Comments about ‘Tiffany Gee Lewis: Santa Claus: Why we perpetuate a myth’

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Published: Wednesday, Dec. 19 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

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Church member
North Salt Lake, UT

I think you said it well when you called your belief in your church "magic". I wish more people were honest in their belief in magic and the supernatural. When I talk to my kids about why we don't believe in religion I tell them "because we are too smart to believe in magic."

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

The urge to comment on the story – because the author seems to not have even a twinge of irony in telling it – is almost overwhelming. But the fact is it is a very sweet sentiment that most parents can relate. No doubt lots of other folks throughout history – from Democritus to Spinoza to Bertrand Russell to Carl Sagan to most modern scientists – can relate to her often gut wrenching task of trying to wean children off of consoling myths.


Help me out here. Earlier this year your second son was 8, yet you say that a decade ago you made a construction paper chimney for your two toddlers. A decade ago your second son wouldn't have been born yet. Was it not a decade ago but rather only 6 years ago, or did you only have one child at the time?

I was lucky, I never stopped believing in Santa Claus. Others can say when they stopped. Since I have no memory of stopping, I can only conclude that I still believe. When my now grown kids asked me about Santa Claus, I could truly say that there was never a point I stopped believing. It is easy to believe the key parts of the myth because there really is a loving man that puts out presents for everyone in our home at midnight on Christmas Eve. There was a man that did that when I was a child too. I sincerely hope that there is a man that puts out presents for my grandchildren and their grandchildren. I just hope that there don't get to be so many Grinches that it raises doubts in their minds.

Sequim, WA

Whaaaat? There's no Santa???? I have believed for 58 years and now this. I think someone should get their facts straight. Santa comes to my house every year even when I am alone. He only disappears when you stop believing. I make sure other families have Santa, too. Santa is a wonderful image that helps us to duplicate the love of the MAGI for the Christ child. As long as there are those of us who believe in Christ there will be a Santa.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Church member,

First, an odd moniker for someone who believes as you do.

Second, the concept that you (or any one) is too smart for religion is interesting. Was Christ then just a Jew taken with his own interpretations of the scriptures while the truly smart were the Romans and Herodians?

Are there none in the First Presidency, Council of 12, or Seventy that could be considered "smart"?

What of the Dalai Lama or Pope? Are they also not very smart folks deluded into religious belief?

What about Max Planck or Issac Newton? Closer to home, what about Henry Eyring?

African Humanitarian

It was a dilemma we faced when considering how to treat Santa Claus with our kids. We decided to keep a foot in both camps. We didn't ever give gifts from Santa, but we didn't tell them there was no Santa until they were older. In retrospect, I'm not sure that was right. We believe Santa is make-believe, but God is real. But can children trust adults who lie to them about Santa being real? Is there a tendency for children who are disappointed to find out about Santa to also think the parents might have not been right/truthful about God? Anecdotally, we have friends whose children have chosen to leave the Church because they couldn't/didn't believe their parents about God. I have atheist friends who equate God with Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny. If we're not careful, so might our children.

Altamont, UT

Bravo, Twin Lights...I say...BRAVO!

Church Member: You believe what you want, and let me KNOW what I know!

Murtoa Australia, Victoria

Every time in my growing up years that the question of Santa Claus came up my mother would say "as long as you believe in Santa there will be one, when you stop believing he will be gone." I am now 70 years old and my Mother will soon be 90, we both still belive in Santa Claus. As my child grew up and now my grand children growing up find out on their own weather Santa is real or not I hear my mother's words repeated...as long as you believe there will be.
Santa has never been an interference in our true belief of the Christ child and our celeration of our love for him at Christmas time. Merry Christmas to all.

Mattoon, IL

I don't recall that I ever had a real "belief" in Santa Claus as the man riding around in a sleigh drawn by flying reindeer and all that. I really don't think my parents ever intended for me to believe that. I certainly know that I never intended to teach any such thing to my own children.

But I am almost 83 years old, so who can say what I may have once believed?

I do think that if parents tell children well intentioned lies, that they should not be surprised when they question the truth of things that science doubts.

Buffalo, WY

Psst... Im 67 years old and I believe in Santa...I always have and always will.....Like the author I believe in Magic and Miracles.... :)

Springville, UT

As far as I can tell every ward or branch in the Church has an Activities Committee. Every year that committee chooses a member of the ward/branch to emcee the ward/branch Christmas Party. Is it that unreasonable to assume that God may Himself choose a sort of emcee for the Christmas season? Someone to sort of be in charge of Christmas? That's Santa Claus for me. When I tell people there's a Santa Claus, that's the person I'm thinking of. I have believed in Santa Claus for a very long time, and I don't intend to ever stop.

terra nova
Park City, UT

When my kids asked if there was a Santa, I told them, with a smile. "No. Not really. But some people like to pretend there is, so let's not spoil it for them."

Church member
North Salt Lake, UT

Twin Lights:

You are making my argument for me. Yes there are smart men in hundreds of religions across the world. But they all "know" that they belong to the true church. They all "know" that they are the ones who are right. You and I know that they all can't be right because they all contradict each other. So most of these "smart" men you mentioned are wrong because there can't be one hundred true churches.

I decided that the best way to find truth is through reason, logic, and thinking. Feelings and emotions are not always accurate.

On the other hand
Riverdale, MD

I don't think we need to lie to our children in order to foster or perpetuate childlike wonder. They come by that naturally. When we go to great lengths to perpetuate a myth, we may mean well, but we're not doing our children any favors. I try to help my kids understand that Santa is part of our culture and that people love the idea of Santa, but that in real life there is no such person (despite what they might hear to the contrary). As my children come to realize that in spite of what society might have them believe, Santa really isn't real, they appreciate that Mom and Dad have been forthright with them.

War dog
Taylorsville, UT

I once had a professor in college that wrote an article saying that it was harmful to kids to believe in Santa. I thought all this person has done is trade in his childhood fantasies fo adult ones. He want's to write an article that will be nationally recognized, or someone else dreams of being a supermodel or great nfl quarterback or winning the lottery. Adult fantasy is far worse than childhood ones. We grow out of childhood, not always a good thing. I would love to wake up with my childhood peace of mind instead of my adult reality. I wish all children had a good childhood, filled with fantasies before the rude awakening

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Church member
North Salt Lake, UT
Church Member:

Other than some of the religious leaders mentioned, I do not think they all believe they belong to the true religion, just that God exists and the relationship to him via religion is important to them.

As to finding truth via reason, logic, and thinking, I have no objection at all.

As to feelings not always being accurate. True. But there are many times I wished I had listened to my feelings over my logic.

To me, we need both. Over reliance on one or the other produces sub par results.

But back to your statement. Irrespective of which is the true religion, you state that you were too smart to believe in religion. Would you concede that intelligence is not a barrier to religious belief?

Church member
North Salt Lake, UT

Twin Lights:

I completely agree that intelligence is not a barrier to religious belief.

I don't think I ever said it was, and I am sorry if I did.

I disagree about other people thinking they belong to the true church. Everyone I talk to who belongs to a religion seems to think they belong to the one and only true church. When I ask them how they know, they all tell me because of the spirit, burning in the chest, visions, dreams, etc.....

They can't all be right (because they all belong to different churches) so maybe they are not using an accurate method to find truth.

Feelings and emotions are not always accurate.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Church Member:

No, they can't all be right. But my experience was that many do not believe they have full truth, just the best they can get for now.

And, of course, feelings are not always accurate. But, then again, neither is logic and reasoning (imperfect data or unavailable data).

Church member
North Salt Lake, UT

Twin Lights:

You are right. Sometimes people use bad logic or reasoning to come to a wrong conclusion. But just because that does happen sometimes does not make them (logic/reason) equal to feelings/emotion.

I have heard that argument before from people, that they have both led people astray so they are equal. That is a false equivalence. They are not equal. I would guess through out time feelings/emotions have helped people make wrong choices 100 times more often than logic, reasoning and scientific thought. So don't pretend they are equal.

False equivalence: is a logical fallacy which describes a situation where there is a apparent equivalence, but when in fact there is none.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@ Twin Lights - “…many do not believe they have full truth, just the best they can get for now.”

OK, that’s logical… but it does beg a few more questions. 1) Does that go for all churches or is there one true church? Assuming the later, does the epistemological point Church Member made below still hold – is the way to confirm this truth still involve a “spiritual” way of knowing (e.g., a feeling in the chest, etc…)?

If so, then this seems like it should be scientifically testable. Pick a large and random sample size (with the only criterion being a humble and heartfelt desire to know the truth) and perform the experiment.

But this experiment has likely been done by countless individuals for centuries with results as varied as the number of churches and beliefs. But given the confirmation bias of churches (only those who passed their test are sitting in their pews) the results can hardly be said to be scientific. Or if they are (scientific), then the real result of the experiment would appear to be that there are many paths to God.

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