Monday, June 9, 2008

God?

As usual, I'm always thinking of the phenomenon of the belief in god. I've found an interesting way to explain the lack of such a phenomenon. I'm sure this isn't the first time it's been put this way, but it's the first time I've put it this way. This is a long post, and may or may not be worth the read 

First, I want to describe someone, and you think about who/what it is.

Omnipotent
Omniscient
Source of morals
Maintains justice and equality
Punishes injustice
Listens to and answers prayers

Who might that be? Sound like god? How about some more descriptions to narrow it down a little?

Steeped in tradition
Red and white traditional attire worn on special occasions
White beard
When he laughs his belly shakes like a bowlful of jelly?

Okay, I'm talking about Santa Claus. He's not exactly omnipotent, specifically, but he does have some amazing powers that defy logic/physics. He can visit every house in the world in one night, squeeze through chimneys that are much too small for his large stature, even making chimneys for houses that don't have them, to deliver toys to all the good kids. He must stop time, or transcend reality and be in multiple places at once to accomplish such a feat. Aside from the short time line, he also has all those toys for every good little girl and boy in one sack that he carries on a flying sleigh led by flying reindeer (one such reindeer purportedly even has a glowing red nose!). So maybe not capable of making a rock that he couldn't lift, but still pretty amazing. Omnipotent may be a stretch of the word, but it may not, seeing as we don't know his limitations, just some of his abilities.

I admit omniscient may be a stretch as well, but it may not be. He knows if you have been good or bad, if you are sleeping, etc. He may actually know everything and not just a whole lot that he couldn't know through natural means. He is at least locally omniscient. I would say that he is a source of morals, but that he doesn't tell you what they are. He obviously has a list of good and bad, and judges you based on it. Unfortunately you won't know what you did wrong, just that you did something wrong. He also doesn't do much in the way of justice and equality. He really only encourages the right thing by bribing you with goodies or giving you coal in your stocking if you are bad.

He doesn't exactly listen to and answer prayers either. He does let you write a letter with all of your wishes (prayers), and he sometimes gives you what you want, and sometimes doesn't.

Do you believe in Santa Claus? Not St. Nicholas, but the modern magical Santa Claus. If you are an adult, then I would presume no.

Do you believe in god?

Is that a fair question?

They really don't have all that much in common do they? God listens to and answers prayers (in mysterious ways), and provides you with a source of morals (homosexuals are bad mmkay?). He is omniscient (What's pi again?) and omnipotent (Chariots of iron? You don't say) and maintains justice (Who's O.J.?).

What if I said that if you don't believe in Santa Claus you are going to hell? You will burn in a lake of fire for all eternity because of your lack of belief. It really doesn't change anything does it? Santa Claus isn't real. Parents buy the presents, wrap them, put them under the tree, and eat the chocolate cookies (my favorite tradition!). I assume that most adults know this. Once you know the truth, you can't go back. If you don't believe, and you have never heard of Santa, it's possible I could convince you to believe. Maybe I could show you all the good things that he has done; all the gifts that he has given, all the great children that were raised believing in him, etc. If you happen to have already heard of him, and know that it's a lie, could I convince you? Would it matter what I showed you? You do know that N.O.R.A.D tracks Santa Claus every year right?

The whole point of this is that Santa Claus and god are both imaginary. Many good things are done in both of their names, but the fact of the matter is, they are not done by them. If Santa is so great, how come he doesn't give presents to all the kids in the world? What about all the starving kids in the world? Does he give them a present and no food? How come Santa gives more and nicer presents to richer families than poorer families? As someone who knows that Santa is make believe, these questions are easy to answer.

The main difference between god and Santa is that the parents that deceive their kids about Santa actually know that Santa is a lie, while the parents that deceive their kids about god actually believe in god. They grew up with their imaginary friend and never stopped believing. This belief in a god has been passed down from parent to child for thousands of years. It originated because humanity was naïve of how the world worked and yearning to explain the chaos did the best they could in that time. Now we are stuck with all these weird religions and all of these even weirder traditions.

If you happen to believe in god and you feel like sharing, please think of it like Santa. Could I convince you that Santa was real?