Comparing Jesus and Santa

This article is adapted from my YouTube video on this topic:

Most Christians believe God gave us free choice in order to be able to choose to worship him. But in order to make that choice, you have to believe in God first. That’s not so easy, since if he exists, he hides himself so well that thousands of different religions, sects and cults have developed, each sincere in believing their religion is the only true one.

So when these same Christians insist that people choose to become atheists in order to sin without repercussion, actual atheists find that concept just plain baffling, since belief—and lack of belief—is not a choice. If you don’t agree, there’s a simple test you can do to prove it: simply try to choose to believe in Santa Claus. Unless you’re five and still think he exists, you’re not going to succeed. We don’t believe in God because we haven’t seen sufficient evidence for his existence, not because of some concept of sin.

Speaking of Santa Claus, when Christians say we should believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, I have to ask: How is believing in Jesus any different than believing in Santa? This isn’t a flippant question; as an atheist I honestly don’t see the difference.

Sure, millions of Christians around the world believe in Jesus…but then millions of children around the world believe in Santa.

Jesus is based on an historical figure…but then so is Santa.

Christians perform rituals for Jesus, like prayer, baptism, and communion…but then children perform rituals for Santa, like writing him letters, hanging stockings, and setting out milk and cookies.

Christians claim Jesus answers their prayers by helping them find lost items and giving them guidance…but then children claim Santa answers their letters by giving them toys every Christmas morning.

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Christians believe Jesus used to perform miracles, such as healing the sick, turning water into wine and resurrecting after his death…but children believe Santa also performs miracles, such as being all-knowing whether children are good or bad, visiting the homes of all the children on Earth in a single night and fitting through even the smallest of chimneys.

Jesus walked on water. Santa can fly through the air.

Christians learn about Jesus through books, poems, songs, movies, TV shows and word-of-mouth (the Bible, A Christmas Carol, Jesus Loves Me, The Passion of the Christ, Davey and Goliath, priests)…but children also learn about Santa through books, poems, songs, movies, TV shows and word-of-mouth (The Santa Claus Book, The Night Before Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, The Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, parents).

Jesus offers eternal salvation to people who worship him, and eternal damnation for those who don’t…but Santa offers presents for children who are good, and coal for those who are bad.

Christians sometimes see Jesus in grilled cheese sandwiches and stains, but children see Santa at malls and on street corners.

Christians are surely sincere in their belief that Jesus exists…but children are no less sincere in their belief that Santa exists.

So really, what’s the difference? A Christian will likely claim that Santa is made up, that he isn’t real, and that children just aren’t yet developed or educated enough to know better. But that’s exactly what atheists think about Christians and their belief in Jesus.

So what IS the difference between believing in Jesus Christ and believing in Santa Claus? Apparently not much. Jesus is just Santa for adults. So if you don’t believe in Santa but you do believe in Jesus, maybe it’s time to do what every child eventually does…grow up.

Photo Credits: Falco

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