I have seen discussions on what the word 'atheist' means.
I don't believe in god or gods the way I don't believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Prop Man, Sasquash, Fairies, or magic. I am certain these things and others do not exist.
I don't have a question about their non-existance. I am told I can't be truely sure, even as an atheist that there isn't a 'Creator'.
Yes, yes I can.
I am as sure there is no Creator as I am sure that the Santa who fills my grandkids Christmas stockings and eats the cookies and drinks the milk is my husband and myself.
I believe we create heaven and hell and gods in the darkness behind our eyes so as to keep ourselves from realizing that it is all darkness behind our eyes.
And I am okay with that.
My husband used to chew on ugly old carrots and mealy apples we had set out for the Reindeer and throw them out on the snow.
He liked the cookies but convinced the kids that Santa would prefer a little bit of brandy to 'warm him up' to the traditional milk or hot cocoa.
When we had a wood stove we would artfully make footprints.
Childhood with make believe in it is wonderful.
My grandson pretends he is Ironman, Spiderman, a Ninja, a construction worker, a chef and an FBI agent. Sometimes all at once. It is lots of fun (but noisy) I have tried to convince him that Ninjas are SILENT. No luck as yet.
But these things you guys are describing is NOT pretend or "make believe". It is REAL HARD EVIDENCE and tricking kids and lying. Yes with good fun intentions but it's not "obviously" the parents who are making reindeer like tracks on the roof or wherever. Kids trust their parents not do pull elaborate schemes and lies/tricks like this, and Christmas/Santa is the only exception to this rule, and they don't know there are ANY exceptions until they are older.
Do you see where I'm coming from with this at least? I see how it's really fun to do all these things because someone is honestly falling for it. It wouldn't be fun if the kid didn't genuinely believe, if they knew it was the parents doing it. But... it's just... it really is deception and I feel uncomfortable with it.
I can see you are uncomfortable with this and I don't know what to say. My children are all 25+ now and have told me how much they enjoyed the memories and pretending.
You do not have to play out this myth with your children any more than you have to tell the story of the nativity or have a creche.
We played fairies in the heating ducts and unicorns in the garden. We played the absurd fantasy of a rabbit delivering eggs. We dressed up and pretended to be ninjas or firefighters or Roman soldiers and gypsies, and dragons and many imaginative things.
We were a weird household. And of course we read. My kids knew what fiction and non-fiction were from an early age. Maybe that is why they had fun and no bad results. I don't know. It wasn't deception in our household, just part of the fun of pretending.
Well playing make believe is fun, I did it as a kid! I did read a lot too, I loved learning to read and write, I was early for my age at these things! And I loved science and I think I always was skeptical of the existence of God. I never believed in psychics or tarot cards or horoscopes. I still made up fantasy worlds alone and with my brother. I would write whole stories about princesses in my head while trying to fall asleep. I loved the fantasy and sci-fi genre of books and tv shows as a young child and continue to enjoy them today.
I just don't see how you can say the Santa stuff is the same if you fake handwriting and reindeer tracks and never once say "now let's 'pretend' Santa is real even though he's not". I feel like it's just OBVIOUS that when you played fairies in the heating ducts and unicorns in the garden, it's different. Because when you're in the garden there are no visible unicorns, and everyone understands that imagination must be involved, even young children. But with Santa the point is that he's "real" and you just have to essentially "have faith" that he only appears while you're sleeping and that's why you never see him, and you point to real concrete evidence like the handwriting or reindeer tracks or sudden appearance of presents in the morning, as "proof" of his existence. It's different and I just don't see why everyone thinks it's exactly the same. I love Christmas (in a secular way), I love fantasy, for instance the Harry Potter book series will always be dear to my heart, I've read every book multiple times and watched all the movies lol. I love realistic fiction too and I of course understand it's not reality even when there aren't magical powers involved. I like the idea of imagination and having fun with kids and stuff. But I just don't see how Santa is imagination. To me he's a blatant lie that parents tell their children and the whole society we live in supports and gives credence too, pretending he's real too, explicitly lying as well as lying by omission all the time, every adult, or even older child/teenager does it and most fellow children will have had the same experience and will reinforce the belief that Santa is REAL and EXISTS which is not the same as pretending unicorns or fairies exist just for fun.
Sure it's possible that a god of some kind (like the non-interventionist deistic god) might exist. It is also possible that every atom in my body will spontaneously and simultaneously undergo quantum tunneling and reappear, with the exact same relationships to one another, on Mars.
I don't lose any sleep over either one.
And of the two, the quantum tunneling is more likely. We have evidence that quantum tunneling occurs. No so with a god.
As I am just coming out with my atheism I think I tend to get defensive. I get tired of people telling me I can't know there is no god.
I get tired of having to explain myself to even people I love that are not Christian.
I don't believe in ghosts, or that tarot cards can tell the future, or that there is any supernatural things. There may be things that aren't understood yet but they are Natural rather than supernatural. And then I get all ranty.
And so I tend to get emphatic with my beliefs. I want to be a 7. I may not rationally be able to get there, but I want it.