Santa, God and Satan

A few days ago I overheard this conversation which Sally later posted as her fb status update:
Sally: So do you think Santa is a real person?
Ciaran: What?? You can't disprove Santa is real. Well you can, but then you would crush my childhood dreams and I will bring Childline down on your head like a hurricane.
Everyday life in the Campton household.
Anyway, a few days before I overheard another conversation on a bus which included the line:
"I gave up believing in God shortly after I gave up believing in Santa and the Tooth Fairy."
I'm sure you've come across similar, and if not, spend 5 minutes looking at the comments on many "Christian" contributions to YouTube or other open-access Christian website.
Such an attitude to the idea of God reflects more on our "consumerist" attitude to God... he's there to bless us and to turn painful experiences (like losing a tooth) into gain (hopefully financial!).
If you want to start debating with someone on the back of statements of this kind then  this post by Michael Patton over on Pen and Parchment last March may be of interest... It certainly makes a change from my younger days when it only took Santa to be mentioned in evangelical circles for someone to mount a spiritual high-horse in which the fact that poor old St Nicholas' modern monicker is an anagram of Satan, would be the clinching argument concerning the evils of the modern Christmas, although those arguments are still out there... (everything's out there on the internet if you are prepared to waste time looking for it).
However, perhaps before debating with non-theists about the logical inconsistencies of their Santa/God analogy, we could have a look at how we who claim to be theists, approach God... Because this erroneous understanding of God as a cosmic-Santa, has not arisen purely in the minds of non-theists spontaneously without "cause", but is probably founded on the fact that we in the church often talk about him and treat him in such a way, spending more time on our Christmas prayer lists, than in listening to him... More time trying to get him to work for us than in truly worshipping him...
Perhaps if people outside the church saw us worshipping the God of scripture rather than a God with a fluffy beard who will bless us (or otherwise) on the basis of whether we are naughty or nice then perhaps they might take us, and God, more seriously.

ps. Am I the only person in the western world who has never seen "Elf"?


Alan in Belfast said…
I hadn't seen Elf until a late night showing in QFT a couple of weeks ago. 100 adults plied with Jameson's cocktails and all wearing elf/santa hats ... at 10pm at night. Great crack.

Kids do get confused between Santa and God. There's an all-seeing, all-aware, father-like, holy feel to Santa - who encourages you to be good too.

Very confusing. But hard to stop - even if you don't mention or reinforce the Santa legend.

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