View Full Version : Imagine Santa

12-18-2007, 10:54 AM
By Ole Wolf on September 26, 2007 8:04 AM

Imagine that you know someone that believes in Santa Claus. We probably all do: little children often believe in Santa Claus. But imagine that this person you know is an adult person that honestly believes in Santa.

Now, I don't want you to think this person is stupid. I want you to imagine that this adult believer in Santa Claus is an intelligent person who is skilled at his job. He may even have attended university and graduated with high honors. He's easy-going and generally a nice person. Sure, he's not perfect, but on the overall you can't really point your finger at him. He's like most, except he believes that Santa Claus lives somewhere on the North Pole with his reindeer and little helpers, delivering your presents at Christmas, and he believes that he must behave nicely because Santa wants him to be a nice person.

It is easy to recognize that his good deeds are linked to his belief, because although he doesn't brag about them, he encourages others to note. It may be the little badge on his shirt stating that he donated to some charity, or the occasional mention that he is a board member at the local chapter of Santa-believers, who do good for the community.

In fact, I'd like you to think there's nothing wrong with this person. I think you'll agree with me... except for that Santa part, right?

Well, he's skilled and smart all right, and generally a trustworthy and nice person, and apparently his Santa belief makes him do good things, even if it seems a little quaint.

Yet, somehow you'd be a little hesitant to believing his judgment skills, wouldn't you? That is, after your initial surprise of learning that he believes in such superstitious drivel has worn off.

Perhaps you might secretly wonder if he's genuinely such a nice person, or whether the only thing preventing him from being nasty is his belief that Santa wants him to do good. After all, he would hardly believe that humans would do evil without a belief in Santa if he didn't think that he himself would do evil without this belief. You might also feel slightly offended because it means he views you as an evil person because of your disbelief. You would rightfully suspect him of not liking or trusting you, and you would rightfully suspect him of lying whenever he claimed otherwise.

He also maintains that morals and ethics are based on the belief in Santa, so in politics, negotiations, and human relations you'll find him rejecting the values and opinions of other human beings and ignoring human rights because he contributes more importance to opinions that are consistent with those that he believes are given by Santa than opinions differing from his belief voiced by mere humans. He is particularly skeptic against cultures that don't celebrate Christmas. The implication of his assertion that Santa's opinions matter more than human opinions is that human rights can be overruled by the belief in a supernatural, non-human entity.


All of a sudden, this person may not seem so nice. You should perhaps begin to seriously worry what might happen if your acquaintance doesn't get his presents for Christmas.

You realize that his nice behavior is motivated by an egoistic desire for the gift of Santa, that is, his actions are based on the assumption that Santa will give him presents for Christmas if he's behaved well. All of his good deeds are based on this egoistic desire. He believes that Santa will also give presents to anyone else that behaves well according to Santa's wishes. In fact, those people that have been struck by misfortune probably had it coming somehow, since they don't acknowledge the gifts that Santa will provide if they believe in him and behave according to his demands. If they need help, your acquaintance would rather have them profess their belief in Santa than take action or provide tangible help. He genuinely believes that a letter to Santa Claus is better than real help, and he will be happy to show his "helpfulness" by writing such a letter.

Santa is capable of performing miracles, such as bringing your son back safe from Iraq of Afghanistan for Christmas, or in other ways making sure you're reunited with your loved ones. It is the belief in Santa, not personal involvement, that makes the change, according to your acquaintance. Getting your son back safe from the battle field is a matter of belief rather than social responsibility, because your acquaintance wants belief and shuns the thought of responsibility to the responsible. Show your belief in Santa, if you wish to be granted a miracle, and deny the profane methods of the non-believers. That is also how he would prefer that you be treated at the hospital, because he considers this medicine thing to be disgracefully distrustful of Santa's abilities.

You had better hope there are not too many of his kind.

This attitude of his is either a corollary of his belief or symbolized by his belief, but it is in no way caused by, or indicative of, some fundamentalist stance towards Santa. The attitude is the same no matter if he keeps his belief half-heartedly to himself or flaunts it openly. It is that he believes in a supernatural authority that reveals his social irresponsibility and perception of other human beings, not the intensity of his belief.

The belief in Santa that seems a little eccentric at first has major implications that affect the person's life and the person's interaction with other human beings. It indicates how badly this person thinks of other human beings, and how poorly this person treats other people.

Now imagine that you believe in the Christian God, the Muslim Allah, or some third metaphysical being. Maybe now you know what I think of you. I don't mind your specific belief, because belief systems come a dime a dozen. I mind you, the way you are, what you think of me and others, and the way you treat other people, which are revealed by the fact that you believe. You might strike me as skilled and smart, and generally a trust worthy and nice person... except for that thing about your belief and its implications.

web page (http://blog.blazingangles.net/whatsthis/2007/09/imagine-santa.html)