CMV: God is just Santa Claus for adults

CMV: God is just Santa Claus for adults


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The cornerstone of most major religions is to be good and kind to those around us. If believing in this “fantasy” results in people following those mantras creates a better world, is it really the worst thing ever?


You my friend nailed my exact feeling. But sadly, not everyone does that. Most religions have the core idea of being good to each other, sadly they don't stop there and hide behind that excuse as to why they do horrible things to others. I don't care if you follow one of the crazy cults, but I do care when you start to infringe on other people's lives because of your beliefs


>but I do care when you start to infringe on other people's lives because of your beliefs This can also apply to an atheist who demonizes and belittles people for believing in a made-up entity by relating it to Santa Clause. Am I sensing a double standard? Edit: I think everyone here needs to watch the South Park episode "All About Mormons." The whole episode is a criticism of the Mormon faith while simultaneously criticizing the cynics who try to shut them down for what they believe. The takeaway moral at the end is: Who gives a shit what people believe if it makes them happy and good people?


I would agree, an atheist that belittles people because they believe isn't good either. I don't claim to be an atheist or religious either but I couldn't help but correlate the same idea of Santa Claus to a child as god or religion to an adult.


You're an [agnostic atheist](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic_atheism) then. That's still an atheist.


awww, thank you. I actually "believe" that all religions are just fiction. But I have no idea why anything is even here to begin with and am open to the idea that if there is some kind of creator, the level of complexity is too great for our simple minds to comprehend.


Yes, the stories and representations in religious texts have fictitious elements. There’s a great passage from Terry Pratchett’s *Hogfather* which speaks to this: Susan: “All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable." Death: REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE. Susan: "Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—" Death: YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES. Susan: "So we can believe the big ones?" Death: YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING. Susan: "They're not the same at all!" Death: YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET — Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED. Susan: "Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point—" Death: MY POINT EXACTLY.


yea.. evolution is the only thing that really makes sense in this context.. that times the utterly ridiculous numbers that are associated with just how large the universe really is... i mean if there was even the slightest chance of a self-replicating process actualizing.. it seems just as likely as not that we would be here.. the one that gets me is the fermi paradox.. i mean us being here makes enough sense.. my question is why isn't there anybody else? how rare is this "technology" that we have developed? perhaps life is common we just can't see it or interpret it because its like the rings of planets and they perceive time differently or something.. no idea.. there are definitely questions that do not have answers.. but for me... evolution and primordial ooze getting struck by lightning and generating random bits of rna until one day.. boom.. one of those strands got lucky and arranged itself to be self-replicating.. and thats all it took. makes perfect sense. self-replicating, adaptive, and selecting for the survivors.. imho life is equivalent to a beautiful math problem.. one that i have no doubt one day we will have the equation for... so long as our civilization can endure long enough for such things to occur... but hey perhaps i'm wrong.. maybe i'll burn in the 7th circle of hell for all eternity.. lol.. probably not.. but actually did watch dantes inferno recently 2x.. super cool art. edit: seriously you guys gotta watch dante's inferno. super legit.


Classic human pitfall, assuming there’s a reason we’re all here.


>am open to the idea that if there is some kind of creator Wait, doesn't this automatically make it very different from Santa Claus? If even you concede that there could possibly be a creator then that is miles apart from a purely fictional character. Unless you are also open to the idea that Santa Claus is real.


Good call out. But when I say creator, I mean on the level of I have no f'ing clue what that could be. It could be a sneeze from a lizard alien that looks like Steven Tyler. When I say god/religion I am talking about the ones that humans created/believe in. The religions that are currently recognized as "legitimate" in western culture. Again I do not have enough knowledge on a lot of the Eastern religions to speak about them.


You may want to look into some eastern "religions". İ put it in quotes because generally they are very different things, they are more of philosophies on how to live, not stories that you have to convince yourself are true or else some supreme being is going to torture you all of eternity.


https://youtu.be/xuzZ7HU0Y-M Made a video awhile back talking about the nature of consciousness to an atheist that completely ignored my point. Long story short, the anger I have is not directed to all atheists just the 1 I was talking about it the video but the content is still legitimate. Also agnostic atheism is a made up term. Thomas Huxley gives the reasoning and need for agnosticism in a lot of his writings. Ps: He is the person who created the word agnostic. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnosticism


Thank you sir. I never put a particular definition to what I believe but that really does seem to hit on how I feel.


Assumption-rivers ARE fiction, but What Tests To Be True(tm) is the 1 "religion" that cuts through *everything*: Scientific Method, *inclusive of awareness*, which the materialist-religion prohibits, of course... The real truth is simply *so* vast that no #AnimalsAndTribesTime humans could possibly have understood how spectacularly-complex Reality is... Imagine a field, like the mass/higgs-field, or the electromagnetic-field, but made of original-fundamental-AWARENESS, and instead of "particles" of mass, or "particles" of electromagnetic-charge, you have "particles" of Awareness, aka atmans/rigpas/souls... aka ChildrenOfFundamentalAwarenessField, aka CellsOfAllgod. Now imagine those "particles" keep catching in matter-phenomena, aka "lives", and they experience a little tiny amount of their meaning-substance in each one... Now imagine that at some point, each "particle" of fundamental-awareness crosses a Tipping Point, where it becomes Self-Aware, & therefore Self-Determining... Now imagine that there is a Universal Law, that each of these "atoms" of fundamental-awareness can commit/emit any meaning-photon it wants into Universe, but it CANNOT be released from Universe-containment until it has reabsorbed EVERY emitted-meaning ( Yehoshua ben Joseph's "what a soul sows, that soul cannot help but reap", aka India's "Karma", aka Cause-Effect Law & Action Reaction Law, but in the substance of *meaning*, see? ). Now symbolically-show the #AnimalsAndTribesTime humans that souls/atmans climb down, into unconsciousness/matter-embedded-ignorance, and then after climb up, eventually evolving/awakening until they dissolve *from* containment, earning union-with Allgod/Brahman-Field. It is this climbing-down into matter-immersion, then climbing-up from matter-immersion that is a soul's "baptism", its earning its own meaning-realizing! ( "baptism" is just a symbolic representation of it, so that unconscious AnimalsAndTribesTime minds could work with the meaning, in the unconscious way. Our time needs different methods for working with meanings ) ( this is what "Jacob's Ladder" symbolically-showed, it also, taking the perspective of an individual-atman, is the root of the "prodigal son", who had to experience the falsity of material-"answer" before turning inward, to earn the "kingdom of Allgod/UltimateAwareness, within" ) This gives you a skeleton-view of what actually-is: Please read the Hindu & Buddhist sections of the *brilliant* Huston Smith book "World Religions", the revised/later edition, he gives a much less cold/zen version of it than I do. Awareness *isn't* "outside" physics, as the materialist-religion dogmatically insists, it is simply tiny "particles" of the original-AWARENESS, each allowed to create their own realizing-path, while competing with all other awareness-particles for dominion in the "canvas" of matter. It's quite simple, in its fundamental-meaning, but *unlimitedly lacking in self-centeredness*, ie it is infinitely impersonal, and *that* the assumption-rivers cannot allow. The perennial "God isn't infinite enough to be known outside Our Religious Regime!" whining of narcissism... And that item by u/explain_that_shit about the Hogfather stuff, that is *brilliant*! Salut, Namaste, & Kaizen! ( :


> saying you’re agnostic is just being an atheist with extra steps. I think you’re misunderstanding what it means to be agnostic. Agnostic just means you acknowledge that you can’t be sure. A gnostic atheist is sure there is no god. An agnostic atheist believes there is no god but is aware he could be wrong. An agnostic theist believes there is a god but is aware he could be wrong. A gnostic theist is sure there is a god. Being agnostic or gnostic is about your surety in your belief, regardless of what that belief is. There are also “true agnostics” who don’t believe either way because they’re unsure.


Dude was claiming not to be an atheist whilst also not believing in any god. My point was to say, he is an atheist, just an agnostic one.


Just because I don't believe in human created idea's of god doesn't mean I don't believe that something could be out there. Maybe a god maybe not. I'm open to that idea and will continue to be.


Honestly man, don’t feel a need to label yourself like people in the comments are trying to do. If people ask it’s probably fine to just tell them you’re agnostic as that’s the most vague, but beliefs like this are nuanced and you’ll most likely find that you can see truths in all the categories. Ultimately in my opinion it doesn’t really matter at all, just live life according to what your morals tell you is right and don’t feel the need to belittle yourselves or others and you’re a good man.


Living up to your username I see!


Sounds like agnostic atheism to me. It's also where I stand.


The similarities become apparent when you paint religion the way you did in your post. I'm not religious, but I grew up in a religious family. I've seen the good and bad of religion. I don't have a great relationship with my mom because of it, but I have great respect and admiration for my pastor grandfather. He's an incredible man full of wisdom who has improved the lives of thousands of people through his ministry. I may not agree with him ideologically, but his contributions to his community make up for that. If more Christians were like my granddad, then I think people would have a different view of religion instead of looking at it through a cynical lens.


100%! I've always said that I don't care you believe in what you believe in as long as you aren't harming someone else either physically or mentally. There are some amazing leaders in religious communities that can support and help guide people to better lives for all. Just like Santa Claus can make children behave better because "he's always watching".


So what do you need your mind changed on then? That god and Santa aren't similar? I'm very confused by this post. I can't tell if you're just drawing a correlation or shitting on religion.


I think almost all atheists would be fine with it IF they didn’t try to vote their god-requiring beliefs into laws that affect everyone.


>Most religions have the core idea of being good to each other, People say this all the time, but I have no clue how people come to that conclusion. If you mean the "core" to be the main message in a religions doctrine. Then very few, perhaps none, have the core meaning as "be good".


You kinda flopped over on this fast. Being good to each other is not a core idea of any religion. It's an occasional side effect of other teachings, but it's conveniently forgotten as needed.


the vast majority of american evagelicals are some of the shittiest people on the planet....religion is santa claus so that adults can pretend to feel good




Exactly, religion is just the more evolved version of Santa Claus. You don't need to provide a community and purpose to a child, just the idea of being a good person gets you rewards. Once your brain matures and understands the concept of a society Santa is replaced by a more elaborate belief system of religion.


A lie is a lie. If you can't face reality on your own, you deserve to be called a child because that's literally what they are. I make an exception for people who have had a tragic event in their lives.


"With or without religion you will have good people doing good things and bad people doing bad things. But for good people to do bad things, it takes religion." - Steven Weinberg


People tend to boil it down to “be good to those like you” and we keep finding dissimilarities to be angry at


As a pretty religious person who knows my fair share of religious law, people who pull that shit are jackasses and not exactly following their religion


Religion has done more to harm the human race than any other factor in history, and that is how it is intended. It demonizes any who do not agree, holds back science and medicine because, "How dare you question Gawd?", and gives their followers people to hate and control because, "They're evil if they're not like us." while telling people not to seek earthly comfort - leave that to the princes and potentates while you store up your "treasures in heaven." A miserable existence serving the wealthy is desired! Religious leaders like their followers to be ignorant. It preserves their bread-and-butter. They say "God has a plan," but why do people assume it's a good one? Religion is for slaves. The Christian religion exists because Constantine needed a state religion to keep his people under control. All priests, pastors, and others who spread lies to enslave others should be thrown in the deepest dungeons on Earth. Their gods can comfort them.


This is a false comparison. Santa is supposed to be a real man that provides real services. You can find out if Santa is real by going to the North Pole and locating his toy factory. You can find out if he is real by setting up a surveillance camera by your chimney and Christmas tree. You can determine that there is no Santa because there is nothing buy ice and snow at the North Pole, nor is there anyone that climbs down the chimney on Christmas Eve. You can prove that Santa did not give you presents because come Christmas, no presents are ever left behind. Santa is falsifiable, meaning that according to the Santa myth, there should be a way to find out if he is real or not. The existence of a god does not work the same way. Although the gods may appear to be illogical, at least they are internally consistent with what they are supposed to be. For example, where is god—where is heaven? Santa's outpost is supposed to be in a specific real world location, but where is heaven supposed to be? It is a real world location, or a location outside of human senses? We can't prove that heaven is real or unreal because we don't know where to look, and we may not be able to see it if staring at it. You also you can't see god. However, god is not supposed to be seen. You can't visually prove god, but according to the definition of god, you wouldn't be able to see them even if they were true. You could argue that god does not answer prayers, thus is not true—similar to how no presents ever truly appear under the tree. However, what says that god must answer prayers? If you follow Augustine's objection the principle of *do ut des,* then god does not need to answer prayers. God does not contradict the description of god and is non-falsifiable. You can't prove that god is not real or unreal. Those who are religious accept this, and believe with faith. So, god may or may not be real, I'm not trying to arguing one way or the other. However, God is real or unreal in a way that is different than Santa. Santa is not real because that is plain to see. The real or un-realness of God is not plain to see. Santa is falsifiable, god is not. Since they are not unreal in similar ways, it would be incorrect to say that one is like the other.


>God is the same way for all religions created by humans. You ignore all the illogical "magic" and continue to believe because "faith" will get you presents (heaven) when you die This isn't even how all *Abrahamic* religions work, never mind all religions that have ever developed. Judaism doesn't focus on an afterlife at all, to the point where some schools of thought simply reject there being one at all. Beyond that, Buddhism's ultimate goal (even in the schools that teach the existence of gods) is to become pure consciousness, stripped of desires, pain, and pleasures. (This may or may not apply to Hinduism, but I do not feel qualified to speak on this at all.) Hellenistic worship, for the majority of its history, posited that everyone went to the Underworld to live as a near-mindless shade. Only later in that religion's development do we see an analogue to Heaven and Hell; for most of Greece's history healers and murderers ended up in the same place. This idea that religion is just a magical fat man giving you your present when you die only makes sense if you only look at Christianity... and for that matter, only if you're looking at Christianity of the last couple of centuries, through a fogged lens.


I am having a hard time understanding what this CMV is about. Your view is that god is a made up thing for one reason or another, and santa claus is just a crude allegory for it. So the only thing that would really change your view is that someone proves god exist because that is the only way it wouldn't be a "belief/faith" thing. Which is a pretty tall order for an internet message board. What views do you think would be likely to change you view on something a "belief only" system?


Do you believe that a gods function in a religion is purely to provide gifts to its worshippers?


I think the creation of god was to keep people in line to prevent chaos, to maintain power, and to give them a goal of heaven, nirvana, or whatever to reach after death.


You don’t think that they also exist to answer questions about the nature of existence?


Sure some minor details were added in here and there over many religions to explain things that they couldn't comprehend at times. But religions were also the cause of limiting knowledge AFTER it could be proven incorrect. To the extent of chopping your head off if you said the Earth revolved around the Sun.


I’m referring more to the philosophical aspects of religion. People like Saint Thomas Aquinas grappled with the concepts of spiritual and scientific truths and their value. Religion can be restrictive in expiring new concepts, but I don’t see why that’s relevant. Orthodox thinking can be just as pervasive in secular groups.


I agree totally. Everyone see's religion differently. My point was that religion is just the evolved version of Santa for adults at it's core.


And my point is that is kind of a shallow viewpoint. It ignores the deeper aspects of what a religion is and what it ultimately seeks to accomplish. What would you need to see to change your view? It doesn’t seem like anything that shows the broader role of a god over Santa will satisfy you.


I think you're onto something. Concept of religion does more than just "gift or coal" that Santa does for children. That's how they're different. u/TonySmithJr needs to take a step back and realize that religion does more than just provide a concept of heaven and hell to provide a moral compass for the masses. It also provides the meaning of life for those who believe it. Why are we here? What is my purpose? I don't see a parallel to these sorts of questions in the Santa analogy.


"That's how they're different. u/TonySmithJr needs to take a step back and realize that religion does more than just provide a concept of heaven and hell to provide a moral compass for the masses." Santa Claus doesn't provide a moral compass for the masses of children that believe in him? Again, god is just the evolved form of the same reward/punishment system that Santa is, just on a more complex level for the matured brain of an adult.


They said religion does *more* than provide a moral compass. Santa Claus does not. Santa Claus doesn’t answer or come from a place of searching for an answer to questions like “why am I here? What is the purpose of life?”. Since you misread this comment, or if you didn’t misread you completely misunderstood it, I think they’re probably right you need to take a step back and think about what’s actually being written. How does Santa (the actual Santa that is socially recognized, not any Santa that could be created) address questions of “what is the meaning of life? Why am I here?”, or why are you convinced religion doesn’t do these things?


> But religions were also the cause of limiting knowledge AFTER it could be proven incorrect. But they've also advanced human knowledge significantly. Classical Islam contributed a lot to mathematics and science while theory of genetics and the Big Bang were both discovered by Catholics priests. The Catholic church invented the university system we use today.


That's more about hiveminds than it is about religion. Even on Reddit, you'll get mass downvoted for the truth if it goes against the flavor of the month. People don't like it when you question their beliefs, whether that be religion, politics, or whatever else. There are of course exceptions, but as a rule, people tend to shut down opposing viewpoints.


When did this happen?


Do you think religion was consciously created as an artificial means to control people?


Eh.. possibly. I think all of them were created out of necessity but no way to ever determine how each one was invented. I think religion was 100% a necessity to get us to where we are now. The idea of obeying laws wasn't probably as effective two thousand years ago as you could get away with crime significantly easier. So I think the idea of eternal damnation was a much more convincing punishment.


Words like “create” tend to imply a conscious designer (especially in a religious context), and that’s where I’m taking issue here. I have severe doubts that religion was deliberately made. Specific religious institutions and rituals and landmarks can be deliberately made, of course, but belief systems (especially very old ones) are better explained as emergent phenomenon shaped by social forces and pressures.


I think your conflating people who misuse religion (to keep people in line/control, etc) with the religion itself. All religions have been misused by people in power. That doesn't mean that the religion itself was created that way. Most religions start very grass roots. Then they grow and the people in power take notice, and leaders figure out how to keep control while "respecting" this new religion. Over time they adopt some principles, while altering it enough to remain in power, but not so much that it will cause revolt.


At least, in Christianity, the main point is to get to know and love God the way He loved us. A lot of people treat God like some sort of genie or a military surveillance officer in the sky who either gives them whatever they want or is constantly waiting for someone to sin so he can strike them down. So technically the goal isn't, or is not supposed to be, Heaven. It is getting to know and love God.


>For most people, until aliens show up and say "hi", you'll just continue to believe because people tell you to. The pope himself has said that god's creation is not (necessarily) limited to human / terrestrial life. For modern, mainstream religious folks, god is *always* beyond the material because as much as we learn about the history of the universe and our origins, there is always a question of "where" and "how?" Origin isn't all that important in the grand scheme of religion though.






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>You believe in Santa Claus and all the "magic" and ignore the obvious illogical issues with it because you get presents. Then when you finally understand the world a little more, you question it and figure out Santa isn't real. This logic suggests that believers don’t question their faith, because if they did then they would conclude that their faith is misplaced. But many believers question their faith yet don’t conclude that it is misplaced. >God is the same way for all religions created by humans. You ignore all the illogical "magic" and continue to believe because "faith" will get you presents (heaven) when you die. There are plenty of logical basis for some religions. You may not **agree** with the logic, but it is there. Logic is not the same as irrefutable proof- if there was irrefutable proof, faith is no longer possible. But while faith and *proof* must be opposed, faith and *reason* need not be opposed. For example, the historicity of Jesus is sufficient evidence for me to have faith as a Christian. It may not be for you. Yet you cannot say I believe what I believe without any evidence at all. What would it take, besides personal testimony from someone who has a reason for belief besides “presents”, to change your view?


As an atheist myself, I’ve had many different thoughts/phases about just what a belief in god *is,* and what it *means.* I used to think more or less than same thing you do. My views have changed. So here’s what I believe now, and why I believe what I do, rather than what you do. People’s beliefs in God are extraordinary variable. When someone says they believe in god, there are an infinite number of things they could mean by that. Some people may believe Jesus himself is literally listening to their prayers, observing every moment of their life, judging each action, etc. In my experience, however, more people, when pushed, believe in God the way they believe in Goodness or Purpose. They believe there is an order to the universe, or that there is a fundamental moral truth that undergirds existence. They believe that there is a “higher power.” There is a spectrum of what belief in God can mean, in other words. Now are there some places on this spectrum that I would tentatively agree, sound like they share some similarities with a childhood belief in Santa. People who conceive of heaven in very terrestrial terms like they’ll enter a white picket fence house with all their dead relatives and they’ll all have bodies and faces that never age or hurt, etc., may be engaging in a similar belief pattern to children believing in Santa. In my experience, however, the number of religious people who believe exactly this is very, very small. Many peoples conceptions of heaven and god are much more nebulous. They believe heaven is a state of ephemeral being where you are in constant contact with God. They believe that heaven is simply a sense of peace and contentment. They’re belief is far less physically specific than it can sometimes seem. In this sense it can be very different from belief in Santa. My point, ultimately, is that when a child believes in Santa they believe in a physical man who makes physical toys in the actual North Pole. When a person believes in God, a lot of times what they are actually believing in is a nexus of axiomatic beliefs about the universe: that there is a purpose to life, that there are good and evils that we can and must know, that humans have been given freedom, that there is a justice woven into the bones of the universe, that the complex, mostly indiscernible universe has an architect of some kind. We all have unfalsifiable axioms that we “believe” in order to exist in the universe, and many of the beliefs I just listed do have philosophical traditions that argue for these positions without god. My point is simply that God as an object of belief is a much more nuanced and complex object than Santa. Religion often functions in peoples lives as a kind of packaged set of axioms that help them lead their life. There a a bit difference in my opinion between that and Santa. As an atheist, I want my critiques of God and belief in God to come from a place of understanding the complexity and nuances of religious belief, and an understanding that there IS more going on than a willful child-like fantasy akin to Santa.






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I'm not a big fan of organized religion, and I think that most of your qualms are coming from your observations of traditional organized religions. I don't see anything wrong with believing in a god. Especially if it motivates someone to be better person. I know a lot of people who believe in god, but aren't Christians. It just makes them comfortable. Who cares if God isn't real? If the idea of heaven makes you comfortable and drives you to the best you can be, then what's the harm? We'll all find out who's right when we die. If god doesn't exist, then there's no harm in having believed in one anyway. At least that person tried to be a good person for a greater purpose. You sound awfully cynical.


I think you're missing the point. I don't care if a child believes in Santa Claus as much as I don't care that adults believe in a god or gods. Just correlating them to the same thing.


Who cares if god isn't real? I personally don't believe there's a whole lot of evidence to support in the existence of god, but that's not going to stop me from letting someone believe in him/her/them. The same logic can be applied to Santa. The lore with Santa is that if a kid is good, then they get presents. If that makes a child behave well, then what's the harm? Again, you sound pretty cynical. And no, I don't think I missed the point. Edit. Holt shit. It's clear from how many have responded to me that a lot of you know how to overgeneralize.


I literally just said I don't care if someone believes in god or gods. And yes, I am cynical on certain things, so? And you just admitted to my correlation between santa and "god". If you're good you get presents, for adults that's heaven.


I'm not disagreeing with how you're presenting your correlation. I'm just wondering why you're making it in the first place.


So we should teach children made up fairy tales about the origins of the universe and humanity, because somehow this is the only way we can get them to be good people? Where is any sense of logic in any of what you said? What you said could be said for anything, for example I could say a magical teapot in orbit around Saturn is the reason for humans existing. If you argue, I could then say "Well it helps me be a good person who cares if it's true?" Fine, but then don't try teach children and other people your made up fantasies because the thought of being a good human all on your own is foreign.


huh? My fault for not being clear on the fact I don't care what you believe in. But I can't follow what you're saying here


\> God is the same way for all religions created by humans. This is, I believe, the central and flawed statement of your thesis. It is factually wrong, and therefore, I assert, why your view should change. There are over [4 thousand](https://www.theregister.com/2006/10/06/the_odd_body_religion) religions in the world, some say as many as 6,000 or more depending on how you count them. Quite a few of them do not have a concept of "God" that is in anyway comparable to the Christian notion. Many ethno-religions have liturgical social or family praxis that form the basis of worship, but which do not have a "God" that is worshipped -- certainly not one that meets the criteria that you set forth. Alternatively, there are also many religions which have numerous Gods to the point where a deity is more or less a stand in concept for a an ideal. And it is really rather difficult to determine if the practitioners actually think of deities in many of these religions as actual beings or as merely as something akin to platonic ideals. But aside from the literally thousands of tribal and ethno-religions where your statement above is non-sensical, there are also some fairly large religions, including Shinto, Confucianism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, and most of the large African traditional religions such as Bushongo, Lugbara and others just don't align to anything akin to Western notions of an all-powerful God that grants wishes. Then we come to the many Native American religions that focus on spiritual awakening and personal journeys of discovery and one-ness with nature, and again, your statements are just non-sensible in such a context. Honestly, your statement shows such as western-centric, and even Christian-centric view of religion that it's hard to understand how to respond other than to wonder if you've ever explored religion as a topic at all?! But in any case, this statement by itself is so factually wrong. So utterly, empirically false, that I believe that alone should mandate you need to change your view.


Can you advise why you want to have your view changed?


this is a cartoonish understanding of God or “religion”. First placing it under a real doctrine like Catholicism. What you are describing is pure heresy. “Salvation through works”. The idea that God works transactionally and even worse that you can convince God to give you stuff is already a corrupted version of religion, and thats your premise. Second is the nature of God itself. Again placing this inside of catholicism. When God reveals himself to Moses he tells him: “‘I am’ is who i am” and when asked who he should tell sent him (Moses), God tells him: “Tell them, ‘he who is sent me’” In the cartoon version of religion where god is anthropomorphic to a father figure judging from the clouds, yes its easy to say “oh thats just a fantasy”. When you take into account these words, how what we are talking about is the universe, the laws behind, and divine logic, i then you can understand statements like “God is everywhere”, or “God can see all”. And if you think about how life in general treats you; a judgemental father figure that sees everything through the sky is actually a pretty sophisticated metaphor I think its silly for people to act all smug because they figured it out and the rest of us are all sheeple. When in actuality they havent given this a serious thought for 2 seconds


You believe you've figured out the entire world and every religious person in it because you're an atheist but your parents aren't, and you think they're dumb. Maybe when you finally understand the world a little more, you'll realize that you're not as intelligent as Spinoza, and that not every person who believes in "god" does so in a manner that actually contains *any* illogical arguments. As soon as you can explain why the fundamental laws of physics are what they are, and aren't slightly different, congratulations, you can actually prove what god is or isn't. Until then, you're just making assertions based on how you *feel* about religion as you've personally experienced it, which isn't any more advanced than feeling betrayed when you find out Santa doesn't actually slide in through your cablebox, or whatever.




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>You believe in Santa Claus and all the "magic" and ignore the obvious illogical issues with it because you get presents. Then when you finally understand the world a little more, you question it and figure out Santa isn't real. God is the same way for all religions created by humans. You ignore all the illogical "magic" and continue to believe because "faith" will get you presents (heaven) when you die. For most people, until aliens show up and say "hi", you'll just continue to believe because people tell you to. Ludwig Feurbach beat you to the punch on the “religion as gratification or wish fulfillment” thesis by oh, about 200 years or so. The answer to his analysis (such as it was) and yours of course, is that the promptings of faith are actually not quite so simple. Religion often compels adherents to act against their self-interest and their personal inclinations. People don’t always follow the strictures of their religion, but you can’t conflate teaching with weakness and frailty. One does not equal the other. As Scott Hahn has put it, if you were going to invent a belief system which was solely intended to assuage the burdens of the human condition you’d make it “more congenial to [your] whims” than most complex religions are. Instead, religion often challenges our whims and our desires and often speaks truth to power, as in the case of Judaism or Christianity. What could possibly make you pigeonhole all believers with this point of view? If you altered this construction to substitute the word you for “Jew” or “Muslim” it would be an obviously bigoted libel, and moreover, a calumny. I’m just spitballing here, but you display the signs of someone who had a personal trauma connected with religion and/or religious believers, for thou doth protest much. You make some token gestures of impartiality but the invective suffuses the way you infantilize religious believers and dismiss the entire pantheon of human religion as little more than a devotion to Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. >My fault for not explaining this originally. I have zero issues with people believing in a religion, just the same as I don't care if children believe in Santa Claus. Could’ve fooled me.


wow. First let me clear the air here, in no way have I ever been harmed by anyone's religious beliefs or some kind of personal trauma. I'm sorry your upset by me saying that religion is based on a reward and punishment system designed by humans just like Santa Claus was. You still didn't bring any valid points, you're just saying I make you upset because you think I'm disrespecting your view as a religious person.


Oh right because Buddhism is all reducible to Santa Claus. That’s it, in a nutshell. You’re dismissing all religion as an allegory for Santa Claus. You’re totally compartmentalizing this complex phenomenon which gave the world Bach’s compositions and Michelangelo’s paintings, or the Lotus Sutras, the Hebraic Bible code, and I could go on and on. And you’re not actually offering anything resembling a cogent argument for your position. You’re just arguing from your own subjective viewpoint without referring to sources, or proofs and refutations. In my opinion this is a pretty obvious case of soapboxing. You’d like to give vent to your anti-religious views and you’re not actually interested in being persuaded that they’re wrong.


I should have edited the post as I made a mistake not stating western religions. I apologize for that as have had to correct that on a few comments. I do not know enough of a majority of "eastern" religions and cannot speak to them.


If I took just 2 minutes I could probably write a post taking the opposite tack—that non-religious people are selfish and fearful of what follows after death (hell, perhaps?) and that’s why they’re not religious—and that would probably match the seriousness and the level of effort you’ve put into this post. It’s kind of stupid—not to mention dismissive and insulting—when people reduce your motives to something rather childish, isn’t it? The problem with your view is really the unspoken subtext: that only stupid or gullible (or crazy?) people could believe in or practice a “Western” (I think you’re actually referring to the “near eastern” Abrahamic family) religion. You run up, of course, against a rather obvious objection: religious people run the intellectual gamut. They’re smart (genius, on occasion) and stupid (probably at a rate which matches the general population), prodigious scientists, superstitious laborers/tradespeople, and vice versa.


I don't know a single Christian that seeks a relationship with God to gain access to heaven. From a Methodist view, you don't even gain access unless you accept Jesus as your lord and savior. And you can't do that if you are simply seeking "presents". It's a continuous relationship and an internal acceptance of being. I mean, you're basically arguing about crafted areas where an authority is created as to dictate how people are to behave through incentive. That's society for you. That's parental rights. It's government as a whole. It's an specific individuals we "idolize" and/or allow influence upon us. None of these are truly "real" either, unless we give them power.


"I mean, you're basically arguing about crafted areas where an authority is created as to dictate how people are to behave through incentive." Yes, positive reinforcement has been an effective way to motivate humans for thousands of years. Just like Santa Claus and god


Yes. And just like your parents, your social groups, and society as a whole. My point being, you're expressing a similarity that exists all around us, not unique between God and Santa. So to use it as a means to connect God and Santa together doesn't hold much value.


It’s easier to disprove Santa than it is to disprove an intelligent omnipresence. I don’t think god should or would be considered a person.


It’s not really clear what kinds of arguments might make you CYV, and it always worries me that I’ll reply in good faith and find out this is a thread destined for deletion. But based on your comments here would be my thoughts: Your argument seems to be founded in parallels between Santa and God in that they play a role in incentivizing approved behavior for groups (children and adults, respectively). However, children in religious households are not oblivious to the role of God in their family’s faith and the incentives derived from his presence/judgement. God is God for kids too. Santa is a folklore tail that has achieved a very high level of popularity but he is not a foundational deity; he has no relationship to the origin of the universe and he promises no answers to an existence filled with mystery. Religion plays a far more complex role in the lives of faithful people than Santa does for children. Lots of cultures have folklore tails that are intended to help incentivize childhood behavior and many are not religious in nature and not mutually inclusive to the local religions they are popular in. Most of that reads more like a case against Santa Clause being god for kids which isn’t the argument you made, just wanted it out of the way. Santa is a proxy for your parent’s subjective appraisal of your behavior. God isn’t Santa for grown ups because God and the teachings derived from his words are not arbitrarily appraised by a person upon your death. We are all expected to make our own internal judgments throughout life. Many fundamental religious teachings in the western world are pretty well agreeable in terms of objective moral fact. The rewards promised are not material toys - they are an eternity of peace and an end to the misery of the mortal toil. To some degree this is delivered upon even if you don’t believe in an afterlife. In truth, the process *is the reward* and most faithful people understand that.


Not really the same. For one, parents know that they are giving a false story to their children. With some exceptions, you don't really see this in religious communities. Most of the high ranking religious officials genuinely believe in what they preach. So unless you can show that the Pope secretly doesn't believe in God, I don't think it stands up. Secondly, there is a logical explanation for Santa. Who put the presents under the tree? The parents. Who ate the cookies and drank the milk? The parents. There's literally no reason to believe Santa exists when he doesn't fulfil any need. God on the other hand, does provide an answer to certain questions that we don't know for certain. Questions relating to who or what caused the universe to exist, or what we base objective morality in isn't answered as simply are just two examples. So suppose a different scenario. Suppose that presents really did appear under the tree, and the parents weren't doing it. Would that be direct evidence that Santa exists? No, but you wouldn't be crazy for believing someone was doing it as opposed to them appearing out of thin air.


> Then when you finally understand the world a little more, you question it and figure out Santa isn't real. Isn't this the biggest and most relevant difference? Unlike Santa-believing children, a huge proportion of believers will never figure out that their God's stories aren't real. Also, Santa requires a group of people who all know that the story is made up - to intentionally lie to those who don't know that it's made up in order to control them. I'd argue that while certainly not all, many religious leaders actually do believe what they preach, which is another big difference.


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People who have grown up in an area where their religion is the only one that people they interact with believe in and accept as truth, ingrain that religion into their identity. Psychologically, when an adult’s identity is shaped with something at its core, like a religion, or a political party perhaps, it is often extremely difficult for them to release that. It’s also less likely for them to listen to reasoning that would refute such a belief. It might look like a person believes in their religion because of the rewards it offers, like a place in the afterlife. I think that the psychological need to remain true to one’s identity as a Christian (or muslim, democrat, etc) as well as the likely attachment to a community of people they are close to that they belong to is a much more important reason that they stick with a religion than the promise of an afterlife. Kids believing in Santa don’t really have it ingrained into their identity at the developmental stage when they typically learn he’s not real. Edit: added paragraphs


I agree and that is why Santa is a very basic form of the concepts of god/religion. I'm not arguing that some people believe in religion for the promise of heaven or that some do because they want to truly be a good person. Just that religion/god is the evolved more complex version of Santa


For sure it is more complex because there are different reasons that adults believe in religions vs. kids believing in Santa. Per your quote: You ignore all the illogical "magic" and continue to believe because "faith" will get you presents (heaven) when you die. But the reasons I described that adults remain faithful to their religions are much different than children's. That difference/complexity/evolution is what makes God not "just Santa Claus for adults".




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I declare this to be a shitpost. That is all.


What is this core structure you are talking abou? I will assume that your first paragraph was explaining that core structure. If so then i disagree: ​ >You believe in Santa Claus and all the "magic" and ignore the obvious illogical issues with it because you get presents. This would translate to "believing in god because it gives you good feelings, while ignoring illogical issues". I don't think that this statement represents the core of believing in god. You don't do it because of a reward you get. You do it because you believe it. That is the core: A human experiences that is so profound that you are willing to believe in the existence of god despite all the illogical issues that (superficially or not superficially) arise. It isperfectly possible to be aware of those issues, but choosing to not believe in god would ignore or confront you with the experience that led you to believe. ​ >Then when you finally understand the world a little more, you question it and figure out Santa isn't real. We are not able to confirm if god is real or not. ​ >God is the same way for all religions created by humans. NO ​ >You ignore all the illogical "magic" and continue to believe because "faith" will get you presents (heaven) when you die. Again there don't have to be ignorance. I can believe and still be aware and confront myself with the issues that arise with it. Not every Religion has a heaven. ​ >For most people, until aliens show up and say "hi", you'll just continue to believe because people tell you to. Others already refuted this one.


> You ignore all the illogical "magic" and continue to believe because "faith" will get you presents (heaven) when you die. Do you think this is the primary motivator for people in their faith? Or is it possible some people believe in religion for other reasons: * Quelling existential dread * Facilitating a sense of community * Facilitating a sense of purpose * Providing structure/ritual * Providing moral frameworks


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They aren't truly analogous. God is humanity's desperate explanation for real world events when we didn't truly understand them. Santa is a character whose existence only bolsters an already manmade festivity. One was created from the bottom up, the other from the top down. Jack Frost is far more analogous to god as he is a personification of a naturally occurring phenomenon, specifically winter. See also, the Grim Reaper, Mother Nature and Lady Luck.


Santa clause doesn’t tackle the most important questions of human existence. Was the universe designed? Why do we exist? Is there such thing as objective morality?


You could also say Santa Claus is god for kids, until they learn to understand the real one.




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God isn't Santa Claus for adults because unlike Santa, God is an early attempt by humans at explaining the world around them and why it is the way it is, an attempt at forming some sort of (primitive, pseudo) scientific explanation for why we even exist or why there's a universe at all. There are swathes of scientists and philosophers who were Christians that used God's existence as a key point in their formulation of ideas that, while not perfectly logical and reasonable by today's standards, gave us a lot of the foundational science and philosophy that many people genuinely learned from, built upon, and used to advance science until we had people like Feuerbach giving principled materialist critiques of religio-scientific arguments that enjoyed major mainstream success. Some people are still swayed by passionate philosophical arguments made for the existence of God by some of the most influential thinkers of our time in many categories beyond religion, such as Descartes. "I think, therefore, I am," was originally a religious argument made by Descartes the Christian, but it was incredibly influential on modern existential thought, science of the mind, and general philosophy that continues to gain value and relevance even when divorced from God. Believing in God because you are swayed by arguments like this is probably not correct (I don't believe in God either), but not every religious person justifies their beliefs with "Well my mommy and daddy told me so!" as kids do with the modern Santa Claus, a figure who was never believed in by anyone in a serious capacity and who exists in the modern era solely as a "fun game" for children, essentially. Even if both a religious Descartesist and a 9 year old who believe in Santa can both be wrong, that doesn't mean they are doing the same thing and that "God = Santa".


OP, it is highly ironic you call belief in God "illogical" when this premise is itself a false equivalence (logical fallacy). *Belief in God is not* ***illogical****.* There are many well argued, logically structured reasons for the belief in the existence of God. This prompt doesn't even rise to the standard of a basic 5 minute google search. For only two examples, you can start with the cosmological argument and the teleological argument. Rigorous logical arguments for Santa do not exist in the same way. Now ... Can every Christian argue them successfully? (No) Does everyone who claims to be Christian base their faith solely on those logical arguments? (No) Do all Christians even know these logical arguments exist? (probably not) Does this then necessitate that solid, logically sound arguments don't exist? (No) *p.s. I'm assuming you're referencing Christion beliefs here, so please correct me if I'm wrong.*


People don't like living in a world where bad things happen at random. They want mass destruction to have some meaning. They need to blame some or something - the volcano god, the wind god or whoever. The idea that their family died because, well, because nothing is not tolerable so they make up a villian. In the pandemic, without god to blame, China was blamed, Trump was blamed, Cuomo was blamed when the reality was mother nature's randomness was mostly at fault. People need an explanation for evil whether its the Jews, the Muslims, the Catholics or the gods.


Ironically my country (Czech Republic) doesn't have a Santa Claus. The gifts are carried to us by baby Jesus Christ. So here God is in a sense a Santa Claus for children too.


Large oversimplifications here. People dont believe in Santa because they get presents; they get presents whether they believe or not. Most believe because people tell them Santa put them there. Those are two distinctly different reasons. Many people believe in heaven, not God, because they want or want others to go there. Belief in God can either support a belief in heaven, or belief in heaven support a belief in God (as you said.) like Santa, many people believe in God because people tell them that God created put the universe here and put us on it. By saying people believe in God because they want to get to heaven, you’ve left out major other reasons that people believe in God. The second issue is you supposing that belief in God is as illogical as believing in Santa Claus. Because of this forum I cant ask you, but normally when you make a claim you are expected to provide evidence for it. (I would ask you: why do you think that belief in God is as baseless as belief in Santa?) Offhand, that seems unlikely, because many many adults across the world believe in God and very few believe in Santa Claus.


I actually find this take to be kind of hilarious as a comparison lol. I totally see why you’re saying that, but if you actually want to change your view, then you would have to be open to changing your idea of God and what it actually is. I tend to follow a more spiritualistic philosophy of God, one that is not necessarily a separate entity that even has the capability of judging us or having its own thoughts and rewards/punishments (physical heaven and hell) but more so a life energy force that isn’t separate from any other living thing. If you’re interested Id definitely do more research on that because it makes the materialistic idea of God make a lot more sense. I could never understand the Bible or how one man was able to see everybody at all times but when you’re looking at stuff from a metaphorical sense it really does kind of come together. In a way that’s a lot easier to understand than a man living at the north pole that visits every kids house in one night once a year. Buddhism is a good place to start or just looking up “spiritual idea of god”


To many people, God exists to give a meaning to life, to have a goal beyond death, that we're not just animals on some planet who only exist purely by coincidence. Santa fulfills none of these purposes for kids.


But has the same core belief of if you're a good person you get rewarded, and if you're a bad person you get punished. Just on a level that a child can understand. Religion attempts to explain more for an adults brain that asks more in-depth questions compared to a child but still does it with the magic and wonder that is explained on how Santa functions.


So you see religion as something like Advanced Santa-nomics? I also once had the same mindset as you; materialistic in the spiritual sense, and looked down intellectually on religions. Once I actually learned about the philosophy of religions, I felt humiliated that I could have been so arrogant. The biggest wake up call for me was that even though I didn't believe in God or the afterlife, I was fundamentally acting as if I had a soul, and that many religious teachings (from Semitic religions anyway) were explaining how I felt about my life. I still don't know if God exists, but fundamentally I am less bothered with the act of knowing. I just want to act as if he does.


You've literally never studied religion... ever. Every God in every religion, even the abrahamic ones, is different from all the others. You use such an empty broad stroke to negate a huge topic while you are completely ignorant of it. This reeks of /r/iamverysmart. Prove that God doesn't exist. You say that you've finally learned to understand the world a little more and come to the conclusion that God doesn't exist. Where's your proof?


It depends. Are your issues with the existence of God, or existance of dogma in the name of God?




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I used to think along these exact same lines, questioning that if people were willing to lie to me for \~8 years saying Santa was real, what's stopping people from lying to me, telling me that God exists? I think that in some ways you're looking at a false equivalency here, at least from my personal experiences with religion. The whole "Santa" thing was primarily a corporate gimmick, which relied on both transactional behavior and social conditioning in children to push products and sales. I think that one could say the same to some extent for religions in general, particularly Christianity ( tithing, the selling of indulgences, having sacraments administered to children from the time of birth), but more or less thats where the similarities tend to end. Perhaps if this critique is specifically targeted at Abrahamic religions, I can see the rationale, but at the same time religion extends past the big pictures that tend to get picked up by your average joe. If I were to put it bluntly, it seems like you're specifically targeting the Abrahamic faiths, in part to your reference of "magic"(miracles) and heaven (which isn't unique to the Abrahamic faiths, but is most commonly attributed to them). At least in my experience studying religion and philosophy, in many cultures, religious beliefs are attached to each person's own personal meaning, and vary based on any number of factors. Moving away from any specific religion or denomination, I think there tends to be a bit of hubris in the idea that there is no "god," in the cosmic scheme of things we're still a very young species, there's a lot we've yet to learn. Our understanding of how the universe is evolving often, and quite frankly, we still don't know for certain how our universe got here, if it's the only one, and if this whole universe thing hasn't happened before. Not sure if I managed to further an argument or defense here, this is my first time ever actually posting in CMV, so I decided to give it a shot lol.


God(s) is/are a LOT of different things for as long as we have records of religious beliefs. Sure, some facets of broader religious beliefs may track with your comparison, but many important ones don't. At it's heart, in the beginning, supernatural beliefs actually had a bit in common with at least part of the scientific process. People observed the natural world, and tried to create a model that matched their observations. That nature might be guided by an intelligence with purpose isn't the craziest thing if you start from a more or less blank slate. Our own intelligence was the thing we knew best. Before anything else, belief in the supernatural was simple a structure to organize the world. Sometimes it makes good predictions, sometimes less so. Supernatural beliefs can also be a way to connect with your own emotions about the world, with reverence towards nature. Even in the secular world, we tend to heavily use metaphors when addressing these things. Now you might counter there that many religious people have terrible emotional self awareness or that many religious people of particular faiths seem to be standing in the way of caring for the environment. And you would be correct. I didn't say that God beliefs were the best tool for these jobs, or that all varieties of religious belief did these things or did them well. I'm just pointing out the many facets of theistic belief. It isn't all about reward and magic, it actually fills some of the roles that other disciplines have come to do in the modern world. I'm not personally religious, and I do think that as a model of the world, as a moral structure, as a connection with nature and emotions, there are better options than religion. But our analysis of it is off if we reduce it to the few facets that deal with reward.


Yes you're completely right, if your concept of God is a big bearded man in the sky that grants wishes if you ask really nice. There are more sophisticated concepts of God that, more esoterically, fit the more traditional elements of the word. One could use the term to refer in aggregate to the base "beingness" common to every conscious entity, i.e. that "I am" that defines the subconsciously driven subjective experience independent of individual personality quirks. One could use the term to refer to the universe as a whole and the natural laws that compose its "mind" e.g gravity or evolution or nuclear fusion. One could use the term to refer to Freud's superego or Jung's collective unconscious. One could use the term to refer to any combination of the above and other similar concepts. All these interpretations provide a greater context for one's harmony with one's neighbors and environment. Some facilitate a method of "prayer" which at the least provides serenity or perspective. None exhibit "magical" qualities a la Santa Claus. Sometimes the universe organizes itself into patterns too large and intricate for us to consciously process. Sometimes an element of ourselves is too subtle and deeply ingrained to consciously alter. Sometimes faith and a collective devotion to the greater good can be a vehicle for communal improvement. A sophisticated God concept can facilitate positive changes which are impossible to achieve from an individual, intentional angle. For example if you take "God" to be the voice of your subconscious, passive cataloguer of your experiences and quiet director of your outlook, "prayer" is a more effective method of deep and nuanced personal change than just trying to do it. Faith can be a self-fulfilling prophecy like that.


>You believe in Santa Claus and all the "magic" and ignore the obvious illogical issues with it because you get presents. Then when you finally understand the world a little more, you question it and figure out Santa isn't real. All of the magic and festivities surrounding Santa are real, It's just the parents that are Santa. I've never introduced or placed the idea of Santa in my kid's head, my youngest heard from others and he has a sense of belief and when he asks me if Santa is real, I'm not lying when I say "Yes, he is." Kids don't place logical conclusions to most things. Why is there food on the table, electricity, clothes, etc. While you can attest it to a series of events, the level your implying seems to be the simple 'Dad works, gets money and buys things from the store.' Santa ends up being the economy as a whole and it's more complicated than parents put the presents under the tree. The love to give them that sense of excitement, the memories, and tradition. Why do it? For the joy and that's what Santa represents. God encompasses everything, not just joy. Our seasons and holidays represent an eerie cycle. A new year, breeds love, rebirth of life (Easter), celebrating living (summer), old age, death, thankfulness for the life and afterlife reward. When a player praises God for a touchdown, it might be weird because you can follow the logical conclusion to him scoring a touchdown. But you can't explain why those serious of events actually took place. Why did the safey fall for the play action? You can't really answer that and some of it you can describe as just plain luck. The idea of acting Santa may be a part of God but they serve entirely different purposes.


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I think it would be hard to change your view because of the extend to which you've oversimplified what religion is and what God is in those different religions. This is a tautological fallacy because you've defined the terms so broadly in a way so specific to you it would be impossible to change it. . However, that being said. God and Santa Claus play dramatically different roles in people's lives. Santa Clause is a persona adults use to explain something the adults know they are doing. It is an intentionally perpetuated narrative that everyone participating in the creation of knows is false and temporary for the people they're creating it for. God is the answer for that for which their isn't answers. There is not one group intentionally perpetuating a narrative to a separate group of believers. The teachers and believers are one in the same, and *none* of them participate with an understanding or assumption that it is something people will get too old for or grow out of. It's also important to note that belief in a God, broadly, is not illogical. It's not empirically sound because it can't be measured, but logic is about the structure of a belief of argument not the truth of it. Belief in God can be logical but requires faith, which Kierkegaard and a few other very smart people said means that you basically assert one thing that cannot be proved is true, but everything you believe from that is logically sound.


You mention logical issues. There aren’t any real ones with religion. There is a way in mathematics to prove something is false by first assuming it is true and running into logical inconsistencies. Since the assumption that it is true cannot be right, you can conclude that it has to be false. This approach doesn’t work with religion. If you assume a religion to be true, everything within that religion makes sense. There is an answer for everything. If you assume a religion to be false, everything about the world still makes sense. Religion is unfalsifiable, which makes it fundamentally different from for example santa claus. You can think it is highly unlikely to be true, but there is absolutely no way to know for sure. I like to compare it to the movie the matrix, mostly because most people know it. There can be two explanations of how the world works, one from inside it, (the matrix is not a simulation, there is nothing outside it) and one sort of from outside the interactable world. (It is only a simulation, there is a whole world behind it) Both explanations make logical sense, one of them a bit far fetched as seen from the viewpoint of the other. You can’t simply say that because one of the explanations has no logical errors the other has to have them and can not possibly be true.


There is not much to go on here. "X is essentially just Y" is an obviously subjective stance, since you make a subjective judgement about which differences are relevant and which aren't. So let's explore both how Christianity is the same as believing in Santa, and how it is definitely not. They both involve believing in an entity that resides somewhere that is essentially unreachable, that will influence your life depending on how you behave. The influence happens in a fantastical way when you are not looking. They both involve asking for things into the aether hoping to be heard. They both involve a large feast surrounding his coming to us. The feast contains songs proclaiming his goodness, sung with fervor. As you can see, these parallels are easy to find, but each involves more or less stretching if the analogy, so how far is too far to stretch it? If I were to pull out some things that would be hard to find parallels for, I would bring up worship, which is an experience that is seemingly completely missing from secular life. The other would be prayer, especially the deep personal relationship many Christians experience with God. Prayer becomes much much more than just asking for things. It's more like an intensely empathic state of meditation. So, are they the same or different?


Im an exatheist and I used to think exactly the same thing, the idea of God seems absurd if you imagine it as a powerful human sitting on a throne, but let's try to remember that that's just a representation of how people in the past understood that concept. But how can a modern person better imagine "God" today?. I think a better approach is to imagine God like an AI. A software that it's present everywhere in the code of reality. That is everywhere and nowhere at the same time and that makes sure everything works. Like for example, imagine the YouTube algorithm. It affects every user, controls all the videos and it's not something that you can point in chrome and say "look! It's here!" You just see the results of it's work (as an user). Or do the opposite, travel back in time and that explain the concept of the YouTube algorithm to some town 4000 years ago... And then ask them to paint a picture of it. For sure they will write some kind of human metaphor of a naked guy in a tunic doing this and that, because for them that was the easiest way to grab those concepts.


This is overly simplistic thinking. If you believe in a religion, you simply believe that there is something beyond that which transcends the easily discernible physical world, and that there is a higher order of organization in nature. I don't see why this would be a fantasy. I mean, the laws that govern the universe have existed forever, not just since the tools and mechanisms were created so that they could be observed and quantified. Modern physics seems to be more and more related to mystical beliefs. The Big Bang theory is quite similar to the explanations given by the Kabbalah. Modern science calls 'biophotons' what in Eastern traditions has been called 'aura' for millennia. [Physics and biology also make discoveries and advances in what could be 'the soul'.](https://www.zmescience.com/science/science-explains-our-soul/) Science and religion are not incompatible, because each simply compensates for the deficiencies of the other. Science tries to explain 'how', while religion explains 'why'.


There’s a big difference between imagining a man on the north pole who brings presents once a year and trying to imagine an unkown (to humans) type of force or consciousness that created the universe. Even if we can’t disprove Santa Claus, we have a lot of circumstantial evidence that he’s fictitious with parents buying presents for kids and Santa only “existing” in Christian or Western nations. So that’s very different from the concept of god. We have evidence of how the universe MIGHT have begun, but we have no actual idea of why it started in the first place. Why anything exists at all. God is as good an answer as any, and god can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. If you mean the Christian God Yahweh, then you might have a leg to stand on, but it’s not a very strong analogy. Even if you think they are both fictional, we can reasonably disprove Santa’s existence. We can’t do that with Yahweh or many other gods. I hate saying it, but I am not a Christian by the way.


Everything ends in death. Eventually everything everyone has ever done and ever will do will be destroyed and forgotten. When the heat death of the universe occurs, humanity will be long extinct, and all achievements will be for nothing. In the long run, nothing really matters. That is unless there is something more. If there is a force outside of what we know and understand, it is possible that everything is not meaningless after all. God, and religion in general, is meaningful because it means that there is a possibility that everything is not meaningless. For me in particular, I almost killed myself twice because of the realization that nothing matters. Religion tells me that there is something more, and a reason to stick it out. Now, which religion is correct is anybody’s guess. I just picked the one that makes the most sense to me.


One thing that frustrates me to no end on the "is God real" question is the neglect of the millions of documented paranormal sightings and experiences throughout human history across all cultures. Only a few of those sightings actually have to be real to show that maybe there is more to our reality than what we can comprehend. I realize this means very little coming from an internet comment, but the town i went to for college was very haunted and it was pretty much widely accepted by everyone that it was. Even my very adamantly atheist friend firmly believed his apartment was haunted.


What part of religion are you calling illogical? A belief in the afterlife is no more logical or illogical than a belief that everything ends at death. Neither of us has proof for our position, and neither of us can disprove the other. You aren’t being specific enough for people to adequately rebut whee as t you’re saying. You’re saying a belief in God requires a belief in illogical magic, but without going into details as to what that means, there’s no way for me to argue you’re right or wrong.


-We have proof Santa Claus doesn't exist -We do not have proof God doesn't exist So yeah maybe there's no evidence for either, but you can't definitively say "God doesn't exist" similar to how you can say "Santa doesn't exist".


So they are the same then? Can't prove either exist, but your parents told you Santa did exist and then they said he didn't. Who told you god exists?


The one difference is we can verify Santa isn’t real because presents don’t appear under our tree, reindeer can’t fly, etc. However unlikely it is that a human’s idea of god exists, we also can’t really disprove it either.


How many people have killed in the name of Santa?


I’m pretty sure you’re not even here to change your view; you come across as hostile and a know-it-all looking for reaffirmation.




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You can prove Santa isn’t real; you can’t prove god isn’t.


I think that there is a comparison to be made here, but it it not the obvious one. If the comparison is “they are both things that don’t exist but people still believe in” then yeah, sure, that is a comparison, and I guess that I agree, but it is also pretty vapid. However, the impression that I get from the title is that the comparison being made here is that both the belief in Santa and the belief in God are childish. This is a more interesting comparison, and if that is the point that you are making, then I definitely disagree. The general point can be summarised as “it is very difficult to be an adult who believes in Santa, while on the other hand, it is very difficult for an adult Christian to stop believing in God”. I am speaking from the perspective of a former Christian (evangelical), now atheist. It should be noted before I start saying things that who God was to me, and what Christianity was to me are very different from many Christians around the world, partly due to my denomination, my county (I am not American), and my specific church. While from an outside perspective, these things may seem inconsequential, the reality is that Christianity is vague, undefined, and prone to very sharp divisions, so it varies wildly with who is doing the believing. First off, I want to clear up a misconception. You said > You believe in Santa Claus and all the "magic" and ignore the obvious illogical issues with it because you get presents And > You ignore all the illogical "magic" and continue to believe because "faith" will get you presents (heaven) when you die The reason that kids believe in Santa is not because he gives them presents. Similarly, the reason Christians believe in God is not because of heaven. I think that this is the first point to get across. I don’t know where you got the impression that kids believe in Santa because he gives them presents. At least where I am from, your faith in Santa has no impact on whether you get presents. People don’t believe in God because he promises them heaven. After all, there are many Christians who believe that everyone goes to heaven, and how would you explain their beliefs? Also, imagine the sheer dedication that would be required to go to church, follow the rules, sing the songs etc. just so that right at the end of your life you will go to heaven. It is far too abstract. I can tell you from my experience that neither me nor any of the Christians that I knew did things because of heaven. In fact, I would have interpreted that kind of motivation to be a bit too “materialistic” for my liking. We should do good things because they are good, or because we love God, not for any reward, so being a Christian because of heaven was unthinkable. So why do kids believe in Santa? It is because they are told that Santa exists by their parents and by their teachers. For most Christians, it is similar - my parents said God exists, and they took me to church where I was told the same thing. Well, that is not a particularly interesting answer. So, let’s change the question a little bit - why is it that Children stop believing in Santa at a young age, while adults will believe in God for their entire lives? This, I think, is where Santa and God diverge significantly. There are many, many answers to this question, but I will focus on what I think is the main one - as you age, there is considerable social pressure to stop believing in Santa. On the other hand, when you are a Christian, there is considerable social pressure to continue being a Christian and believing in God. Before we get to this, a quick note. In an ideal world, a perfectly rational human being would look at the evidence of Santa or God and come to the conclusion that they do not exist. However, we do not live in an ideal world, and there are many social factors that make it easier to see the evidence against Santa for what it is, and harder to see the evidence against God when you are a Christian. Imagine a person in their 30s who still believes in Santa. To get to that age and still believe in Santa is not easy - not only do they have to ignore literally everyone around them, but also they need to perform the mental gymnastics required to maintain that belief on their own. However, a Christian will be surrounded by their Christian friends and family. Speaking from experience, it is very easy to ignore atheist arguments when you have plenty of friends and family also ignoring atheist arguments. In addition, the mental gymnastics required to maintain the belief are easy. At church, you are surrounded by people who can answer any question that you have, and there are innumerable books and blog posts that can also provide answers. It also helps that there is an understanding that not every question in Christianity can be answered by us humans, and that even if not everything makes sense, we can still trust in God’s character to get through. So, hopefully I have imparted the impression that it is much easier to maintain a belief in God than a belief in Santa as you age. The next point that I want to get across is how difficult it is to stop being a Christian. When I was a Christian, I considered the losing of one’s faith to be a failure. I have heard preachers say that the main reason that Christians lose faith is because they are “tempted by the world”. This meant that I was afraid of entertaining any doubts that I had. If I were to lose faith, then it’s not because of any flaws with Christianity, it is because I was not strong enough. In addition, what would my parents think of me? It’s not that they have a negative opinion of atheists, but they could simply never comprehend that I did not choose to be an atheist. While it is not a sin to doubt, we are taught that it is a “bad thing”, and that we should not do it. It is not an understatement to say that I was terrified of confronting my doubts. Given that, how could anyone expect me to look at the evidence rationally? It took years for me to finally face my fears and come to the conclusion that, actually, I hadn’t been a Christian for a while now. If you are interested in this, I wholeheartedly recommend the book Faith No More, by Phil Zuckerman. It is a collection of interviews from people who changed from being strong believers in religion to the complete opposite side of the spectrum. It gives great insight into why people believe, what it takes to lose faith, and the social consequences that follow. So I hope that this convinces you that, at the very least, the dynamics involved in believing in Santa are completely different from the dynamics involved in believing in God.


I'm firmly of the opinion that most religions have their basis in [mystical experiences](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6478303/). In every single case where someone has described having an "otherworldly experience" - they've had one of these mystical experiences. These experiences take many shapes or forms, but several common themes are a sense of Oneness, connection with a higher power, and entities. It doesn't matter if these experiences are "real" or not. Subjectively, they often tend to be *more* real than "reality," and the impact of the experience may well have a lasting impression on that individual's persona. These types of experiences have been going on for thousands - tens of thousands of years. And the leading way we've discussed them is through language. I don't know if you've ever noticed, but [language](https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/24/books/review/psychedelics-how-to-change-your-mind.html) is incredibly limited, despite all the amazing things we've accomplished with it. We are pretty much limited to topics where common ideas can be described through symbols. And misunderstandings abound. Ideas can be shared, and changed, but they're all based on common understandings - common experiences - even if these understandings may conflict at times. Imagery through art and music conveys what words cannot, but intertextuality and reader response criticism still limit the interpretation. For some, a painting may symbolize the unification between man and his maker, but for most it's just going to be a chick on a horse. And the same goes for music and texts. So people have had these mystical experiences since pre-history. Picture trying to describe a wooden chair to a man who has never seen trees, and has lived all his life where they sit on the floor. Try describing the sound of rain to a deaf person, or the patterns of a kaleidoscope to the blind. The inability for people to convey mystical experiences goes even further. Having our senses show us a world fundamentally different from what we're used to, language is momentarily found lacking. Having experienced the ineffable, one grasps for any semblance of similarity. This lead to the use of *cultural metaphors*. Frustrated by the inadequacy of words, one sought anything that could give a shadow of a hint at what was trying to be conveyed. Be it through drumming and dancing, imbibing something, meditation, singing - what have you - people have been doing these things forever in order to experience *something else*. As we narrowed down what worked, each generation would follow in their elders footsteps and take part in the eventual rituals that formed around the summoning of these mystical experiences. These initiations revealed the deeper meanings hidden within the cultural metaphors and the mythology they'd created. Hidden in plain sight, but only fully understood once you'd had the subjective experience necessary to see beyond the veil of language. The mythology that grew out of these experiences weren't dogmatic law, but guides for the people that grew with each generation. The map is not the path, and people were aware of this. The first major change to how we related to these passed down teachings was the fall of the ritual; those parts of the ritual that would give rise to the mystical experience. The heart of the ceremony was left out, and what remained - the motions, without meaning - grew rigid with time. The metaphors remained, but without the deeper subjective insights to help interpret them. Eventually all was left were the elder's words, a mythology that grew more dogmatic with each following generation. The only reality that exist is the one we have experienced and can imagine. As our reality is based upon the limitations of our perception of the world, so too are the teachings limited. Translations of these texts conflated and combined allegory with historical events, while politics altered the teachings for gain. Eventually we ended up here, where most major religions still hold that spark of the old ideas - but twisted to serve the will of man, instead of guiding him. Western *Theosophy*, Eastern *Caodaism*, and Middle Eastern *Bahai Faith* are a few practices that see the same inner light within all belief systems - Grown out of mystical experiences, but hidden by centuries and millennia of rigid dogma. As long as people continue to have mystical experiences - and we're hardwired for them - spirituality will exist. As long as people allow themselves to be beguiled into believing individuals are gatekeepers though which they'll find the answers to these mystical revelations, there will be religion and corrupting influences. So all religions with an origin in mystical experiences may be true, where the differences lie in the cultural metaphors used to explain the ineffable beyond our normal perception - without the tarnish of politics and control. If you want to discover the truths behind these faiths, you need to delve into the *esoteric* practices that brought on those beliefs. Simply adhering to scripture will only amount to staring at the finger pointing at the moon. If you were to sift through all religions and forms of spirituality you'd be left with a few aspects that seem to reverberate through time. [A message that's remained the same no matter the age.](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FqHYstooBQ)


If you think in the same oversimplified moronic way that the huge cults calling themselves "religions" think, then you are right. Way to nail the lowest hanging fruit idea of religion by literally the dumbest population imaginable. Honestly, your metaphor is so vastly reductionist, it's hard to believe that this is a serious inquiry. Now when you say "God is the same way for all religions created by humans." then you are into pure fantasy territory here. It's better if you just say "I don't know very much about this, so I'm going to state an uninformed opinion so I can learn and get feedback." Look, a "deity" is almost always a way for a teacher to prevent his followers from attaching/projecting/transferring their own psychological issues onto them. Deities serve a very pragmatic purpose and almost nothing else. Block/Disown/Project in the psychology of humans is a Real Problem, and all spiritual teachers worth following know this. But if you As someone who does coaching and psychological work myself (not comparing here) transference is a problem for the person getting the help, as their own realizations and AHA moments are projected toward you- like YOU ALONE were the Magic Object that brought about their insight, rather than themselves. We live in a pretty abusive society that teaches people almost nothing about themselves, but assumes everyone will "just figure it out". So, when you ARE a spiritual teacher, you realize pretty deeply that you are no longer an individual, really. The removal of the illusion of your own individuality is a side effect of your practice, so then if you start to teach out of compassion, then people will project a LOT of stuff onto you. The Life Of Brian is a great example of this. So, you then identify with this timeless, eternal, unchanging Reality more than your individuality but this is hard to speak about to people who think you're "just a special guy" so they both raise you up and also limit what they are willing to hear at once. It's a real issue. SO, one way to deflect this Personal Transference is to use a metaphor of a "deity" that exists beyond your limited-by-time-and-space individuality that these people will continue to focus on. You're TRYING to get them to do what you did- i.e. see the timeless, infinite, unchanging Reality that IS A PART OF THEM as much as it is for YOU- but some people just... WON'T. Christians have basically decided that the ONLY person to EVER do this was Jesus, and certainly YOU CANNOT. HOW DARE YOU EVEN THINK YOU COULD! /s All of which undoes the work of Jesus himself! Second best is to say "There is a Bearded White Guy In The Sky!^(TM)" (jk only cults say shit like that, but really some chosen form of a deity or other immortal figure) and deflect their adulation to that 'object' which will survive your limited individuality and allow them HOPEFULLY to GET THE POINT of extending their view. But... they then mistakenly transfer/project onto that and then create another Being and on the ignorance goes. There MAY BE SOME who "get it" but that is often very few. So the more cult-like and ignorant your "religion" becomes the worse they become at getting the REAL point and so this goes on and on like that. This is a more specific point about infantilizing "faith", which is basically a strategy that says "Just and ONLY project" and leaves everything else up to "authorities". 'There there Little Johnny, just "have faith"'. There is ONLY ONE *real* faith and that is in your own ability to understand the inherently paradoxical counter-intuitive understanding of your timeless, infinite, unchanging Self as one with your deity and the material world and your psychological life too. Learning this isn't that hard, since there are, at any given time on the planet thousands of Jesus-level people living that you can just talk to. Most are in India. So, deities are a ***utilitarian device*** for spiritual teachers, and only fucking narcissistic morons think LITERALLY there are ACTUAL BEINGS walking around that care about THEM, specifically. I'm convinced that 75% of people who pledge allegiance to a deity figure do so out of social compliance more than any real devotional relationship with their psychological projection- which is ALL deities are. Once you know this, reading The Bible's New Testament changes A LOT. But, there ARE OTHER RELIGIONS, and it's a stupid and ignorant mistake to conflate ALL RELIGION CREATED BY HUMANS as being identical. "My" religion taught me all of what I'm saying now. I have a chosen form of a deity, but that is a CHOICE and I USE that psychological projection as a temporal and emotional connection to my denied self and my projected wishfulness about some aspect of my life I cannot yet understand. I think this is what EVERYONE does, but some are simply less honest about this fact. "My" religion taught me that I must try to see Reality As It Is WITHOUT projections or delusions, and IF I am going to choose a deity I do so knowing that it has limitations and benefits. People teaching Authentic Religion do this, but people in cults just mistake care for control and control for care, so... become cults by degrees over time.


I really like to use this example whenever I get into a debate like these - The car you drive, the clothes you wear, the house you live in wasn't made by a person, it was just an explosion that made put everything in place. Sounds plausible? Obviously not The Universe and everything was created by God, not just happened by some explosion. The chances of earth being in perfect distance from sun, sun being in perfect intensity, water being in only our planet, a meteorite hitting a dinosaurs, the gases being in perfect composition (for life to support). If you think about it, it's just dumb to take so so so many things just by coincidence. As a Muslim, Quran says everything is made by God and proofs for its authenticity. Here are some : Scientific Proofs: Creation of Life: "We made every living thing from water. Will they not believe?" (Quran 21:30) In this verse, Allah mentions water as the basic element of the creation of every living thing. Today, science proves that every living thing is made up of cells and these cells consist of 80% cytoplasm, which in simple terms is "water". This might have seemed odd for the people of that time as there was no science to prove it but today, science proves this fact which Quran mentioned 1400 years ago. Presence of Iron: For the people of today, iron is a metal that is found on earth. However, according to scientists today, the original source of iron is not a metal of this earth rather it came from space. Quran mentions iron in the following way: "We sent down iron, in which is (material for) mighty war, as well as many benefits for mankind." (Quran 57:25) This ayah states that the iron is not something that formed on earth but was actually sent down by Allah. According to scientists, billions of years ago meteoroids hit earth and these meteoroids came with the metal iron which then dispersed and immersed in different parts of the earth. Sky as Protector: Allah says in Quran: "We made the sky a protective ceiling. And yet they are turning away from Our signs!" (Quran 21:32) Allah mentions sky as a protective ceiling and calls it a sign. Today, this is a scientific fact that the sky actually does serve as a protective shield for life on earth. Earth's atmosphere protects life on earth by filtering harmful ultraviolet radiations from the sun, destroying most meteors that pass through it and retaining heat. Earth's atmosphere also provides oxygen to humans and animals and carbon dioxide to plants. Function of Mountains: Allah says in Quran: "Did We not make the earth a resting place? And the mountains as stakes?" (Quran 78:6-7) This Ayah describes mountains as stakes which go deep down in earth. Today, science proves this claim of Quran according to which the mountains are not just above the surface rather they have roots deep down below earth's surface as well. The highest peak in the world Mount Everest can be the best example of this. According to scientists, Mount Everest that is 9km above the surface has its roots almost 125km below the surface. Thus the metaphor of "mountains as stakes" in Quran actually gets a scientific proof. The Quran has divine, poetic beauty that no human can ever achieve.If you ponder over the realities, you will understand the authenticity of Quran. My biggest advice: Read Quran yourself. But again, these are the things you will believe once you believe or start to believe in God. I am really waiting for your reply (or just a message that you have read all this) NOTE : These all were proof of Quran's authenticity, which obviously mean that if these are true(obviously)then everything is made by god


I understand the comparison between two systems in which your elders tell you a mythical story with intended realism. The comparison you are suggesting is: Elders told me —> Santa is real —-> This has since been disproven. Elders told me —> God is real —-> ??? As much as it’s understandable and easy to assume that God has *also* since been disproven in the way Santa has, the concept of God is different than Santa, so the two must be further compared before assuming the prior statement, in my opinion. God as a concept has been a year-round, old-as-time deal for the entire planet since the dawn of man. No matter how or by who he is perceived, the overwhelming majority of early civilizations worshipped some form of “God.” His form may deviate per culture, but the concept has been one of the few consistent similarities between places all over the world. Santa is, as far as I’m aware, a fairly specific deity whos origins can be identified within a specific time frame and culture. He also does not fit the “creation myth” narrative, a worldwide phenomenon in which cultures regardless of location or origin have some sort of belief in the purposeful creation of the universe. Santa has always just been a story. So, is God just a story as well? I guess this is where this discussion becomes more subjective, so here is my personal argument as an agnostic: Because the concept of “God” is so broad, he cannot be disproven in the way Santa can. Santa has always been a singular, physical person with magical powers. God cannot be defined just such a specific way, and thus I feel that your comparison is inaccurate. I would like to conclude by actually pointing out similarities between God and Santa, though, which may seem counterintuitive to my point, but let me explain: Although God and Santa are two different things whos *concepts* cannot be reasonably compared, they are commonly utilized by humans in the same way. For example: both God and Santa are used by parents as a way to keep their children in line. Both can be used in threatening ways; warning children of lumps of coal, or alternatively hellfire, if they do not adhere to the proposed rules. They both are told to have omnipresence: they both know who have been “bad or good.” Humans absolutely and often use both God and Santa as a way to enforce rules, bad or good. But isn’t it amazing that, for many of the world’s young believers in Santa, they *do* wake up with full stockings and presents under the tree? Isn’t the fact that millions of parents spend Christmas Eve quietly moving presents from room to room, eating halves of cookies kind of proof of “Santa” in his own right? When a belief, or the sustainment of a belief, creates an action (such as a happy Christmas morning for kids,) could it not be argued that Santa as a concept can take credit for that? Likewise, when millions of people come together to help each other and create a better world in the name of God, who is to say that is not proof of God in itself? The believers would certainly say so, and I think there’s truth to that. When a non-physical concept motivates and changes the world, for better or for worse, is that not proof of some sort of reality?


I was a pretty staunch atheist a good part of my life. I think God in the context of most religions is a form of manipulation and most narratives around it, and I totally understand not believing in magic or faith when you’re still uninitiated. I present my God thought experiment: For a context of dimensions, both the 2nd and 4th, I recommend this video https://youtu.be/UnURElCzGc0 I think Sagan lays the ground work in an obviously credible way, but I’d take this a few steps further. A 2D reality/universe (you can imagine a piece of paper) moving in a wave motion through a 3D universe would result in any 2D organisms experiencing a physical and instantaneous change that they couldn’t fully describe because it was happening in a higher physical dimension than their reality - the z-axis to their x\y axis reality. The universe wave only has to be moving in one direction for this change to be experienced, as either direction will have the same affect. If you add a dimension to this thought experiment, you arrive at what I believe is a very accurate model for what we experience as linear time - our universe is likely a 3 dimensional wave moving, or “expanding”, through the 4th dimension - and the result is an instantaneous and physical change occurring throughout our entire perceivable reality. The change experienced through time is the result of the universe wave moving through a higher physical dimension, specifically at the speed of light, which is why matter becomes energy when it reaches that speed (via E=mc^2) and why tachyon particles (particles going faster than the speed of light) would perceive time as going “backwards” - because they’re going faster than the directional motion of the universe. Again, if the wavelength was say 10 trillion years long, the experience of the wave going “the other way” would still be the same sensation of linear time. So what does it “look like” in the 4th dimension? Given that top scientists acknowledge its existence (think the end of Interstellar) - the result is conclusively that *all life on earth exists simultaneously as a single organism because the experience of linear time isn’t separating it*. The only thing that separates you from being the same biological organism as your parents (the sperm from your dad and the egg from your mom) is the time since you were conceived until now. Thus, the only thing that separates you or me or anything from the first cells that started dividing on earth 3 billion years ago *is the 3 billion years that have happened since*. We are all effectively the cells of an inter-dimensional super organism, all powered by and connected through the same life force via the law of conservation of energy. This is also why all Earth based life shares a majority of the same DNA. That’s what happens when you look at life on Earth in the 4th dimension. It’s theorized dimensions could go up to 9-12. Welcome to the rabbit hole. But what would you call a single organism that is “immortal” because it doesn’t experience the death associated with linear time, that is simultaneously everything that does, ever has, or ever will exist on this planet? The colloquial name for that is God. It’s much more complicated than this, but it’s a solid and reasonably logically sound starting point. Magic is real as fuck man - if you have the eyes and mind to see it. Humans are tiny things that have much to lean / remember.


>God is the same way for all religions created by humans. For starters, not all religions deal with the concept of a "god" in the same way, and many religions don't have a concept of "god" in the way you're describing. Many versions of Buddhism for example don't have the concept of god in any of the practices, scriptures, meditations etc., and the practice itself is not even comparable to Abrahamic religions (that is to say, these forms of Buddhism are more about practice than they are belief). There is also an ongoing discourse in Judaism regarding the concept of god and what that concept actually means metaphysically, with a shift away from the literal concept of a divine creator and more towards one of "godliness", which is something paralleled in many Dharmic religions (right-action, for example). >You ignore all the illogical "magic" and continue to believe because "faith" will get you presents (heaven) when you die. This is also a gross mischaracterization of many theological schools of thought, even within Abrahamic religions but especially within polytheistic and indigenous spiritual beliefs. Many North American indigenous spiritual beliefs for example conceive of humans and all other life as part of a bigger cycle of life and death, and that death results in your body and whatever energies that make up who you are being recycled back into the environment, which in some sense is true. Reincarnation is also a concept inconsistent with your claim, as in religions such as Hinduism the goal is not to "have faith so you can have a nice afterlife", but rather to do good deeds and have good karma, as it will be a key factor in the function of reincarnation. Buddhist spiritual beliefs around reincarnation are less focused on literal reincarnation, and more about overcoming desire so as to eliminate any need for an afterlife or a reincarnated version of the self. I think there's a good chance that overall, you're basing your pessimistic view towards religion on Westernized versions of religious practice, and are not considering the notion that religion is a lot more nuanced and diverse than what you find in Western Christianity, or even Abrahamic faiths overall. Furthermore, many of the largest world religions have been around for more than a thousand years, and there has been a lot of discourse and study since then about the meaning, objectiveness, and purpose of those spiritual belief systems over that time. You're not the first person to criticize religious beliefs and you won't be the last, but if you are going to be of the opinion that "god is just as made up as anything else that's made up", you owe it to yourself to actually explore the topic in more depth than you are currently. You don't have to be religious to find the theological debates surrounding different religions fascinating, and as you clearly have some sort of interest in the discourses surrounding religious beliefs, it's worth diving deeper and putting more commitment into it if you can.


This is an awful lot longer conversation than a few paragraphs in "CMV" are going to be able to address. Suffice it to say, this is a view I commonly hear on the internet, and I think it's pretty typical in online atheist forums and so on. I'll just go to the core similarities and differences I see, as a person of faith, between the two situations you describe. First, the similarities, which start from this: the tradition of Santa Claus is a wonderful one. You've reimagined this tradition as one based in self interest ("because you get presents"), but I don't know any families where the legend of Santa Claus is so purely mercenary and transactional. In our family, when our kids were small, huge aspects of their joy around the rituals of Santa Claus consisted of the giving they could do: choosing their favorite cookie recipe, helping to make cookie dough and bake cookies, leaving out an ice pack so the milk would stay cold, scattering oatmeal outside for the reindeer. Our kids also relished opportunities to be "Santa's helpers" by giving to others through ministries such as Angel Tree. From the beginning, a huge part of their excitement was in the ways they could express their desire to care. For many religious traditions (including my tradition, Christianity), an equally huge part of the attraction is the alignment of my personal values with scriptures such as "I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you invited me in." There are also differences, however. In the case of Santa Claus, there is a very ready alternative explanation for where presents come from: the parents. However, in the case of deep universal mysteries of the human condition, there is no such ready alternative. Science is excellent at casting light on questions of \_how\_ our universe works, but questions of \_why\_ it should work that way are harder to address with the scientific method because they do not lend themselves to experimentation. We can understand how a car works simply by experimenting on it, but questions about who its designers were (or whether there were any designers at all) are much harder to answer by such methods. The legend of Santa Claus would be a lot more compelling, even to adults, if one of the chief alternative explanations of presents below the Christmas tree was simply, "The formed there by themselves, and coincidentally are exactly what you asked for, with no intervention of intelligence or purposeful will by any being." I'm sure you're familiar with the "fine tuned universe" arguments in support of intelligent design, and while there are two sides to all of it, I think what's clear is: the simple-minded understanding of faith, as "ignoring obvious illogical issues in order to 'get presents'", is woefully incomplete and inadequate.


Have you ever heard of someone that’s come to believe in Santa Claus later in life. What about “Santa atheist kids” that go around telling the ones that believe in Santa to grew the fuck up? Well actually there are, but those kids are assholes. It’s entirely expected for kids to grow out of a belief that yields no proverbial fruit. The opposite is the definition of insanity. Stop me if you’ve heard this before but prayer benefits the praying physiologically. From healthy neurotransmitters to perspective, Faith, when practiced with spiritual integrity and honesty, is the most powerful source of humility and humbleness. Altruism is great too, Santa doesn’t teach kids to be kind, he tells kids to not be naughty, follow and obey their parents. God asks for trust and unity with Him. Obedience to God isn’t to avoid punishment, it’s to maintain a spiritual connection, keeping the power of prayer bountiful and the heart resilient. To be clear, the bounty is a fulfilled, resilient heart/spirit, and the ability to remain humble. The silent issue with Christianity and being a Christ-like person is, it takes work. It takes emotional intelligence and self-awareness. Developing these traits is part of the spiritual journey to Christ and to God. Just like it’s easy for a degenerate like Bezos to hoard Billions of dollars, it’s easy for the religious person to pervert the distinction between “religious” and “Christ-like”. “Religious” people form walls between them and others. People that try to pursue life of being faithful to God and “Christ-like” do not. God isn’t there to give us things. He’s there because we are here and we are here because He is here. The Alpha and the Omega. Much like the concept of The All in the teachings of Hermès Trismegistus, or Hermeticism, God exists in us, He is the All. He is the ALL, therefore we are part of the All, thus our existence is intertwined with His. He doesn’t listen from afar, we are beings of which He is a part of the composition. Now, as children, when we ask Santa for toys, we’re just being inherently selfish children whose “wants vs needs” distinguishing skills aren’t developed. This is one of the reasons I’m against exposing kids to any spiritual practice at an age where they still believe in Santa. If you’re believing in that nonsense, the complexity of faith and how it works in tandem with our will is too much to throw at a kid. Now had you told me it was an evil plot by the Catholics to dress on old jovial, grandfatherly man in a RED gown to indoctrinate kids with “belief-based psychology and obedience training”, I may have a harder time breaking that one down


I believe in science being the provable truth as we can best attain it. We can scientifically prove Santa isn't real. We cannot disprove God's existence. You have misrepresented monotheistic faiths. My guess is you have anecdotal knowledge from believers that are not intellectuals. Debating undereducated beliefs from the local hedge priests is like playing tee-ball and hitting a home run. Instead, look at intellectuals that believe in God. C.S. Lewis believed in the possibility of aliens and God. He did not believe that there were "illogical issues" with God. Scientists in all fields and great philosophers believe / have believed in God and do not believe that such issues exist. Darwin, Gödel and Pascal all believed in God. Having a "God isn't real. QED." attitude means you think that you could go toe-to-toe with these intellectual giants and would come out ahead. I'd suggest Socrates approach: "I know nothing." Respect their beliefs, but have your own. If you have a scientific, mathematical, logical or philosophical proof that God does not exist, keep your delta and immediately publish it as you would be famous. Each that has been presented in history has had flaws. That's why great minds are often agnostic and rarely atheistic. Atheism requires faith. Read Einstein for some of his reasonings for being agnostic. He took a true scientific approach to religion. There are better options for equivalencies. Believing in aliens and believing in God could be equivalent. It would require faith since there is no scientific proof one way or another. You could equate the belief in God to scientific theories. There is proof one way or another, based on historical data which you have the choice to accept or not. Big Bang comes to mind. It is not something that we can recreate, but there is proof. There requires a level of faith in our own ability to process the facts and that our processes / knowledge will not be disproven as we better understand science. You could say science requires faith in our own knowledge which could be frighteningly more like Santa Claus if we truly go the rout of Socrates (I jest). There are many things that require faith but some things are provably wrong and others are not. If you can equating something you can scientifically disprove with something that you can't scientifically disprove, you will never give a delta and I believe you to do so from a position which opposes current human knowledge. There are other equivalencies that are less insulting, completely accurate, and opens up great conversation instead of promoting tribalism.




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Not to be rude but your understanding is stated like someone who has never really bothered to try to understand religion, which I'm not faulting you for but still. C. S. Lewis wrote "There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of 'Heaven' ridiculous by saying they do not want 'to spend eternity playing harps.' The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them." Explaining the purpose of god in any religion is a rather tall order for an online forum so I'd have to suggest you study elsewhere if you're really interested, but in short genuine theology is where you'll find that most religions are rather the same at the core and what they teach in church is rather different from actual doctrine. The belief in god isn't about hoping to receive "blessings" or going to "heaven" because that in and of itself would be vain. If you're really interested go and read some of C. S. Lewis' books (they pertain to Christianity specifically) and listen to some of the lectures of Alan Watts (who will discuss almost every major religion in depth) and that's a decent starting point. Ultimately we are of similar opinions however. The belief in god as is presented by any given church is somewhat lacking in substance. People having a hope for heaven or something similar is generally harmless and tends to help people so nobody bothers to do anything about it. People who use their religion as a pretext for condemning others obviously do not understand it. So to sum up your points. People with a thorough understanding of theology do not necessarily believe in "illogical magic" but they can if they want because it doesn't matter. They can have "faith" but they don't have to because it doesn't matter. They can believe in whatever heaven they like, but don't have to because it doesn't matter. They can believe in any sort of god but don't have to because ultimately it doesn't matter. The substance of god is something different and up for your own personal discovery since whatever it is isn't well transmittable. Edit: I forgot an important part. If you're worried by the "logic" of god you're going to be frustrated. Most religions are good at setting up logical premises and then extrapolating them into whatever they want, but the logical steps all end at a point, so if you want to believe "something" about a religion you can be easily shown logic for it, but don't think any more about it or you'll see the next steps aren't logical derivations. For example in the LDS church (which I'm most familiar with because I was raised there) it can be taken as an axiom that an uneducated and essentially illiterate farm boy could not produce the Book of Mormon, similarly it can be demonstrated that the other theorems about its fabrication are poor and it can be shown that it came about by "some other way". They then say that it came about by divine power (extrapolation 1), and since it was by divine power it must be true (extrapolation 2), and if it is true the church is true (extrapolation 3), and if the church is true it's leaders speak by divine power (extrapolation 4), and if they speak by divine power what they say is true (extrapolation 5) and by such steps they lead the church. You see the logic breaks down after the very first steps and turns into a set of "possible theorems" that they choose to follow. All religious logic runs into this problem eventually and the reason is fairly simple. Most religions assume that "god" either 1) created the universe or 2) maintains the universe. Taking that to be our base we can clearly see that god is "from somewhere else". It would be rather vain of us, who as of yet have a poor understanding of our own universal laws, to assert both 1) that the laws of "somewhere else" are the same as they are here and 2) that god is breaking them by using "illogical magic". Most religions also assert that god is omnipotent. This is basically a catch all phrase that most religious people fail to use for some reason. For example a number of practitioners of Abrahamic religions will assert that the universe is only 6000 years old. Obviously this is illogical to the extreme. They try to present various evidences to make their point and usually do it poorly, which is too bad because it can boil down to a matter of opinion. The question "can the earth be 6000 years old?" is the same as the question "can an omnipotent being exist?" If the answer to the later is yes then it's evident that this being could snap their fingers and create the entire universe as it exists this moment, with a comprehensive history built in and memories for every organism as if they were "genuine". Why such a being would do that rather than use the mechanisms of their own universe to bring it about "naturally" is another question but technically speaking yes, it could be 6000 years old in such a system, and because of that any proofs presented against it can be dismissed. That's not to say that it definitely is 6000 years old but that it can't be proved in a system where an omnipotent being exists, and thus you're free to believe whatever you want. To simplify it imagine that the whole universe were a natural equation, something about gravity maybe, and "god" is a set of values which represent everything. Naturally you will struggle to fit the "set of everything" into your "equation about gravity", and this is the issue we run into when we try to prove or disprove "god". Sorry for typos etc, autocorrect is almost violent on my new phone.


Hypothesis: Story of Jesus is a book of cognitive science (story of the mind) If this is true, then that would mean everyone in the world is wrong about what it is and what we're waiting for 2021 years. And people who are faced with realization they're wrong (and you'll go through it, too), go true these phases: Shock, disbelief/denial, anger, bargaining (that generally doesn't happen because subjects get stuck on denial/anger), depression (sorrow) and finally, after good bargaining, acceptance. Now, what do we know about the judgment day and end of era? There will be gnashing of teeth (anger) and weeping (sorrow). Second and fourth phase when people realize they're wrong. As for the bargaining, to get out of grief, you need to lose some to give some. That's the part "pluck out your eye" of "cut off your arm" to get out of "place of fire" (fire represents cleansing). And, as Revelation says, it'll be "Word of God", aka "truth". So, is there "magical sky daddy who grants wishes"? Well, not in the way you think, nothing in the physical world, it's all about mind. But is there truth that can destroy the world as we know it? Search deep inside you and recognize the steps I said you'd have... And you have scientific experiment that proves the prophecy. So, your judgment, just like the rest of the world: #You are wrong! But, you came to CMV, which is exactly what original Greek word for "repent" means: to change mind. So, you should "repent", change your mind, as you asked. Next time watch what you wish for. But, as I said before, bargaining phase is too expensive, it would mean you should forget everything you think you know and re-learn everything, and view the world from completely different perspective. Part of "being born again" is to "die". And don't you think if you were thinking like me you'd be completely new person, unrecognizable to everyone who knew you 5 minutes ago? Anyway, Have a nice day.


Genomics are basically the study of organic programming. We've learned how to manipulate genes to create an apple tree from a grain of rice. The sky is really the limit with what we can eventually create with this technology. So let me ask you this... Imagine in 1,000 years the technology that we will have? Imagine in 1,000 years a traveler from Earth goes to a far off planet that is already inhabited by basic primitive life. That traveler then decides to create human life using genomic technology that can fit in his or her palm to seed the planet with a conscious being. That conscious being then is given an opposite sex partner. The traveler then seeds the planet with more humans and they consummate to start the population on the planet. Now let me add we're already talking about communicating telepathically with embedded devices: [https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/brain-computer-interface-neuralink-elon-musk-telepathy-a9097821.html](https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/brain-computer-interface-neuralink-elon-musk-telepathy-a9097821.html) This traveler then speaks to the people and using telepathy and other technology that appears magical to the populace, then tries to start them off on a path to love and care for one another as a religion. Once the foundation is set, the traveler moves on to the next system to continue seeding. We will likely be able to download our consciousness onto an SSD or some kind of crystal storage device in the next 50-70 years. God could be a former human-like being who transferred to a digital being that is travelling to many planets seeding them with intelligent life. Again this is hypothetical, but makes the idea of a God seem not only plausible when we look at the law of accelerating returns for technology, but highly probable that we will eventually become God-like if we don't destroy ourselves in the process/before hand.


Disagree. Things can be mythological fun traditions but not necessarily the same. Okay I’m a theist and I believe in God. But here’s a fun thing to think about. Say I’m wrong and God is similarly a mythological construction to frame things and do wish fulfillment and be moral even. Okay then God would share things with Santa Claus but also might not be the same thing: So the way I see it there is God and no Santa. The way you see it there is no Santa and no God. My attempt to change your view: what if there is no God and no Santa and though they therefore share similarities in being mythological stories that are self confirming and perpetuated for social order and control as well as personal belief, what if they aren’t the same. For example lots of kids believe in Santa and God. Also which God? I’m saying what if you have a good starting point but that’s not the finishing point. I’d say that Krishna isn’t God but for Hindus. Hindus are internally diverse but it’s not like our concepts of the ultimate are necessarily all maxed out to some grand thing. Catholics believe that Jews, Muslims, and Christians all worship the same God. But if there is no God then are they worshipping the same thing if God means similar yet different things in different traditions? Like if God isn’t real then there is so much more interesting to think about when it comes to differences that are not necessarily the same thing you know. I get what you mean. It’s like saying Rhode Island is a state and Florida is a state. Florida is just Rhode Island for Floridians. Sure makes sense. But also what if Florida and Rhode Island have some things in common but are really super different? For better and for worse?


1. God is such a broad term that a specific response would be TL:DR. 2. Even the Judeo-Christian, to be Euro-centric, God has so many different permutations that a comprehensive answer is not realistic. Entire libraries, city blocks of libraries have been written on the subject. 3. However, yes, there are, of course, groups of people for whom God is the guy who “will come down the chimney, knows if they’ve been bad or good and will bring them gifts if they have been good,”. Hopefully on a daily basis. 4.Probably the psychological basis for the entire idea of God is based on the notion that we are powerless and in big trouble (a cave bear around the corner, the herd migration failed, a storm destroyed our settlement, etc.) and there just must be some great power who will help. (Turns out the great power is our incredible brain, which under the pressure of all of life’s disasters figures out how we can survive) 5. BUT: whether it is simply an unexplainable aspect of our amazing brain, or perhaps an intentionally added feature, humans have the capacity (seldom used, mostly ignored) to experience what some call a higher plane, or you might call an enhanced consciousness. This has nothing to do with asking for things or avoiding consequences. This is about being fully human. 6. To be human on this higher plane or in this enhanced consciousness is to experience God, Whatever, Whomever, Wherever God is. 7. Strangely enough, living in this relationship to God (WWW?) is a little bit like Christmas morning, every day. I don’t know if this will change your view. You need to experience it to know. Meditation, listening prayer, intentional living will guide you there.


CMV: Aliens are just an excuse for weirdos to explain why nobody likes them The reason why God is so persistent is because it's the truth, and although not everyone may realize it, it's such a strong truth that it reverberates for years anytime it's uncovered. People have tried to explain reality since the beginning of awareness. We do it through math, or through science, or through philosophy, or through religion even. And when things like math were starting to account for everyday phenomenons, religion had already laid a base for understanding for centuries. Of course motherfuckers praying and paying their way into heaven isn't how it works. I put as much faith into sandwiches and weed as they do into psalms and prayers but you don't see me waiting for sandwich heaven. That's because that's not what religion is, that's just the church, the 7 headed monster, the ivory Rome, the sultan of swat, the king of crash...it's just another institution telling you how to act. Religion is a reconnecting with God, and once you start to take it seriously you realize God is real and you can in fact reconnect with him. And that truth is what makes people keep it alive. Of course God wouldn't last past the 1100s if all it entailed is what a common mass is today. If people only knew that God was real when they died, their knowledge would die with them. People realize God is real while they're alive, and that's some actual next level shit. If you're into that kind of stuff, that is. You could always take your chances and drift aimlessly like the rest of the population


I don’t think or believe Jesus resurrected or Moses parted water, etc, and I think often the scientific illiteracy of religion is limiting and that the relationships formed by and based on religions can be toxic because of how much rules are emphasized or how little room there can be for compromise or meeting halfway, but I do think religions has some good points. First off, although these days people don’t need religion to better their lives, nor can religion often actually do so, but that wasn’t always the case. In times where there wasn’t internet, free press, or publicly accessible written literature, as well as times when people couldn’t even read, religious beliefs and institutions helped keep a community/society together, giving individuals a common ground to socialize and live upon, even if it may have been oppressive or sometimes unfair to the common member. There were times when regularly attending church and voluntarily proclaiming yourself as a member of the belief system and institution provided more benefits than downsides. Don’t wanna spend too much time on this, but yeah that’s my general belief. No I don’t need it now, but there’s no need to just bash on it without acknowledging it’s history or when it was actually good, or some good things it has actually provided. There may be a time where religion as we know it doesn’t exist, but it’ll still be taught in history class. It has historical and deeply rooted cultural significance, if nothing else.


Probably a lot of people believe the magic part of religion, but the bible isn't a literal history book. It's stories that contain truth. Not material truth that can be measured by science, but truth about the relationship between humans and with the world and good and evil. Believing in Santa or God is very similar, but they do both exist in a way. There is no magical guy living on the North Pole with elves flying around the globe in a day, but we all know exactly what you're talking about when you say Santa, and children wouldn't get presents with Christmas if he didn't exist and it helps them think about what being good or bad means. There are also people who don't believe in God with that name, but they act like believers and believe in the same values and concepts that he represents. A religion just gives a long lasting tradition and community that offers you understanding so you don't need to figure it out all on your own. My point is that you're kind of right, but you're missing the point. People always believe in something and that's the reason for many things to exist. Some have a magical backstory, some have a backstory that we somehow find very natural, but it's not about the backstory, it's about what that story or belief inspires you to do in life and in the world. That's where what's real becomes a different question than whether it physically exists or not. I'll share this little scene from a movie that might help: https://youtu.be/DBnENlXt-H4


I vividly making this argument when I was in fifth grade on the bus to one of my friends. He now doesn't believe in God and I am now a devout Christian. I would say that the more that you understand about God and the world the more silly it is to believe that there isn't a God. My opinion if it's worth anything. One of my favorite passages: 16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son,\[i\] with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. One of my favorite chapters of psalms: Psalm 22. God revealed the messiah through King David. If you read psalm 22 and gather anything besides: this is talking about the Jesus's crucifixion, then I know there's no amount of knowledge that I have that can change your mind.


The concept of a spiritual reality where some sort of deity exists is not something that can be proved or disproved by scientific methods or even logical rules of deduction or reduction. Comparisons to Santa Claus or other superstitions involving physical things don't hold up. What it boils down to is if an individual prefers a version of reality where spirituality exists, or a version where it doesn't. Both can make sense in their own ways. One can't judge that the other's reasoning is not sensible without knowing everything about how they think and feel and have experienced. I don't buy the argument that religion is bad because people do bad stuff because of it. That's like saying love is bad, or different races are bad, or political borders are bad, or procreation is bad. The trope that religion is the cause of most wars is a historical fallacy (FYI the answer is Racism). Humans have been doing bad stuff for every imaginable reason for our entire existence. Now, I don't approve of religious teachings that are interpreted in ways that are harmful to others, but I'm not sure that it invalidates the good teachings, or a different interpretation. Of course there's room for debate about what "harmful to people" really means in some cases. I also don't approve of "we don't understand something we observe, therefore God did it". That's not how any of it works, nor is it how even many religious explain it within their own doctrines. There's no debate that there's lots of evil that results from bad religious beliefs, but IMO the battle is not with religion itself, but with bad things that emerge from bad religious beliefs along with bad things that emerge from every other kind of human belief system. It's a fantasy to think that abolishing religion will abolish all bad stuff. There's no zero sum equation that you can evaluate for religion's net contribution to humanity.


Sure, for most adults, however there is another element, particularly for animistic/polytheistic religions, which imbues nature with character traits. These systems sometimes help people to explain human relations and the connections between the ways we behave and larger ecosystems. The wish making is the most obvious part, to an outsider, the same as when people vote, a lot of the time they see that as making a wish list to their governments. Denying the existence of god (The Universe) to an animist is as ridiculous as denying the existence of the government. Choosing whether to pay attention to what facets of the government one might choose to is a separate issue. So yes, Abrahamic creationism counters the ideas presented in modern science. As far as we can tell, there are only four fundamental forces that control the universe and none of them respond to "wanting." But we do not know that to be fact. When there are thousands of gods and tens of mllions, if not billions of spirits, wish making doesn't always work. When the Gods are not intended to even be distinct physical entities, there is no way of disproving their existence, but when the stories help to explain reality on multiple levels and they make sense to you, you see that as evidence that there is a thread tying together the individual, to the ecological, the global and the celestial.


People are naturally scared of the unknown and especially death so they use religion to give their impending doom meaning and believe that their is an afterlife which can sound pretty farfetched. Fair enough. However, how come so many people have come to believe in this religion? Why not something else that was in place before Christianity? The answer is pretty straightforward, it did happen. While we don't know what parts are actually true there must be some areas in the Bible that actually happened or else millions of people wouldn't have believed in it or sacrificed their lives for it. Now the Bible isn't 100% true because the chances of it not being altered or mistranslated over hundreds of years are extremely unlikely but the undeniable fact remains that there is a very slim chance that God is real. It'd actually be super cool and interesting to find out what happened and what didn't but that information will probably never be known. Ima guess Noah's ark was greatly exaggerated though. Personally I'm a neutral party in this. I believe there's a chance there's a higher deity but I'm not gonna devote my life to something I question the legitimacy of. P.S. I kinda just assumed this was Christianity so correct me if I'm wrong.


I mean this is always a problem when you speak of things you can’t fully understand so that you’re dismissive about it. Take something like ΛCDM. It is a very well thought out idea in physics. But if you don’t know anything about you’ll think it is just an odd looking non-Latin letter followed by 3 other Latin alphabet letters. It also comes to things that actually do exist. If I know a brilliant philosopher in South Africa 🇿🇦 and we’ll call them George. And he deals with Moral Philosophy. Say you’re not well versed in morality, moral philosophy, have never been to SA and have definitely never met someone name George. Not having any proof that George does or does not exist does not mean that Moral Philosophy does not exist. It also doesn’t mean that SA doesn’t exist (even if you’ve never seen it or been there. Most people would accept SA exists even though they have not been there. It isn’t some thing that can be dismissed as some ethereal realm. But you accept it nonetheless. We accept plenty of things on faith. The idea that some ideas that are not concrete like ΛCDM that are readily accepted and other non concrete things like the Divine exist definitely do show a bias.


I live in the Bible belt. I come across Christians who are ALL hypocrites (as humans tend to be) but it's very pronounced within this religion. They try to justify their actions by thinking that "as long as I belief that Jesus is my lord and savior then I'll be in heaven". Just merely believing will grant you the golden ticket to heaven where you'll have your own mansion and golden roads while you worship God for eternity (someone that posses humility and humble beyond fathom). Sure I have my reservation with religion particularly this one because I live it, but it is harmful. One of many examples is it has brainwashed people to thinking that they shouldn't marry someone thats a non Christian. This does not support unity and goes against what it preaches. Christians who are brainwashed will say "oh but you have to be equally yoked" bullshit to justify it. But they don't realize what they believe in is hypocritical. I have witnessed, so called Christians, are racist. Think about slavery in the south. These are loving Christians. They will cherry pick to justify what's convenient to them. Welcome to the Bible belt.


You probably won’t see this, but here goes. Mind you I am an atheist. I see god in a similar light to Bigfoot. All the tales of Bigfoot you’ve heard were false. However, a primate from southern China named gigantapithecus was discovered and it fit Bigfoot nearly perfectly. But, the creature went extinct around the time our species of human first began. So did “Bigfoot” exist? Yes. Did the big foot as described by the tales exist, no. The sightings were false. Also, some details regarding this giant ape were false. I see god in a similar idea. I see religion as the false tales of what god is like. Just like how gigantapithecus existed, but the tales of Bigfoot and it’s actions were false. This means this god could vary from how religions deem him. Maybe he’s not omnipotent or omniscient, maybe he’s not immortal. But I still think a god of some sort is possible and worth considering, just not something to have faith in. I suppose like the multiverse, it’s not something you should believe, but it is something that could be possible, there could be other universes than our own. In the same sense, there could be god.


I’m an Agnostic Atheist, but I will try to give a rundown on my thoughts. “God” needs to be identified in this premise; Therefore, any contention so far in this thread is inherently wrong until “God” is defined. If you are talking about the Abrahamic God (or Spinoza God), then that’s where I’ll definitely have contentious with God possibly existing. If we exclude any type of religious context to God himself, then we would be better off trying to reach a conclusion. Let’s define God as an abstract, immaterial, and transcendental being existing outside the fundamentals of logic, Spacetime, and concepts. With that being said, due to God being transcendental to our natural perceptions, we cannot perceive such entity, thus God does not exist within our forecasts, but only remains to exist within our thoughts. Whether God actually exists within or outside our foundation of reality is outside of our framework of epistemology (knowledge). Because of this, it would be hard to prove a God does or doesn’t exist (hence why I remain an Agnostic Atheist, which is more flexible than a Gnostic position). So God can inherently exist via mind-dependency, but we don’t know if God exists mind-independently.


Santa was actually modeled after the image of Christ, which is why many devout Christians view it as a sin to believe in. They view as as something subversive that makes children view Santa as a Christ-like figure, and then when it's revealed he was made up they start thinking that Christ is also made up. My main issue with your argument is you're unintentionally reversing the order in which God and Santa are similar, which makes it seem like the comparison is adequate because of how flawlessly it fits. In reality, Santa (St. Nick), was only ever made into this God-like figure like 100 or so years ago, because it was profitable for people in media, entertainment and marketing. Yes, he was a myth before then, but it was very different, he was deified he was just this creature like big foot, in some cultures he was actually quite scary. He was made into this God-like image through media and marketing campaigns. It's not like it was ever an authentic legend that evolved over thousands of years and had thousands dedicate their lives to it. Instead it was completely contrived to perfectly fit the new, consumerist, white, nominally Christian society.


Well for one I would say that you didnt really put anything out there that you would be willing to change your mind on, but let me have at it anyway. God as an entity has more power than any human being in history has ever had whether he/she/it is real or not. Like Santa, humans change their behavior because of the mere thought of it’s existence. The difference is that you can’t really disprove God, but eventually we all do find out where the presents come from on Christmas so there is a varying expiration date for belief in Santa. Think of all of the world events caused by or involving religion: wars, empires rising and falling, people being subjugated and eventually rising up…. Very few people on Earth are untouched by the influence of a God or gods, real or not. So I would just say that it doesn’t matter if God is real, because the effects of the idea of God give it real power regardless. Santa has a similar type of behavior influence, but it’s not on the same level and it’s on a timer. The question of “does God exists” both doesn’t matter, and is the only thing that matters.


That all depends on the individuals interpretation of god. God could simply be the great WHY everything exists. As science would be the other w's. I always enjoyed the many different types of gods throughout history. Seeing the multitude of ideas I was inspired to create my own. Me and my god are extremely personal. I call it the Logic of Consciousness. No I don't want followers cause I don't want to lead! I could write you an essay in which at the conclusion you would logically believe that there may be a small possibility that there is some sort of entity that could consciously alter reality. Or that the entirety of what we know is nothing more than a toy in a supreme cosmic beings hand in which there are as many of us, billions and billions and their hobbies include making small universes in quantum field jewelry, would we not consider them gods? That's up to those who have free will and, sometimes unfortunately, their right to believe what can't be proven. Try reading some Hitchhikers Guide, really eye opening stuff! 42 is the answer to everything!


I disagree on the grounds of there being no clearly plausible alternative explanation for our existence. For Santa, I remember being 6-7 when I realised that it's physically possible that my parents could just be putting presents under the tree while I'm asleep. I then pretended to be asleep and heard them putting my stocking on the bed. Even as a complete adult, we have no plausible alternatives for our existence. We know about the big bang, but we don't have a single tangible idea for where those particles originated from. And even if we found out, we don't know where the next step originated from. In adulthood, there remains a continuous infinite gap where nobody has a plausible explanation. A few decades ago, the big bang would have been considered 'magic' in terms of how insane and abstract the physics are. God is an explanation used to fill that gap, and while we clearly don't have a grasp on the abstract physics of universal origins, godly powers or 'magic' is a reasonable gap filler. Adamant denial of god is probably more illogical


**My point is, god is just the next step in "belief/faith" with the same kind of core structure that Santa Claus is formed under.** That is just verifiably wrong. Santa Claus was invented to provide a bit of fun for children, while God was invented to explain the unknown. Santa is based on an actual man who gave out gifts that turned into legend, closer to a vampire based off Vlad the Impaler. The basic idea of God is based upon the unknown, namely how everything came into existence, including the singularity that it was all based on. One can imagine how the universe has grown, but to take the next step and say "It has always been here" is asking people to understand something that is beyond grasp. Since "the singularity has always been here" is so hard to grasp, for many people "God has always been here" is equally logical. So it seems the big difference is that Santa is a fun lie parents tell to children, while God is the result of trying to explain/understand infinite, which is pretty much impossible for the vast majority of people.


I think you have the wrong idea of religious people and their motives but I won’t get into that. Santa doesn’t offer a moral compass and help people overcome *real* life struggles. It’s fair to say Jesus is a fairytale, but Christianity helps millions of people and that is very real. Santa doesn’t have elf’s raising large sums of money for charities as churches do Santa doesn’t offer a place where communities can come together for a positive experience You can make the assumption that we don’t understand the universe in the present but we are trending in the direction of science vs Jesus. I’d agree? But that’s not your argument. It seems like your argument started as an edgy slight to religious people and evolved into your edits which are a bit like saying a dog and a person are the same because both are mammals. Sure, when you strip the components down enough they are the same but ignoring all of the nuances makes the claim ridiculous. In one of those infinite dimensions there probably is a Santa you cunt lol


For sake of argument I will define "God" as any higher power or being that transcends our understanding of what is normally possible in our universe. The primary difference I think you run into is that Santa can be very easily disproven, whereas "God" cannot. We are told as children that Santa and his elves make toys for all the children in the world and distribute them in a single night using a magic sleigh and flying reindeer. Once we get older, we start to see the inconsistencies in this belief (such as the fact that a conservative estimate would have Santa spend only a few milliseconds at each house, and would have to travel at several hundred times the speed of sound in order to accomplish this task) and eventually we are finally told that our parents are the ones giving us the presents. In the case of God however, there are no "parents" for the analogy. There is no one who can finally come clean to you about the reality of God because no one really knows, and you really can't know one way or the other.


Atheist here. The difference between God and Santa Claus comes in the regularity of their impact on the person's life. Santa is once a year, God is (typically for Christians) once a week. Having it be once a week means that you develop communities outside your typical family and have a relatively trusted priest to talk about things which are not going well. That is actually really healthy. Now, I'm an atheist, I hate the fact that the communities need to be associated with theology and belief. I despise those priests that would molest children and I blame the church for defending those priests. I wish we had some kind of replacement. But there is no replacement that has been so widely adopted. Also kids believe in both so I don't think there is a progression system. Although, if you were to show me someone who actually believes the words of the bible as literally true, then I would be forced to agree with you for that individual. Taking the bible (or other holy book) and abstracting is really important imo.


I think the fundamental difference is the framing of religion vs Santa. For Santa Claus, those who perpetuate his story know he's either fake or just a long-dead normal person. For the religions of the world, this is not the case. There is no grand secret that only church leaders know that God is not real. That's the major difference. So, to be clear on my point: those who are over the general believers of Santa Claus (adults over children) know it is fake and there is no assumption that their story is real among the adults. These adults take actions to simulate his reality, like putting presents under the tree under the guise of Santa being real. Those who are over the general believers of organized religion (clergy over non-clergy) believe it to be real and there is to assumption that their story is real among he clergy. The clergy does not take action to simulate the reality of God, since not only do they believe what they are saying is true, but also that the existence of an afterlife is improvable.


The universe is huge, mysterious and overwhelming. Religion has always served as a bulwark against that terrifying reality. It is generally a good idea to recognize that religion is less about “what we believe” and more about “how we live our lives.” Religion has played a leading role in directing the course of history. Christianity in particular was sociologically pivotal in the development of the West in the sense that it provided the forms of thought without which those institutions defining the West would likely never have come to fruition. Those institutions include rule of law, democracy, capitalism, science, education, and the family. It’s always fashionable to discuss religion as some sort of fairy tale nonsense that appeals to the weak-minded and the intellectually challenged. But at its most fundamental level it is little more than a humble acknowledgment that we all, on occasion, have a need for wisdom, guidance and courage that is not readily available from our fellow humans.


I would say that it’s a bit of a false equivalency since the question of is there a God/gods has been a fundamental question and belief in virtually every human society since the dawn of mankind. Nearly every aspect of our societies have been touched by it, whether it be religion, philosophy, science, war, music, literature, art, etc… Whether it’s true or not has no bearing on the fact that religion is a fundamental aspect of human evolution and culture. Of course a lot of the question of how logical or illogical arguments for religion are also depends on how specific and involved are God’s/the gods interaction with mankind. I.e a creator entity or a micromanaging/intervening deity. And on the other hand you have a specific bearded fat dude that rides around in a sleigh based on a single culture’s folktale. Now none of that gives proof of God’s existence, merely that the comparison with a Greek bishop that got made a saint and then had folk stories based around him in the 4th century


Some people have actually found God or have very good reason to believe God is real, but people who make statements like you generally refuse to look for God. It's like being out on a boat and someone says "there is alien like creatures under the water" and the other person say "No there isn't I can't see them so they don't exist" and the other person says "Why don't you go under the water and see for yourself?" and the other person says "No I don't believe you so I'm not going to look". According to string theory, one of the leading physics model of the last half century, the universe operates with 10 dimensions. We can only perceive 3 of them. There are ways to shift your consciousness to be able to perceive these other dimensions through psychedelics, sensory deprivation or meditation. This will allow you to see the "fish under the water" and at that point the existence of God starts to make sense but you will never know if you aren't willing to look with intention of finding God.


Codify cultural norms via storytelling is how our brains work. Values originally where transmitted as oral traditions. What mattered where the lessons, values and cultural norms that the stories left us with. Modern day Santa Clause and Christmas are remanence of traditions that reminded certain countries and people groups that winter is difficult but the celebration of the winter solstice is followed by spring and rejuvenation. The stories of amazement are meant to wake up the wonder of life. I don’t condone living in fantasy but poo pooping on someone because they tell themselves a different story to get through life feels a little juvenile. It may help to ask “why would someone value this perspective” rather than paint whole people groups with broad brushstrokes that don’t come near to why they think, act or believe. I haven’t figured out how to deal with my existential angst but I feel like love, compassion and understanding can go a long way. Tony Smith Jr, I wish you the best.


Uno Reverse Card: Santa is actually just God for children. Saint Nicholas was a real christian person who became immortalized in myth as Sinterklaas by the Dutch for his secret gift-giving. Since the christian movement wanted to teach their kids about christian God, they needed a christian figure which kids could understand to familiarize them with it, and since Saint Nick was a christian man who handed out presents, he made a perfect stand-in which could help make the transition much easier. Logics and illogics of the myth itself aside, this was a pretty logical move in order teach christianity (even though it kinda backfired amongst disillusioned teenagers when they found out Santa isn’t the mythical figure they’d been told about). It’s the same as Bill Nye the Science guy saying “when you raise a piece of food over your mouth gravity pulls it down and you get to eat it” except your parents hide food under your bed for some reason and tell you Bill Nye left it there.


Do you really think God is just some invisible “being” up in the sky? Because if you do, you’re mistaken. God is “eternal goodness” itself. If you believe in anything being good, that means that you inherently have some concept of an objective goodness that all “good” things point towards. There is a spiritual reality and it’s not what even most Christians think it is. It’s not just this invisible place in the sky or in another dimension or some shit… The best way to describe it (as something that we can all understand it) is an invisible yet objective reality. The number 0 is real. But if you think about it, there’s no such thing as absolute 0 in observable material reality. Even most people’s conception of nothing as an infinite, dark void is *something*. A scientific theory in and of itself is not “material reality” but it’s made manifest by recurring, testable, and predictable phenomena. Although the concept/theory itself is immaterial, is nonetheless objective reality.


Have you ever really thought why some people really believe in God. Not everyone looked up in the sky and said "yup there is a God" some people believe in God because the Bible which was written so long ago predicted things today. Others believed that life is too complex to be created by an explosion in the middle of nowhere and that the ever expanding universe that indicates a beginning point was created by something bigger than them. Some religions books are historically accurate and have historians believe some events happened but without the "magic". So no offense but you are definitely not the first person to say this and definitely not the last. People have thought long and hard about points like yours for centuries but these reasons that seem pretty logical to me are what keeps them believing. This comment is not to convert you in any way I respect you don't believe in God but you saying people believe in God because they don't know things seems inaccurate.


Here's my thing, I personally believe in God, and I do understand that atheists don't believe in God. However I have noticed from quite a lot of atheists that say they don't believe in God they do happen to talk about him an awful lot. I think that a lot of people choose to not believe in God not always because they believe that is the truth of it all but due to the fact of uncertainty and the difficulty of living choosing to live a life where their choices are defined by a belief in God. Since if someone didn't believe in God, they'd just leave it be that's how they view it they wouldn't go preaching about it, vs atheism that goes so far to the extra mile to preach the idea that God is not real when if that were true it really wouldn't matter. At the end of the day I think there is a bit of a hypocrisy in the atheism community since their community shares a lot of the flaws that they criticize religious communities for. But either way that's my two cents.


No it's not. Everybody believes in irrational things. Human beings are not rational at hart. Our brains are a pattern matching engine. Superstition is a core evolutive trait that leads us to deduction and helps use give meaning to the world around us. God means nothing, it means a million things to a million people. I don't believe in it. But if even Dawkins describes himself as 99% atheist there is a reason. He can disprove that religious arguments for his existence are bullshit. He can't prove or disprove his existence. We love to believe that we are beyond Religion, God and superstition. Yet everyday the news and facebook proves us that we are not. Conspiracy theories, antivax people, 5G ... The way you see and describe the world. As if you were an enlighted being beyond such things is a huge mistake. You want to believe you are beyond irrationality. Hence you can't see your own irrationalities. That's a huge blindspot.




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Primary difference that I think everyone can agree on: Santa Cause is spread primarily by adults who don't believe in his existence. The people telling their children about Santa Clause all know that they're telling their children a lie. God, on the other hand, is different. While there's of course plenty of charlatans who spread their religion knowing that it's false for their own selfish purposes, I think the vast majority of religious leaders sincerely believe that when they're telling people about God, they're telling them the truth, without any deception. That's a pretty big difference. Parents are generally looking forward to the day their children realize Santa Clause is a myth, since that indicates the child's critical thinking. By contrast, a person coming to the conclusion that God doesn't exist will face varying degrees of pushback from every cog in the machine that got them to believe in him in the first place.


Santa Claus is based on a saint, which is someone who lived such a holy life that there were multiple miracles attributed to his name. This means such a person must be in heaven or direct communication with God. Santa Claus is the “spirit” of Christmas. It is easy to see the meaning of the season through the abundant “good” selfless acts humanity does for each other in the name of St. Nicholas. In parallel, The Holy Spirit of God is active and moving through our world, transforming the hearts and minds of people, and saving us sinners. In the same way that we are able to comprehend the spirit of Christmas through the actions of people in that season, we are also able to see and encounter the spirit of God in the joy of humanity and the imperfect perfection of Gods plan. I agree that they are similar, in that they prove the existence of a higher power. Both St Nicholas and God are very real and working in our world everyday.


I would actually go the full measure and say that it IS bad that others use religion in their lives. Faith is just the absence of critical thinking. It's why a terrorist can't critically think about a terrorist act's real impacts. It's why a father makes his son go to gay conversion therapy and then the son kills himself. It's why my sweet grandmother feared going to hell so badly that she couldn't keep the torturous thoughts out of her head. They all have faith in their religions and their religions promote archaic ideas, most of which don't apply today whatsoever. If god isn't a creation of man why are his stories so outdated? Wouldn't an all knowing being have the foresight to not need stoning of gays in his books? Wouldn't "covet they neighbors goods" be a little outdated today? That's like a feudalistic commandment. Nothing lines up, it's poison, and it warps people brains into thinking things without thinking. Everyone.