James Bachman, former pastor of Roanoke Baptist Church in nearby Roanoke, Indiana and author of the Parson to Person column in the West Bend News, took to his column (no link available) to discourage parents from allowing their children to believe in Santa Claus. According to Bachman, allowing children to believe in Santa Claus, only to find out later that Santa isn’t real — say it ain’t so, Moe! — might lead children to question whether what they have been told about Jesus is true.
Here’s what NO-FUN-da-mentalist Bachman had to say:
My little daughter hears her friend excitedly talk about Santa Claus. Should I tell her he doesn’t exist or just wait and let her find out?
Santa does exist as a mythical, pretend character. Your daughter needs to understand the truth from her parents now. Otherwise, when she discovers the truth, she may wonder if you have been truthful about other things, including Jesus.
Children and youth especially are attracted to supernatural characters who know all things, are immortal and can give them what they want.
Why not rather tell her of the real person of Jesus Christ, who has all power — “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Matthew 28:18) He created all things — “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” (Colossians 1:16) He understands even our feelings — “For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) He promises to help with all our needs — “Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) And he showed us the greatest love possible — “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Compared to the real Christ of Christmas, the pretend Santa is a complete fraud. Christ wants to be to us every day much more than children want Santa to be at Christmas.
Why not allow children to enjoy the Christmas season, including believing the Santa myth? No child has ever been harmed by believing in Santa, a claim that cannot be made for the Jesus myth. Bachman’s anti-Santa column is a reminder of the fact that Christian Fundamentalists take the FUN out of everything. Several years ago, I attended my granddaughter’s high school basketball game. I wore a white shirt, red suspenders, a red jacket, and a Santa hat. I play the part because I enjoy doing so. I know I am a dead ringer for the REAL Santa — yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus — with my ruddy complexion, portly build, and full white beard. Before and during the game, I had numerous adults, teenagers, and children come up to me and address me as Santa. I had a lot of fun, as did those around me. And yes, a handful of children wondered if I was the real Santa. I replied, maybe.
Pastor Scrooge can’t bear to hear of children believing in Santa. He would rather children be taught about Jesus and his blood cult. No candy canes or presents, dear children. You must learn the truth; that you are a vile, wretched, sinful urchin who is headed for eternal torture in the Lake of Fire unless you tell Jesus you are really, really, really sorry for disobeying mommy and daddy and ask him to come into your heart and save you from the behaviors Pastor Bachman says are sins.
Children believing Santa is real is harmless fun. It’s too bad people like Bachman want to ruin Christmas for everyone. Bah! Humbug! I say to Santa-hater Bachman. May his stocking be filled with coal.
Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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Alas, I have never heard any atheist say that discovering Santa was a myth disabused them of the reality of the Jesus cult. If so, I would be all for selling Santa really hard. But the truth is, most children take the discovery in stride, and even pride themselves on figuring it out.
And yet…there are a few children who take the discovery very hard. Parents need to be sensitive to their children’s reactions, accept that what Susie took in stride might be a difficult reality for Jimmy, and deal with it accordingly.
Well, let me introduce myself : atheist, and so being because of Santa Claus ^^
I was born in France, but my parents moved to the Netherlands when I was 2. There, I was introduced to the different-yet-similar Saint Nicholas, whose feast happened on the 5th of november. But at my home, we also enjoyed Christmas ! Double fun ! I remember that around 6, I became convinced, somehow, that both men couldn’t possibly exist because they were too samey : old man in red with beard, coming into people’s homes to deliver presents to worthy kids ?
I know for certain that this planted seeds of questionning. I’ve always been curious about everything around me. It built up a strange personality, quite grounded in reality, valueing scientific method and approach to life, but also deeply – oftentimes darkly – cynical about everything.
I’ve been a “true” atheist since I’ve been 15, but I know that long before that, Jesus had been put on trial the same way those Santas had been. It just took me some time to realise it – and scientifically determine it. I had the chance of having parents that never “pushed” me into religion. I had to come when I was younger, but in my teen years, I simply dropped it all.
Today, I know it scares the hell (haha) out of them because of my eternal soul, but that’s their problem.
I still know a lot of people who are fundamentalists and many who were raised fundamentalist but are now progressive Christians, and I don’t know a single instance of one likening the Santa myth to the Jesus myth. Our society sells pretty hard that Santa is a myth fir children, one that children are supposed to outgrow. It’s almost a rite of passage. The Jesus myth is sold as the God’s honest truth, not as a myth. Frankly, and I am being a bit of a her here, most people don’t use their critical thinking skills enough to make the connection between the 2 Christmas myths. People who were formerly Christian but now are agnostics/atheists come to their conclusion through much different pathways than Santa.
My husband and I didn’t want to outright lie about Santa so we said “the guy you call Santa”. Eventually our daughter (the older ine) figured out that Dad and Mom were Santa. She asked us (and we have a rule to always be forthright when asked a question) and we confirmed but asked her not to tell her younger brother. She liked playing along. Our son, however, played along for a couple of years after he figured things out. He wanted to make sure we wouldon’t still but presents if no one in the house believed in Santa.
Santa makes Christmas magical. I have such great memories of Christmas mornings finding those surprises under the tree and in my stocking. I’ll always believe. Don’t forget to watch Miracle on 34th Street.
Just about everything under the sun can be used to harm children, even Santa. In our fundy religious community, it was well-known that if you were not good, obeying every command and loving Jesus, you could end up with a bag of coal instead of a treat on Christmas morning. Christians (and other child abusers) enjoy making children wince and suffer with the Santa promise of retribution for bad children. Good, liberal believers don’t mention the coal, do they?
I always enjoyed doing the whole Santa thing with my kids, and certainly never thought it would harm their future spiritual beliefs. 🙂 For our family, it was this great magical fun.
But, I do have a young grandson who is very sensitive, creative, and imaginative. When he found out that Santa was not real, the little guy just cried his eyes out. For him, Christmas was pretty much ruined and over for the year.
His parents are seriously considering not acting as if Santa is real with his younger brother, but treating this more like a fun kind of pretend sort of game.
Then I have another grand daughter, I kid you not, who was totally creeped out by the idea of a man coming into the house down the chimney in the middle of the night. When she saw Santa and the elves in the mall, she wanted absolutely nothing to do with these characters.. let alone to sit on the guy’s lap.
To top it all off, one of my youngest grandsons, all of five years old, who I had hoped to have a few years of Santa fun, seriously informed his father that Santa is simply not real. His Dad, very disappointed actually took to impersonating the jolly guy over the phone. The child’s sister who is even younger, informed her brother, “that’s just Daddy.”
I guess every child is different. 🙂
Classic IFB. I remember when I was young this always being an issue around Christmas every year & our beloved “pastor” even saying from the pulpit that Santa wasn’t real, much to the chagrin of many parents in the pews.
My mother was a batshit crazy “religious frenetic”, (as Archie Bunker would say, lol), but I’m grateful that she never agreed with this & I’m happy to say I never did either, hence my children having normal childhoods in this regard, at least
My parents did do this precisely because they were afraid if they lied about it, we might stop believing in God. I still stopped believing in God, despite their efforts.
Santa’s not ….. real?
We never pretended to our kids that Santa was real, on the theory of “If you lie about that, you’ll lie about other stuff, too.” We told them about St. Nicholas of Myra, who gave dowries to poor girls so they could be married, and who helped other poor people–so we give presents to children, and to each other, in his memory. We also asked them not to tell other kids, whose parents should be the ones to tell them Santa wasn’t real–at least, not any more.
It’s one of those things where it’s up to the parents to judge how their child will handle the bursting of the bubble. Christmas is such a magical time for kids, and it’s the one time we can truly believe in magic, so why not let them have that?