8/15/2012

Santa or God

By Jon Webster (originally posted on Facebook page The Thinker).

Santa or God: Which Fantasy Is Safer To Teach Your Children In Order To Make Them Behave?

The Thinker
The Thinker

There are two delusions, falsehoods or fantasies (call them what you may) told to children to make them behave. You have God and Santa Claus. But which one is less likely to harm, twist, and warp the young, fragile, and innocent mind of a child? Let’s take a look at and compare and contrast them and discover which story is more appropriate to tell to children. So, let’s begin. Which one shall we go with if we are forced to choose, God or Santa?

Let’s draw the comparisons to start off with. With both, you get the 24 hour, ever-watchful surveillance to check on your behavior. “He knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.” We get it. You get the same thing with god.

Now let’s look at how they reward you. If you are good, Santa brings you presents. If you are good when it comes to god, you get to spend eternity worshipping him. Not really much of a reward, is it? You’d probably get bored as you do with every church service, hoping it will be over soon, constantly looking at your watch, and awaiting the dismissal prayer so you can go eat fried chicken at KFC. But in heaven, you are to endlessly worship god. Sounds like more of a reward for him than you, doesn’t it?

Now, let’s get into the area of punishments for bad behavior. If you are bad, with Santa, he brings you a lump of coal. You can do many things with coal. You can draw with it. You can burn it for fuel to keep warm and the parents of a kid who got coal can place it on a child’s windowsill as a constant reminder to be better next year. If you are bad with god and don’t believe he exists, he tortures you. Pretty straightforward isn’t it? But it’s an awful threat reeking of vengeance, hell, fire and brimstone and pretty much everything the pastor at your local church warns you about for being intellectually honest, skeptical, and like (“Doubting”) Thomas asking for evidence when there is a claim made that goes against everything we know about how the universe behaves in the natural world.

Now let’s get into what they do if you don’t believe they exist. With god, disbelief in his existence gets you, once again, tortured for all of eternity. With Santa, it’s a different story altogether. When it comes to believing whether or not he exists, he’s cool with it and if you don’t you are just temporarily and mildly disappointed and you learn to grow up. No biggie.

At this point, we’ll cover how they are promoted and which items or locations in popular culture their image is on. God is on the Sistine Chapel, a sacred and holy place for the Christian faith (the Catholic Church in particular). Santa gets Coca-Cola.

Santa God
Photo from Dinosaurs
Died of Boredom

Now, let’s look at family life. Santa has a wife and no recorded children that we know of. God is not married and has no wife but saw fit to get a young virgin girl who was engaged to another man, pregnant in a society where if they even suspected you of having premarital sex, the town collectively got together and stoned you on your father’s doorstep. To top it off, he did this just so he could torture this child when he got older for the better part of a day in the most agonizing way available of that day, public flogging and crucifixion. This earned him the coveted title of Father of the Year Award the first year it was given out in the year 33 A.D.

Next, we’ll cover where they live. Santa lives at the north pole, except for his trek he makes yearly to spread joy and good cheer by rewarding children who behave themselves by giving them toys. God is everywhere. You can’t detect him or prove he exists everywhere but since a 2,000 year old to 3,500 year old book says so it must be true, right?

Now, let’s look at their behavior. Santa never drowned anyone, never turned anyone into a pillar of salt, never ordered anyone to kill anyone else, never sent two she bears to maul anyone, and never cursed anyone’s descendants for evermore because they were curious. God, however, did all these things and even wrote about doing these horrible things in his autobiography. Why he needed more than 40 authors and over 1,400 years to write it when he created in the universe in six days and resurrected the dead on several occasions, we’ll never know. Probably because he likes to be mysterious.

Now, let’s tackle a tough subject that both of their lives touch on, slavery. Both endorse unpaid slave labor. God says you can beat your slaves so long as you don’t kill them because they are your money. Santa kind of has a slave labor deal going on with his elves but we’ll forgive him (because it’s what Jesus would do) because he uses the toys they make, the products of their labor, to reward children for behaving themselves for an entire year. Santa, however, has no known record of advocating slave abuse.

Now let’s get to their list of demands. God asks for 10% of your income, your lifelong devotion to following him and everything he teaches. He demands worship at least weekly in which case you will wear your best clothes. He also asks for you to attempt to telepathically communicate with him “constantly” and you never even get a “Hello. How are you, today?” in return. The most you will ever get is what psychologists call “a voice of god experience” which occurs in Brocha’s area of your brain. This “miraculous” experience is totally and completely delusional which is brought on when outside stimuli are completely quieted. You’re basically talking to yourself unconsciously whether you realize it or not but many people base huge life decisions on mere moments of hallucination and subconscious self-deception. Santa really honestly only asks for two things. He wants you to make sure you don’t have a fire burning in your chimney so when he comes down it, he doesn’t burn himself. Oh, and milk and cookies. That’s it.

So, if given a choice of fantasy to teach my children to get them to behave, I’m going with jolly, old, Saint Nick, primarily because Santa never intentionally murdered anyone.

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