I was just giving some thought to the similarities between belief in Jesus and belief in Santa. Consider the following quote:
"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." - Edward Gibbon
Now lets apply that to Santa: "The Santa myth is regarded by common children as true, by wise children as false, and by their parents as useful."
Jesus and Santa's Similarities
- Both employ 'carrot and stick' reward/punishment motivation (heaven/hell, toys/coal) to encourage morality as well as submissiveness to authorities.
- Both were real people with historical and mythological versions of their lives.
- Both have magical powers.
- Both give you free gifts (toys, fruits & nuts, miracles, eternal life) which guilts us into wanting to give back according to the social rule of reciprocity.
- Both receive lots of one way messages (prayers, letters to the north pole).
- Both have mythological armies of helpers (angels, elves).
- Both can bring us joy.
- Neither mythology can be proved or disproved without a doubt, however given the proper scrutiny, both can be seen for what they are: very unlikely.
What does this mean?
Jesus is the grown person's Santa. If we can all grow out of Santa, why cant we all grow out of religion? We all know the mythological Santa is fiction, but we still appreciate the idea of Santa. We still love the movies. We take with us all the good things that Santa preaches. Why cant we do this with our religions? Why does it have to feel so horrible to consider your religion is fiction? Why cant we take all the good teachings, reject the bad, and grow from there? Imagine how much better everyone would get along if we all took the good morals and teachings from our religions but allowed ourselves to grow out of the belief like we grew out of Santa. Imagine never again having to argue or fight over religion. No more evangelists trying to convince you that they have the RIGHT religion. No more 'gods chosen people' or fighting over 'holy' lands. The world needs to progress toward this.