RE: Santa Claws - was RE: virus: Re: inconsistent worldviews

Sodom (
Mon, 22 Feb 1999 09:36:26 -0500

This thread started when I attacked (very gently :-) ) the idea of the paedophile's delight, Santa Claws, the arbitrary awarding of presents by a "thing" that nobody need bother to thank, the fake world-view that it promotes, and the "gimme" mentality it seems to foster. It seems to have drawn a fair amount of fire. Whether because I am attacking an Ikon, or because of a fundamental disagreement with my contentions, is still uncertain.

I hope I don't appear to be too seriously attacking the Santa thing - and yes, it is because Santa is an Icon - although I don't have trouble with the Easter Bunny either!

Of course it is a myth held dear by millions. We mostly grow up to hold the religion (or non-religion) of our parents :-) That still doesn't mean it is anywhere near valid. No matter how many support it. I strongly encourage atheist parents (all parents actually) any and everywhere, to declare parties on little or any or even no excuse - and the fact that the neighbors are pigging out on xmas candy is a perfectly adequate reason for holding your own saturnalia or equivalent.

I agree, and intend on folling this advise as posted in my earlier post.

I was simply trying to argue against the Santa "clause" and the mind set that goes with it. Not against imagination or against fun. On the other hand, the forced bon homie and strained joviality of the xmas season most western families have experienced is only the tip of the ice-berg. I used to volunteer for EMR duty during xmas (UK and South Africa), so that the Christian staff could have time with their families. And the rumor is true. More suicides, more family violence, more gang violence, more random violence, more drunken driving related fatalities and serious traffic injuries than at any other time of the year.

I agree that this stuff happens a lot olso - but non of it has yet happened to me or anyone I know, so the image is untainted in my personal experience.


Ummm. As Prof Tim noted, the causes for "nicer" are difficult to discern and it is highly unlikely that xmas alone is to blame - except perhaps, in so far as it is a symptom of a strange if not sick society. On the other hand, it is surprising how many otherwise well-informed people accept CNN's very event-centric view of the world. Despite economic chaos in the CIS, tribal troubles in Africa and occasional flare-ups in parts of the Middle East, life in all these places is at least as "good" for most people, as it is in most of the USA. The areas I was thinking of would qualify as upper-income Boston, as against the poorer areas in Washington that I think you visualized. And even in Washington, "crime capital" of the USA, most people live their lives out without really being much affected by the crime levels, except possibly as a background stress. For each Lebanon there is a Bahrain, for each Serbia-Croatia there is a Georgia, and for each Rwanda there is a Botswana. In the places I was thinking of, children don't carry the burden of having "to work to provide for their family", education standards are higher and the children do better in SAT batteries than US kids, and at least in the CIS they are not generally burdened by religion of any sort. If the Soviet Union left nothing else behind it, it did leave a legacy indicating that it is possible to live well without god-myths and similar superstitions. My significant other is a Georgian brought up in Russia and I have many academic friends from the CIS. None have any religious beliefs at all, and their children are a delight in comparison to the children of most of my American colleagues.

Man, you definitely live in the "Atheists heaven". Unfortunately, aside from the Atheists here, I know less than a dozen. 60% or 70% of the people I know and love are definitely Xtian/Catholic and the rest are Jewish. My out of country friends are almost all Catholic. The two emigrated Russians I know are Jewish. I was under the impression that these places (Russia and the

Baltics) were struggling with religion more than we are right now. That many
who had to worship in private are now free to show their religion.
Admittedly I have no where near the "worldly" experience you have.

As another thought, my parents and millions of other Europeans their age grew up during a "real" war, where people were shot, their neighborhoods bombed and friends "disappeared" and they seem to have avoided much of the harm that people imagine that children growing up and exposed to violence will automatically suffer. And both of my parents remember having tons of fun. My father's family fled on foot and bicycle from occupied Europe between 1939 and 1941, always one step behind the Axiz tide, finally escaping through Vichy France into Spain. Always at the risk of being caught in one of the civilian round-ups or being stopped at a checkpoint because the younger children spoke German instead of the local language. Sometimes there was no food, other times no shelter. Sometimes they hid in ditches while the roads were strafed. Yet he remembers this as a part of the happiest time of his life (though he still gets tense at the sound of large rotary aircraft engines). Did he understand real death? My mother, who lived in Holland as a child, where many of her friends starved or froze to death, during the winter after WW II ended, also cannot have missed developing an understanding of "real death". While living in "civilized" countries that you almost certainly view as peaceful and well ordered. I think that any harm she took was transitory.

> what you are describing is a childs hell.

I must disagree. Please explain how you arrived at this conclusion?

It was based upon the war torn issue. If you do not wish to include places where there is high poverty (like you said "for every Rawanda, there is a Batswana")child labor, stuff like that. If you want to talk about the more affluent places about the globe, then I can understand.

Thanks for the excellent World view, As I said, My children will not grow up with Santa - They will probably personalize Mother Nature, til they realize otherwise, which is fine. I hope to Foster their love of imagination and things unexplained through art, music and writing. Hopefully they will develop to be all things better than I.

Bill Roh