Those articles are both cute, but I also think they do a better job than I could of articulating an important point about Santa Clause. They say exactly opposite things, but yet each, in it's own way, very meaningfully demonstrate that their point is correct.
The first article proves belief in Santa is irrational, utterly, ludicrously irrational. The mathematics don't work! There is no way a reasonably intelligent person could grow up and still believe in Santa Clause.
I suspect the second perspective will be the harder sell for most of you (there are a lot of disbelievers in America today) but it makes a strong point against such argumentation. It's "not comprehensible to their little minds" and they fail to realize that "The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see"
Expanding on the argument: I'd point out that every year at christmas time good boys and girls all over the world are given gifts for which credit is given to Santa Clause. Much more than a single Lego set, children receive their hearts desires from anonymous givers over and over again year after year. hearts are warmed and people buy gifts for one another, and for their children, and for other children in families they'll never meet, so that they too can have a Merry Christmas.
You say the sleigh can't go that fast, I say it's magic! Deal with it, you can't argue with results.
Yes yes, sure sure, say the rationalists. But being a good skeptical observer means not attributing to magic what can be explained by guilt and sentimentality. People buy those presents with money made of dollars and cents, not hopes and dreams. Certainty christmas results in some wonderful things, it also results in some terrible things like debt and suicide. People are nice to each other at christmas, isn't that alone enough without externalizing it and putting it in a red suit?
But the believers reply "Is it enough?" Enough for What? For you? Maybe. Apparently! It it enough to explain that between Black Friday and Christmas Eve the entire polarity of our economic system reverses to allow for customers shopping for others more often than themselves? No it isn't.
It it enough to explain a phenomenon so fantastic as millions of people who do not believe in Jesus taking time out of their lives to celebrate Christmas and engage in sacrificial giving to the point that the Christians actually get annoyed by it? No, that's too incredible!
Here's the thing:
1700 years ago a Turkish man named Nikolaos made a habit of giving secret gifts to the underprivileged and to this very day And children keep watch by night for Saint Nick despite the most powerful forces the world has ever seen rising and falling, despite the world being changed on an unimaginable scale since the 4th century. His random acts of kindness continue.
It's remarkable. Say the engineers of the world. but it's no reason to lie to children! So there is a sentimentality of the season that's been socially reinforced thanks to a series of fantastic coincidences. There is still no fat man with a sleigh pulled by reindeer.
Yes there are there was one at the mall!
He was just an actor.
No he wasn't! He wasn't just an actor, he was also Saint Nick to thousands of children. He was also a guy named Harvey, he wasn't "just" anything! Nothing is "just" anything. Don't you see?
No! No I don't see. And if you do you're delusional.
I'll conclude this controversy in my next post. Stay tuned!
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A Fear of Whalesby Ryan Gaffney