From Abracadabra to Zombies
reader comments: Santa Claus
10 Nov 1997
I just read a bit of your Skeptic's Dictionary and the entry on God and Atheism. I liked it so much so that I'm sending it to a few friends that will also appreciate it. My personal opinion about God and Atheism is that neither can be proved, so both seem to be a kind of faith, however, Atheism is, by far, the more thoughtful choice. In the past few months I have caught my limit of religious people, not spiritual people, mind you, but religious ones, especially those of the Christian variety (having been a home-grown Catholic myself, I'm able to spot them at quite a distance), and I have come to calling that particular brand of God - the one you define - as Santa God since Santa and God share so many nearly identical characteristics.
Somehow, when we grow up it is considered wildly unreasonable (nutty, in fact) to believe in Santa (a kindly old - ageless, in fact -white-bearded man (with no beginning and no end) that has an ambiguous relationship with a woman (Mrs. Claus/Mary), surrounds himself with flying creatures (reindeer/angels), has many helpers (Santa's helpers/saints), a man who can be all places at the same time (omnipotent) - at least on December 24th, reads our minds (omniscient), reads the letters we send him but never responds to them (prayers) unless the responses are really from kindly people at the Post Office (clergy), knows if we are bad (sinners) or good (saints) and rewards us accordingly (heaven and hell, but not in that order). And yet, at the same time, it is also considered wildly unreasonable to disbelieve in God even though they are nearly the same childish wish for a kindly, but fair, protector. Hence the name Santa God since they are two versions of the same fairy tale. And as with most fairy tales, the version for children is much sweeter than that darker, original version that was written for adults.
These singular, uppercase, Only-One-Possible Gods usually show their faces in the mostly western world which tends to be much younger and less sophisticated in its outlook and needs than the eastern world that believes in multiple gods. But my God (no pun intended), when are we in the west going to grow up? I admit, it's nice to think that there are guardian angels and that all I have to do is pray to God and I'll get that new car I've been wanting or even get rid of war, but doesn't it say in the Bible that when we grow up we must put away our childish things? and isn't Santa one of the most childish - albeit sweetest -things we have? So doesn't it stand to reason (literally and figuratively) that we should also put away his older brother while we're at it? At least that's what the Bible says. And I always do what's in the Good Book.)
Well, gee, didn't expect to go on like that. When I get a little more time, I'll peruse your site some more and read about the other jewels with which you have salted your mine.