God-Zilla Needs a Timeout
God-Zilla is a symbol for any version of God designed to intimidate believers into faithful obedience. Its mythical powers consist of wrathful judgments, moral condemnation, guilt, shame, and the threat of cruel punishment. Many religions have conjured up some depiction of a God-Zilla in order to deter sin and ensure adherence with sacred values. Though God-Zilla's purpose may be virtuous, its methods and their consequences are damaging.
The myth of God-Zilla has nothing to do with the true nature or will of the Divine. The Golden Rule, to love thy neighbor as you would have your neighbor love you, does not conclude with “or else!” Obedience under threat does not constitute genuine empathy, compassion, grace, mercy, or forgiveness. Does the Divine really need an enforcer? Can a parent compel one child to genuinely love another under threat of hell if they don’t? The Divine inspires love with love, not threat.
The great shame of the God-Zilla myth is that it damages the Divine’s reputation, is spiritually misguided, and drives many to throw the babies of spirituality out with the bathwater of religious baloney. Hence, God-Zilla needs a timeout.
Putting God-Zilla in a timeout frees the soul to pursue an authentic experience of the Divine, just as silencing a blaring siren frees the ears to be moved by a beautiful symphony. But how is such a frightful beast put in a timeout? For that one might seek inspiration from Dorothy Gale.
To Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion, the Wizard of Oz was the God-Zilla that terrified and misled them, demanding that they vanquish a wicked witch before promising to grant their requests. When the Wizard reneged on his word, Dorothy challenged; “If you were really great and powerful, you’d keep your promises!” The Wizard’s deceit was further exposed when Toto pulled back the curtain to reveal the charlatan behind the facade. Disempowering a God-Zilla begins with exposing its deceit.
God-Zilla, the symbol of a righteous moralizer, isn't just found in scripture, sanctuary, and clergy. The most significant God-Zilla is the one that resides deep within one’s own mind. Freud coined the term superego to identify this harsh subconscious force that was considered responsible for controlling the primitive impulses of the sinful id. He theorized that the superego’s harsh methods for controlling the id’s impulses were the cause of neurosis. Unfortunately, rejecting the religious myth of God-Zilla does not liberate us from our own superego/God-Zilla. And because this inner God-Zilla is a part of our own identity, it is unwise to ignore, battle, or even judge it. There’s a better way to quiet the God-Zilla within.
Rather than thinking of your God-Zilla as an enemy, regard it instead as a well-meaning servant. It wants the best for you, which begins with securing the approval of your creators - i.e., mother, father, and perhaps God. It wants you to behave your best so that you’ll be loved, approved of, and kept out of trouble. The human brain has circuits ready to be programmed to serve as a controlling conscience for these purposes. But all too often our God-Zilla superegos get programmed to control us in tormenting ways and allow us to be harmed by other harsh moralizers. Fortunately, we can teach our God-Zillas to calm down and serve us more humanely. God-Zilla needs to be taught that excessive fear, guilt, and shame interfere with the healthier inspiration of Divine compassion.
In order for a healthy conscience to inspire us to be loving toward others, it must learn to be loving toward ourselves first. And the best way to teach this lesson to your inner God-Zilla is to let it know you understand that it means well, it’s just doing what it was taught to do, and you can forgive it for its hurtful mistakes. In other words, to love your God-Zilla as you would have your God-Zilla love you. And once it adopts this lesson in Divine love, it can then be released from its timeout and begin treating you with greater benevolence.