“The conflict in Israel down to the Exile was the conflict between Yahweh and Baal. The Baals and Astartes were fertility gods and the type of religion they represent is ‘sexy.’ Not that there are not creator-gods in fertility religions. But the gods and goddesses with their marriages and illicit loves are so many parts of the stream of life and are borne along on its current. They are personifications of natural process. To make, and worship, iconic representations of them is the most natural thing in the world.”
Christopher R. North, "The Essence of Idolatry," Beihefte zur Zeitschrift fur die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 77 (1958): 159.