I believed in Santa Claus when I was a child and then I grew up.
It's so symbolic of religious belief. We are raised to believe that there is a magic man who, if believed in, will deliver us the presents we want and believe we deserve. We are consistently told that he knows if we have been committing good deeds or bad deeds...he even knows our sleeping pattern. Like hymns, you will hear children preaching this message in the form of a catchy Christmas jingle.
Don't get me wrong, the giving of presents is a generous act, a genuinely good and kind act. It provides happiness for people, and that is something we shouldn't criticise.
I just think it's so uncanny to the theological doctrines of this world. Take, for instance, a child sitting upon the lap of our beloved Santa. The child seems utterly thrilled. I want this, and this, and this. Santa replies Ho, Ho, Ho, if you're a good little girl, you will receive this wish. Just like a man sinking to his knees, begging to a fictional, personally customised figure to give him what he wants and deserves. If he's a good little boy, he might just get what he wants. If he adheres by what this character is told to say are acts of goodness, he will be showered with everlasting bliss and peace when the time comes. He prays every night, just knowing that this worshiping of God will get him into a Heavenly Kingdom, where you don't have to worry about the hardships of life. Your loved ones will be there, all waiting for you! You don't have to work, or pay taxes! Quite an escape from the harshness of life, is it not?
Like this man, billions of people are waiting. Waiting for their presents under the tree. Tightly wrapped and hollow when knocked. Who has wrapped these empty boxes and proclaimed that there is something within that we just cannot comprehend? Humans, of course. In our inherent and primitive nature to want more than we could physically receive, we have constructed a being that is eternal and beyond physical limits, a being who will give it to us.
Like greedy children on Christmas morning, Theist will eagerly rip open their glistening wrapping paper, only to find a box of nothing. They will shake it around and attempt to hear something, but there will be absolutely nothing. This is the sheer disappointment Theist will experience when they die. All that talking to God for nothing? Unfortunately. Quite ironic, too, as they won't have the capacity to experience anything.
As a human grows up intellectually and finds that a God is a man-made construct, they find that they have been taught to believe that of the concept of God when vulnerable by a group of other humans. Indeed, this is exactly like a child that grows up to find that it was their parents all along, teaching them to believe in Santa Claus when in an impressionable stage in their development.
Hoke, I don't know whether you were going down the same path as I did, but you struck an intellectual chord. I could write a book on this, but I'm afraid that I have a debating speech to make. I hope that my link between a child opening presents on Christmas morning and the death of a human wasn't too depressing.
Mr. Feces (may I just call you Omnipotent?),
Yes, you are right on point with the analogy of God and Santa.
He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake! Also, he's coming whether you like it or not.
It was enough to scare my older sister when we were young. The idea bothered her so much that my folks told her the truth - there is no Santa Claus. Since they told my sister, they had to tell me to. She was 6 and I was 4, so Santa was originally explained to me as a myth from the beginning.
A few years later in Sunday School with many of my peers still believing in Jolly Old St. Nick, I found the courage to ask a few simple things of my teachers. They didn't like my questions any more than I liked their answers.
Fronkey Farmer, that's awesome.
It was late at night on Dec. 25th when I was six years old, a fat man wearing a red suit with white fur trim came into my room, this was the night I first learned the word Pedophile. :P
(oops...have I just ruin Xmas???)
I wasn't expecting that type of response. I think many on this site agree that even good hearted deception can be co-opted and twisted by the insidious.
The fat SOB didn't bring me the one toy I *really* wanted when I was four, so the "personal relationship" is pretty shitty.
So you sincerely asked something of him, but it never came to pass?