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If you believe in God, should you believe in Santa Claus too?
Christian Post ^ | 7/16/2009 | Randal Rauser

Posted on 07/17/2009 5:37:12 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

Well I must say, I had a great time reading the comments, critiques and insults that came in after my last post with its modest attempt to define "atheism". In particular, many self-described atheists took umbrage to my claim that atheism is denial of the proposition that God exists. (Apparently my smarmy attitude was also ripe for verbal assault.)

One of my most spirited opponents drew comparisons between belief in God and unicorns as he/she asked: "do you believe in unicorns? Can you disprove the existence of unicorns?" The idea, presumably, is that belief in unicorns and God are equivalent. Thus, if belief in unicorns is irrational then so is belief in God (bad news for the theist). And if disbelief in unicorns is the rational position for the average person on the street then so is disbelief in God (good news for the atheist).

This is an important comparison to consider, but in doing so I am going to switch from unicorns to Santa Claus since the latter (being a concrete individual rather than a type of thing) is a closer parallel to God. So the question: is belief in Santa Claus like belief in God?

First, let's begin to address the question in the manner of Thomas Aquinas, by giving our opponent as fair a shake as possible:

So here we go. Picture yourself a manager at Walmart interviewing a potential employee to work in the warehouse. "Alfred" seems to be a well-adjusted intelligent twenty-five year old who has solid work experience and references, Thus you are inclined to hire him. Then you notice his Rolex watch and you offer a compliment. "Nice watch Alfred."

"Thanks," he replies, "Santa gave it to me." You pause, wait for the punchline, and then slowly, with growing trepidation, you realize that he is deathly serious.

You swallow nervously as Alfred watches you intently. "Santa?" you ask in a futile attempt to sound nonchalant. A bead of sweat rolls down your brow.

"Yes," Alfred replies. "I was very good last year. Santa loves me, and he watches everything we do. So you can trust me Mr. Manager."

Okay, would you hire Alfred even after he confessed belief in Santa Claus? At the very least wouldn't you be at least be less inclined to hire him in light of that belief? You might concede Alfred's point that believing Santa is watching over him will make him more likely to be honest and hard working. But would that potential positive byproduct of his belief be sufficient to allay your concerns?

With that in mind, let's replay the last exchange:

"Nice watch Alfred."

"Thanks. The Lord provided it as an answer to prayer."

Many people would view the invocation of God as much less threatening or epistemologically questionable than invocation of Santa Claus. Indeed, many would be positively encouraged to hear the invocation of God. But if it appears irrational to ascribe the acquisition of the watch to Santa Claus, why is it not equally irrational to ascribe it to God? In short, what makes the Christian any more rational than Alfred?


TOPICS: Apologetics; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: atheism; god; santaclaus
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1 posted on 07/17/2009 5:37:13 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

I have an iphone that I patiently waited to buy for two years. Then I got a side job which allows me to afford the iPhone and all the trimmings and fund my hobbies. Actually I gave myself most of the credit for obtaining such a geeky prize.


2 posted on 07/17/2009 5:41:24 PM PDT by cyborg (The Cyborg Show brought you by the Apple iPhone)
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To: SeekAndFind

I have a Christmas tree ball that has a painting of Santa on it...

Called the Fourth Wise Man, Santa is kneeling to the Christ child lying in the manger...

I love it...

Would like to get a sweat shirt made...


3 posted on 07/17/2009 5:42:59 PM PDT by Tennessee Nana
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To: SeekAndFind

Well if you had a personal relationship with Santa, and could feel his power in life, maybe yes.

parsy.


4 posted on 07/17/2009 5:43:24 PM PDT by parsifal ("Knock and ye shall receive!" (The Bible, somewhere.))
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To: SeekAndFind

And Santa died for our sins, how?


5 posted on 07/17/2009 5:45:57 PM PDT by doc1019 (YO! You are also half white … recognize it, deal with it.)
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To: parsifal

Parsy, you win!


6 posted on 07/17/2009 5:48:26 PM PDT by netmilsmom (Psalm 109:8 - Let his days be few; and let another take his office)
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To: doc1019

Thus far in this thread, no one has answered the question posed by the author :

If it appears irrational to ascribe the acquisition of the watch to Santa Claus, why is it not equally irrational to ascribe it to God? In short, what makes the Christian any more rational than Alfred (who invoked Santa as the one who gave him his watch)?


7 posted on 07/17/2009 5:52:51 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Like children who discover there is no Santa, the atheists try to convince us there is no God.

They do not believe—— a joy has been taken from them and they wish to take this joy from others.


8 posted on 07/17/2009 5:53:19 PM PDT by Venturer
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To: parsifal
Well if you had a personal relationship with Santa, and could feel his power in life, maybe yes.

So, a person's FEELINGS determine what is objectively true or not ?

What if we replaced the word -- SANTA above with Adolf Hitler ? Is the answer still maybe yes ?
9 posted on 07/17/2009 5:54:09 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Maybe God is Santa Claus, or vice-versa.


10 posted on 07/17/2009 5:56:47 PM PDT by Swordfished
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To: SeekAndFind

Atheists are ignorant people who, rather than make any real effort to enlighten their ignorance with knowledge (which takes time and effort) decide instead to worship that ignorance and defer to it in all matters. I have no interest in trying to convince atheists of anything. They have their reward and are content with it - even delight in it - and will carry that forward through all their existence. They are like imbeciles squatting in a corner playing with a shiny little top. They can go for a long time like that because they are so enthralled with the little top that nothing else is noticed. Eventually the top breaks or they grow bored with it. At that point they either convert (like C.S. Lewis or Muggeridge) or they simply collapse in a welter of grief and disbelief but with nothing to fall back on for comfort or succor. Poor people.


11 posted on 07/17/2009 5:57:22 PM PDT by scory
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To: SeekAndFind

Santa is helpless to justify this sinner before a Holy God....


12 posted on 07/17/2009 5:57:43 PM PDT by anniegetyourgun
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To: SeekAndFind

Just because you believe in one unprovable concept doesn’t mean that you must believe in all unprovable concepts. You are free to believe in any or all as you see fit. Whatever floats your boat. I just wish that folks wouldn’t spend a lot of bandwidth on a Conservative site expounding on their unprovable beliefs not related to conservatism. I swear I am developing carpal syndrome mousing past those colorful, never-read foot long posts that some drobots post weekly.


13 posted on 07/17/2009 6:00:02 PM PDT by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: SeekAndFind

What do the True God and the fake Santa have in common? Nothing at all. Indeed, Santa is almost an idol, even though he is not mentioned in God’s Word.

Santa introduces children to a moral basis for living that is below the standard set by the Ten Commandments. And the only role that faith plays is in whether Santa exits or not.


14 posted on 07/17/2009 6:00:22 PM PDT by theBuckwheat
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To: SeekAndFind

Sheeh...everyone knows that God and Santa Claus are both real. My kids better believe at least until they are seniors if they want any presents that is for sure. Although my oldest is 11 and probably only has another Christmas until he stops believing, I will use the same method my parents used on us kids. If you don’t belive in Santa than the presents stop. It worked very effectively and the younger kids enjoyed believing in Santa much longer.


15 posted on 07/17/2009 6:05:53 PM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: SeekAndFind
It's not irrational because “god” is a universally known concept or construct whereas Santa is a known “story”
16 posted on 07/17/2009 6:06:00 PM PDT by Popman (Joe Biden REALLY can't be Vice President, can he ?)
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To: SeekAndFind
The entire proposition is based on what I call Sunday-School Christianity -- the stories told to little children to introduce them to the concept. This is what I noticed about most people who are anti-Christianity; they never got past the childhood version and thought deeper.

The reason we are less threatened by an adult invoking God as a reason than Santa is that virtually all of us learn at some point that Santa is our parents or other caretaker. We figure it out or find the presents in the closet or sneek a peek and catch them in the act.

But as we mature, we learn that the more we learn, the more there is to learn, and we will NEVER know all the answers to Life, the Universe, the Human Question, and Everything. We don't even know all of the questions. We do know that some things are out of our control no matter our wealth, power, or social systems, so how do we come to understand them. Everybody experiences this. Some chalk it up to fate, some to God, some to other people.

17 posted on 07/17/2009 6:09:11 PM PDT by Clock King (There's no way to fix D.C.)
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To: SeekAndFind

“So, a person’s FEELINGS determine what is objectively true or not ?”

You’re looking for proof when the kind of proof you want doesn’t exist. What you should be doing is thinking about faith. That is the basis of Christianity.

The Apostle Paul didn’t believe either. It took getting knocked on his *ss (or off his *ss, I guess) before he believed.

If you are not the kind of person who can rely on faith, then don’t. Start off by just admitting that you don’t know everything (which is true) and keep your mind open about the possibility. God has a way of sending people messages, and if your mind is open, you might receive them.

parsy.


18 posted on 07/17/2009 6:10:44 PM PDT by parsifal ("Knock and ye shall receive!" (The Bible, somewhere.))
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To: Clock King

Spoken like a true agnostic. I concur.


19 posted on 07/17/2009 6:12:09 PM PDT by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: scory

“nothing to fall back on for comfort or succor” So, that comfort comes from something imaginary?

Why can’t believers admit that there is no evidence to prove or disprove the existence of any god; be it Thor, Vishnu, Ahura Mazda, Mohammed, Jehovah, Marduk, Zeus, or the other countless gods invented since the dawn of mankind?


20 posted on 07/17/2009 6:13:52 PM PDT by Pelagius of Asturias
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