Lies Part 4 Santa vs God


“He knows when you are sleeping.  He knows when you’re awake.  He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!”

Much has been written and said about the parallels between Santa Clause and God.  I have no desire to talk religion on my blog, but thought it might be fun to play with the Santa Lie for a few minutes. The Santa vs God debate draws on many parallels between the two.

  • Both concepts are taught to children by adults
  • Both are omniscient in that they know things about you that only you God and Santa can know
  • Both judge, reward, and punish based on morality, belief and behavior
  • You can pray or write letters to them to ask for things
  • Tithings are offered to both represented by money, milk, cookies, etc..
  • Both have songs written about them and praising their powers
  • Both have been depicted as white men with beards

There is more but you get the point.

I don’t remember when I found out Santa was not real.  I don’t believe I was overly traumatized, but the fact that I don’t remember may speak to repressed memories 🙂  I have heard stories of children crying when they pre-maturely discover the truth about Santa from an older kid on the playground, thus shattering their paradigm of something they have held dear and believed in.  But they grow out of it and go on to tell their children the same lie when they are older.

There is a question I am more interested in, than “why we tell the Santa lie?”  The answer to that question might have something to do with long standing cultural traditions or wanting to motivate kids to behave.

The question on my mind is:  When religious parents teach their children about both Santa and God, I am guessing that they tell one as the truth (God) and one as a deliberate lie (Santa), but when the child finds out Santa is a lie, does it make them more or less likely to question God?   Do the similarities between the two concepts, even if they are subconscious, make children more skeptical of other constructs?

Again I do not wish to discuss the religious aspects of this question.  Rather the possible impact of the Santa lie on other belief systems.   With this in mind, is the Santa Lie a good idea?

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    • kathy
    • February 10th, 2010

    cant remember the last time i saw jesus/god in a mall or sat in his/her lap, but it is a very interesting comparison! i think children, subconciously or not, know that santa is not real, or at the very least know that those santas in malls are “assistants” and i would imagine, not being the least bit religious, that the illusion/threat/interpretation of god is that he/she is the omniscient, omnipresent presence that is never really seen nor heard but always watching, whereas santa is a common commercial figure that really only appears once a year. and yes, i do confess to using the threat that he is watching. keep on with the blogging, it is very interesting!!

    • Vinayak
    • February 10th, 2010

    I forgot how interesting you were :). I would say yes, subconsciously when the child learns that the whole Santa thing is a lie they would start to question other things they have learned. One of these might be God, but I don’t think most people make the connections you stated in the bullet points consciously and therefore never give it the thought you gave it. Therefore although realization of the lack of Santa does not directly contribute to disbelief in religion, it can very well be a factor if considered.

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