God and Santa Claus
by Paul Rezkalla
Equating belief in God with belief in Santa seems to be popular among many atheists who have grown up in religious families but later abandoned their “childish” belief in God in the same way they gave up their belief in Santa Claus. It’s so obvious that God is something you only believe in as a child but then later give up when you mature and become a rational, reasoning individual right? I mean, come on…you believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good God who created the universe and interacts with human beings? That’s worse than Santa Claus! For those who are sarcastically challenged, that last bit might have had a tinge of sarcasm. On a serious note, are they the same? Are we justified in giving up belief in God the same way we give up belief in Santa Claus?
Why is it that we lose our belief in Santa Claus? Rewind to Christmas when you were 5 years old. You wake up and find loads of gifts wrapped in tacky Christmas fashion under the tree while your parents wake
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groggily and reluctantly to partake in the lovely, holiday atmosphere at, what is to them, an obscenely early hour in the morning. You open gift after gift and you revel in the joys of nerf-guns, toy cars, video games, etc. and then out of the corner of your eye, you notice something strange in one of the gift packages. A receipt from Wal-Mart. What on earth is this receipt doing here? These presents were hand-made by Santa’s elves at the North Pole! Surely they didn’t have to rush to Wal-Mart for a last minute shopping run! Something seems fishy here!
And from that point on, you began to have your doubts about Santa. Maybe it was really your parents who bought the gifts all along? Finally, a year or two later, the class know-it-all bursts your bubble of fantasy and confirms the doubts that have been eating you up on the inside. Santa is not real. After the initial pain of this traumatic moment in your childhood, you begin to realize that the idea of Santa is actually quite absurd…
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