The God Behind the Curtain

Pay no attention to the God behind the curtain, for God is just another Wizard from Oz, an object of our own desire and declaration. We want someone strong enough to protect us from death and friendly enough to compensate us for the sacrifices we make to the world around us. As such, God is the Wizard of Oz that we have created and perpetuated, an old man projected as an almighty force of eternal life and paradise, the illusion of our belief, the delusion of our religion.

We represent God to ourselves, not in accordance with the evidence available to us but in accordance with our wishes; in other words, we create God in our image, or at least in the image of our desires. Now we have three things to be ashamed of: (1) the desires that govern this operation, (2) our willingness to subordinate truth to happiness, and (3) our hubris in making ourselves the creator and God the creature. If we are not utterly shameless, we will do our best to distract attention, especially our own, from what is going on.
(Westphal, Suspicion and Faith, 62)

We need the persistence and curiosity of Toto to pull back the curtain and reveal ourselves as the old man pulling the levers and our religious systems functioning to distract attention from what is going on.

To assess the truth-value of religious doctrines does not lie within the scope of the present enquiry. It is enough for us that we have recognized them as being, in their psychological nature, illusions.
(Freud, The Future of an Illusion, p31)

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10 Comments

  1. Will March 3, 2013

    The comparison to God and Oz is simple, God is Oz in religion which makes us the man behind the curtain. The man behind the curtain does his own bidding in the guise of Oz just as religion can use “god” to do its bidding. We as people need to learn to accept the inevitability of life, death and the challenges of life, we have little to no control over life only how we deal with life.

    I have been acting like Toto for a long time, the revelation is constantly occurring. I have learned to let go of God and function on my own. I do not believe that I am above God or anyone, I am simply making decisions based on what I have seen, learned and incorporated into my life. The old god of the blind faith is dead.

    Hubris is one of the easiest of the 7 deadly sins to commit as it is generally disguised as anything but what it truly is. Which, strangely enough, is an action that people may take in order to be accepted or exhalted by a group of peers to prove there importance to “the cause.” People need to seek internal change in order to make real change in the world around them. Be the change, humbly, without needing to change others.

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  10. Robert February 28, 2017

    How does the God perpetuated in our religious systems compare to the great Wizard of Oz? Our religious systems perpetuated a titan-like, schizophrenic God who is more like a hybrid of Santa Claus mixed with Zeus. Once we realized that this God is more of a figment of our imagination and cannot offer what we believed was promised we become disenchanted with old religion and seek out a deeper understanding of life.

    What will it take for you to reveal the God behind the curtain? Who or what will be your theological Toto? What do you think you will find? The only thing that will reveal the God behind the curtain is an acknowledgment that there was never a God behind curtain. My theological Toto is a true and full immersion into life itself with all of its ups and downs, celebrations and heartaches, its simplicity and perplexity and not seeking to add meaning to it all.

    In your own life and/or our religious culture, how do you see “our hubris in making ourselves the creator and God the creature”? A fidelity to The Bible being the Word of God but its really a cloak of success-addiction, anxiety-defuser and American values.

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