on santa claus, jesus & thangs

I, like many children who are raised in the United States, grew up with parents who taught me that every December, a rotund, hirsute white guy in a red jumpsuit was going to come by our house and give me gifts for being a good little Me all year. This jolly white guy not only wore some of the hippest threads since the 70s, he also pimped around the globe in a sleigh pulled by flying deer! Dag! Santa Claus was the man back in the day! Who can forget the unbearable anticipation of Christmas eve, the wishes that the night would go by as fast as it could so you could tear into the G.I. Joe (with kung-fu grip) and the BMX bike you couldn’t wait to bust your ass on?

I guess it was fun while the fantasy lasted, but like all children, I began to question the possibility that Santa couldn’t really deliver toys to every Christian child in the world in one night; it just didn’t add up anymore. Learning that my parents were actually tricking me into believing in this guy (and fearing him, literally praying to God that I would make fall asleep before I was caught awake) made me seriously begin to question what other things I was told in life that just didn’t add up.

Then came the church and the bible. Church for me was one of those things you did because you had to, plain and simple. I remember watching Charlton Heston in Cecil B. DeMille’s “Ten Commandments” coming ’round the mountain every Easter bearing two stone tablets etched with the Commandments of God (God actually wrote them with a fiery stylus, according to the movie) to give to the lost people he led from the evil, godless and spiteful Pharoah. I watched a burning bush speaking, water turned to blood, wooden staves transform into slithering serpents, whole bodies of water parting, so on and so on. Now, the part of my brain that wanted to still believe this all was possible tried to justify it. “Maybe humans were so new back in those days, God had to interfere personally, all the time, to help them out.” Then I wondered why God had stopped doing such things when it was obvious even at that age that we needed some divine intervention in this cruel world…

My growing interest in science and nature didn’t help my disbelief at all during this time. I fancied picking up bugs and looking at them up close, mixing things from the medicine cabinet I probably shouldn’t have been mixing, and looking at things under the little plastic microscope my parents (oops, Santa!) gave us one Christmas. I knew pretty damn well back then that a male and female of every living organism on earth could not fit into an Ark to ride out the big tsunami. Just ain’t gonna happen. I couldn’t believe that a lot of the grown-ups around actually believed in this stuff, but it was clear to me that they did. From reading Greek and Roman mythology in school (where the hell were the Asian and African mythologies in these textbooks?), it was clear to me back then that there were people who always believed fantastical beings were intimately involved in shaping our lives. There never seemed to be a dime’s worth of difference between Zeus and Jehovah to me.

Somewhere along the way, people agreed to forget the fact that the stories in the bible were indeed fantastical, improbable and impossible. They lost sight of the fact that these stories, like Aesop’s fables, weren’t supposed to be logical and real, they were supposed to teach a lesson, allegories on life and how to live it right. The bible became literal, with people believing that in the center of the earth lived countless cursed souls boiling in hot magma (true, if you got to the center of the earth) with a horned overseer prodding them to work harder at whatever their evil work happens to be. Sad, but true. I’ve grown comfortable with the fact that I’m an atheist at this point in my life, and I’ll gladly explain this to anyone should they ask me about going to church or some other religious setting. Religion is a personal thing, and different things work for different people.

I can’t tell anyone else what to pray to or not to pray to, just like I can’t tell someone what types of food to put in their own bodies. But militant, in-your-face Christians beware: I will gladly rip into your beliefs if you try to force them on me (since most of them assume you haven’t carefully and meticulously thought out your decisions on how you want to live your life). I have little patience for proselytizers of any sort, and I’ve got a pocket full of bombast for those who want to try it!
(Wait a second, lemme turn down the TV. Some Witnesses of Jehovah are approaching my door…)

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~ by free71 on January 31, 2007.

One Response to “on santa claus, jesus & thangs”

  1. I got a lion in my head and it’s from all the stuff that I’ve read! (Prince rip-off). I told my mom that I understand how Christianity has immunized itself from critique. The Bible actually warns Christians about nonbelievers and to not give in to their deceptions. Deceptions? Evolution is deception and not golden streets and pearly gates? My mom is not stupid but she thinks is she listens to reason that she will go to hell or at least jeopardize her eternal salvation. These beliefs are so ingrained from childhood that it would take an equal amount of de-brainwashing to undo them. In other words it ain’t gonna happen. We need to continue to focus on religious people that embrace reason and have a grip on reality. Login doesn’t even count with the hardcore folks. Like I told mom that she relied on science in every aspect of her life: electricity to run appliances, gas to run the complex cars, remote controls to work the tv/vcr/dvd player, etc. So why rely on science in every part of your life except religion? Logic does not appeal to these people. They are lost. Honestly, I don’t want my mother to die or die painfully but when this ultra-religious generation is mistly gone in about 20-30 years we may actually see some real progress on getting the quiet atheists to expose themselves and come out of their anti-religious closets. There is no stigma in the public arena worse than being a nonbeliever. Not even being gay these days will keep people from getting elected but mention you are an atheist or an agnostic like Michelle Bachelet in Chile and you would be immediately cast out from all things relevant and the quality of your livelihood would be severely diminished.

    I, for one, don’t bring it up either but I’m going to mention it to people when they tell me to “Have a blessed day”. I know it sounds trite but that person is assuming that you are a Christian when they say that, at least in this country. I don’t think nonbelievers should necessarily peeve Christians on purpose but if that is the result of logic then they just have to take it. The only reason they get mad is because they know we’re right but they cannot stand not having an explanation of any afterlife right here in the present. I look forward to death and seeing what lies beyond. I don’t have a death wish but it’s clear that this world is not going to change much for the better before we die. Human change takes a long time because beliefs have to dissipate and be reborn over centuries and millennia, hopefully for the better. That’s why I just want to have fun until the day I die, and after too if possible.

    I hate typing in this little box because I can’t tell how big the paragraphs are going to be but you get my point. Peace my damie!!!!

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