Contemporary Western culture is a pagan culture.
It is ruled by the gods of olden time, only with new names and different images.
The first is the god of power — formerly known as Baal (literally, “owner”) — who sometimes appears in a slightly different form as Mammon, the god of money.
Another such god is Ashtoreth (Astarte or Ishtar), the goddess of sex and fertility.
In our time, though, it is no longer the goddess of fertility but only of pure sex.
Yet another god, perhaps promoted from a mere muse to a full-fledged deity, is Calliope, who is now the ruler of the craving for fame.
People may want money in order to obtain material goods.
They may want sex for amusement, sometimes even for procreation.
But fame is now a thing in itself — it is an addiction.
What does the relatively new term “celebrity” mean?
It means that one is a well-known nobody.
And the better one is well known, the less people care who and what one is.
Indeed, many young girls and boys want to be film stars — not because they wish to be beautiful or powerful, but because they want to be known all over the world.
One may ask: where are all the temples of these gods?
Well, the temples of Jupiter-Mammon are in almost every other building in the City of London and in Geneva — only they are called banks and their priests and high priests are called managers and executives.
The temples (as well as the images) of Astarte are everywhere.
And Calliope has little shrines in almost every household, in the form of television sets.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz