an amalgam of popular modern psychological maxims, Jungian analysis, and New Age “truths.” On the contrary the morality of Filianism and its scriptures are much more closely related to the best of the traditions of the world’s long lived religious traditions. In fact the Filianic scriptures creatively built on these.
Another aspect of the Filianic scriptures is their devotional and inspirational tone which is directed toward the worship and praise of the Mother. Again this differs from the norm of the alternative faiths in which worship or devotion tend to play only a small role. The Filianic scripture are the only scriptures of which I am aware dedicated solely to Mother God, besides those of the Devi Mahatmya and the Devi Bhagavatum of the Hindu Puranic traditions. In all of these ways the Filianic scripture are unique and to be valued.
The fact that the authority of Filianism is based to a large degree on its scriptures is of deep significance because for many religious seekers, the lack of a scripture of the Goddess / Thea inhibits their ability to practice a full spirituality of devotion and worship directed toward the Deity. Often these people because they feel the need for a scripture dedicated to the Mother but have none, are forced to live within a spiritual no-man’s-land some where between the realms of modern Neopaganism and the realm of the Abrahamic faiths. Because they have not scripture of their own these people are forced to continually dig into the discarded elements of the Jewish / Christian / Gnostic traditions for all the bits of a possibly submerged tradition of the Great Lady to nourish their souls. Obviously I am talking from my own experience here but without a doubt many others have shared in this sense of spiritual homelessness.
Of course within most modern alternative religious traditions many reject the very idea of scripture in favor of supposedly pure spiritual experience. Many also reject the very idea of scripture as being authoritarian or simply not needed. However I would disagree. Scriptures are the words of Instruction or wisdom authorized by a beloved tradition. If properly understood scripture is not meant to dictate to ones thoughts and feelings. Its authority is not based on some objective command such as “thou shalt believe, thou shalt not, or else.” The authority of scripture instead emerges in the heart because it initiates a dialogue within the heart which may enable the human person to see truth more clearly. That is what the Filianic and all great scriptures do at their best. They are not a replacement for the knowledge gained by experience and inner perception. They simply offer guidance to the dialogue of the heart within the context of that perception.
Another concern about the Filianic faith might be based on a concern about “authenticity.” The ideal of authenticity is often based on a belief in the “myth of the purity of origins.” This is the belief that the true, authentic message of a religion is necessarily to be defined by what it was at its origins. Thus to the degree that any religion’s current practices and traditions deviate from the purity of its origins, it must of necessity be inauthentic or not really real. The problem is that religions through time always come to deviate greatly from the ideas held by their founders. Thus the community of Jesus was different from the latter communities of Paul. The developed Church of the 5th Century C.E. with its Marianism and beautifully developed liturgies differed greatly from the simple communities of Paul. Both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism differed more still.
The same situation of course exits within the history of the Jewish people. Yahweh was initially a warrior god of a group of Hebrew tribes fighting for their survival against powerful enemies circa 1200 BCE. The early Yahweh was significantly different from the monotheistic Yahweh of Second Issiah about 500 BCE, The religion of the Jewish people at that time was substantially different from the religion of the Mishnah, and Talmud of about 500 CE. This religion again was different from the religion of the Kabbalists of 1300 CE. Religions change radically over time.These changes sometimes can be viewed either positively or negatively in the eyes of present believers. However there is no way that it is possible in an objective way to determine that a religion was at its best form at its origins. For example the earlier form of the Israelite Yahwist faith was probably not even monotheistic. And certainly Pauline Christianity was more patriarchal in theology than was the the theology of the Byzantine Church of the 5th century with its strong Marian aspects. In these cases can one really say earlier was necessarily better. The spiritual DNA of a religion can change. That change need not necessarily be for the worse.
A final question. If a man or a women is really committed to the dominant divine balance paradigm, why should he or her be interested in the Filianic faith? First within the Kyrian Church and within many of the newer Filianic derived communities of the future, many will have no requirement for members necessarily to reject divine balance theologies. Even now within the Kyrian Church there are Jewish and Muslim members, and members holding a mix of differing beliefs. These people do combine a devotion to Thea with a devotion to the God of their alternative religious faiths.
It must also remembered that within the Paganism which dominated the Mediterranean world of the Hellenistic and Roman Empires each important deity had her or his own temple in which worship was centered primarily toward that deity. Thus Athena had her temples, Isis hers, Hera hers. Zeus had his temples and Apollo his. While these temples did sometimes have alters which were attached to the worship of co-deities, worship within these temples was focused primarily toward its Deity alone. Thus a full worship of that particular deity was insured. However few of the pagan peoples of the Roman empire felt that their worship had to be committed solely toward a singular deity. Thus they could also commit to another Deity to satisfy other needs. I would argue that this type of pattern seems to some degree to be reestablishing itself in the modern Western World. My assumption is that in the future possibly a majority of Filianic believers will be worshiping both Thea and other deities of their choice among which will be the Allah / Father / Jesus of the Abrahamic traditions.
Some other facts should be noted about the current day status of divine balance religion. Contrary to the myth that it is enviably the wave of the future, divine balance theology is not making that much progress within the religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Almost no churches actually practice any form of divine balance theology or practice. The situations within Judaism and Islam are if anything even less friendly to this theology. Divine balance theology is instead almost solely the domain of the alternative religious communities of Neopaganism and the New Age. And as Episcopa Pamela Lanides has pointed out often, even within communities supposedly practicing a theology of devotion to both female and male persons or principles of God, the Goddess tends to become in some manner subordinated to the God. This is certainly true within the Abrahamic religions which historically have no real room for any female principle. The female principle in the case of Christianity for example has generally had to be smuggled into the religion via the guise of the Virgin Mary. In recent decades in the guise of Mary Magdalene.
Another problem exists. Within the Neopagan communities according to Pamela Lanides, divine balance theology tends to become tied into a sexualization of the persons of the Deity through the ritual of the Great Rite. Pamela Lanides has often argued that for a divine balance theology to really take off within Western society strong religious communities need to exist in which the Lady / the Mother is worshiped solely and fully as God in her own right. The existence of such Goddess focused communities would by their example tend to legitimize the worship of Thea in the eyes of both persons outside of the traditional majority religions but also to those within those traditions. The existence of such communities will in fact serve as examples of how a full and rich worship of Thea occurs. The point to be made is that a decision to follow ones heart into a purely feminine monotheistic form of worship should not necessary be viewed as a betrayal of an intimately held belief.
Well I am done. I guess the bottom line here is that certainly the Filianic / Deanic faith can work for males because the religion of Filianism has intrinsic truth, worth, and value that can appeal to men as it can to women. The internal DNA of the religion is changing. Men will have roles to play within the faith and it would a tragedy if some of the problems involved with the birth of this faith prevented it from being a meaningful religion for men as it already is for many women.