Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A preponderance of evidence...

By Ellipses

When we are children, our parents go to great lengths to perpetuate a fantasy that is seen as an inalienable right of childhood. We are told, from our first Christmas onward, that a man lives at the North Pole, employs elves, rides a deer-driven sled, and traverses the earth once a year to reward good children with gifts while punishing bad children with coal. On average, children buy into this fantasy, much to the delight of their parents, for between 5-8 years. The shedding of their adherence to this myth is as much a right of childhood as the belief itself is; their emergence from this Platonic cave of make-believe is a chrysalis moment that is shared by millions of people regardless of education, socio-economic status, race, or even language-- to a degree.

Parallel to this fantasy is the often similar indoctrination of a similar myth… That there is a heavenly father-figure who sent his son to earth via the womb of young, Jewish virgin and that son eventually died on a cross to absolve humanity of its sins. The story has many parallels to the Santa Clause tale, and it is just as fanciful and metaphorical as the former. But for some reason, children often retain their belief in this artifice while gleefully and glibly relinquishing the other.

Why? Aside from the heft and import that is carried by the tradition of religion. Aside from the tendency of the story to grow richer as one’s capacity to understand the nuance grows. Aside from the inferred implications of disbelief, or non-belief. Aside from reasons endemic to the story itself, why do people cling to that belief longer than the other belief? From a purely logical standpoint, it would stand to reason that a child would be more likely, from a cognitive standpoint, to believe in the Santa Clause myth for a longer period of time than they would the Jesus myth. After all, there is real, tangible (though still false) physical evidence in favor of the Santa myth. Parents take their kids to the mall to SEE Santa. Gifts appear beneath the tree FROM Santa. Cookies are left half-eaten on the coffee table, and occasionally, a lump of coal is tucked into the toe of your stocking to remind you not pick on your sister.

Sure, it’s all bullshit… and one could argue that the zest on the part of the parents to engage in this theater may wane over time, allowing doubt, followed by certainty, to creep in. But even that argument is flimsy, seeing as how a child tends to stop believing long before a parent is willing to give up on trying to create the illusion year after year.

The existence of “a God” aside… what compelling reason is there to continue the belief in the Jesus myth, in a complete absence of evidence, while ceasing to believe the Santa myth in the face of mountains of contrived evidence? Each is equally fantastical, but the “evidence” certainly favors one “guy in the sky” over the other… and yet, he gets the shit end of the stick… and stale cookies. Sphere: Related Content


Lori said...

Why bother bringing up a tired old tirade that does nothing for your cause? Are you having a conscience moment? A true agnostic, atheist, secularist would just dismiss the issue as a childish myth and not worth a fleeting thought.Sorry you are having doubts about your own mortality.

Lori said...

I meant that in a good way. I'm not a sarcastic person.

Ellipses said...

I have 0 doubts. My question is, basically, why did I do it backward? I never believed in god, but I believed in Santa for a couple years. I would argue that I had MORE of a compelling reason to believe in Santa than I would in god...

Lori said...

I've never seen you, yet I believe you exist.
Church(not God) tells you that you have to be a good person. Santa is more fun.
I believe in God and so I have had the opportunity to have seen miracles like the blind eyes seeing and the lame walking. But I can't force you to believe what you can not see. I can only share my experiences in hopes that it will plant a seed of faith in you. Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. Thanks for challenging my faith in a way no one has in a long, long time. You Rock

Wesley said...

Eliptiscrooge, sounds like Santa brought you one bag of coal too many. You just had to go and be naughty even though you know he sees you when you are bed wetting and he knows when your awake beating off. This is like TMI.
“Much to the delight of parents” as in evil fucking parents who are always fucking with their kids minds. They perpetuate this Santa fantasy because they love to fuck with their kids and create more sociopaths like you and Cyweird.
By the way, its Santa Claus not Santa Clause.
Do you know for a fact that Jesus is a myth? I am not talking about those man-made misogynist corrupted bible stories that were co-opted, manipulated, and mistranslated. I am talking about the actual historical figure Jesus? (BTW Scholars know that his mother was not a virgin and it was a mistranslation from young maiden.) If you hate the bible be my guest. But unless you are omnipotent why go out on such a limb and declare Jesus is a myth. Does that make you feel like a man?
You failed to identify the harm done in children believing in Santa Claus while they are young and innocent. In omitting that argument you look like some kind of abused sociopath that is angry at the world.
And why the fuck should you care that someone takes comfort in believing in anything? Typical liberal. You are not happy and you want to make sure everyone else is miserable too. I have never met a happy liberal or a lib that was not whining about something.

Ellipses said...

There is quite a difference between historical Jesus and mythological Jesus. The problem is that if you replace myth Jesus with real Jesus, an important component of the religion built on myth jesus's back is lost. Your example of the translation of virgin/maiden is a great example... Part of the mystique of myth Jesus is the issue of divinity and miracle. If Mary were simply maiden, and not virgin (maidenhede was synonymous with virginity in the Middle ages) then a component of divinity is lost.

So Wesley, was Jesus man or god?

As far as Santa claus ( I thought clause looked wrong) is concerned, you are correct... There is no harm in it... But my question is not one of good or bad... My question is WHY? Why do people embrace two myths, only to abandon one while doubling down on the other?

Wesley said...

Eliplato...corrupted scriptures, mistranslations, and mangled story lines do not mean that you can rule out the divinity of Jesus. I do not claim to know one way or the other. But, I would never state unequivocally that Jesus was not God or man and God at the same time. I don't think Mary had to be a virgin for Jesus to be God.

People do not abandon their belief in Christ because the payoff is eternal salvation. As far as i know Santa has never offerred to put that under the tree. Both of them care if you are naughty or nice and both offer penalties and rewards. But Santa cannot save your mortal soul. Santa does not die for your sins but he does die from high cholesterol from all the cookies and brownies. But you get nothing in return except crumbs. And lastly, you don't go to Santa temple. He does not claim to be God.

We both know that Santa is a myth but no one can ever know with perfect uncertainty that Jesus is/was not God. On second thought, maybe Santa is not a myth...LOL

Ellipses said...

"Eliplato...corrupted scriptures, mistranslations, and mangled story lines do not mean that you can rule out the divinity of Jesus. I do not claim to know one way or the other. But, I would never state unequivocally that Jesus was not God or man and God at the same time. I don't think Mary had to be a virgin for Jesus to be God."

There is no reason for Jesus to be God... The idea of a man-god is not unique to christianity to begin with... it's simply a retelling of an earlier story. Jesus was not God. Primarily because there is no God... but for other reasons... one being that men are not Gods. Mary does not need to be a virgin for Jesus to be God because a) Virgins don't have babies (and god doesn't impregnate people) and b) Jesus wasn't god

Besides, the whole virgin birth thing is again, another retelling of an earlier story... christianity is a rich tapestry... but of second hand cloth.

"People do not abandon their belief in Christ because the payoff is eternal salvation."

If god was real, he'd know if you were hedging your bets as opposed to genuinely believing. People don't believe in god "just in case"... they believe because they think it's real.

"He does not claim to be God. "

And neither did Jesus... at least not explicitly.

"We both know that Santa is a myth but no one can ever know with perfect uncertainty that Jesus is/was not God."

I know with perfect certainty that Jesus was not god.

Wesley said...

Eliptipoorbastard...I am with you on the corrupted and borrowed story line. There is no denying it. But, you seem kind of manic about you insistance that there is no God when you have no facts to back it up. Like I said before: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Your "proof" is that these written records are illegitimate. But that does not contribute any evidence to your belief there is no God. At the end of the day, you only have faith there is no God which is no different than having faith there is a God. You are just as ridiculous in pointing to the falacies in the scriptures as the bible beaters that point to it as infalliable and literal truth. It seems a lot more impoirtant to throw all that out and the ponder something greater than yourself in this universe.

Ellipses said...

By your reasoning, there is no reason not to believe that John Gower was god... or my neighbor lady... or me, for that matter...

What proof do you have that I am not god?

Look... religion would have us believe that God is INTEGRAL... that without God, there is nothing.

Science tells us, though, that God is not necessary. Trees will grow, people will do as people do, and what is will be regardless of whether there is a god in the equation or not.

Why choose christianity to base your belief in god on? There are countless of equally flawed, equally made-up accounts of god... some are more reasonable than the idea that for whatever reason, god picked a random time and a random place to come to earth as a man to be sacrificed for all of humanity... there is NOTHING inherent in the story that suggests that it's true... if you allowed a million children to grow to an age of reason, and then present them with the story of jesus... not a whole lot of them would buy into it...

Present those SAME kids with the aristotelian verson of god... and the MAJORITY would buy into it.

Which is to say, the overarching God IS based on the aristotelian god... the alpha and the omega and all that... logically, that makes a lot more sense, and is, in a sense, more "real" than the idea that some rabbi from 2000 years ago was the actual, physical incarnation of the creator of all that is.

Wesley said...

Eliptistotle...perhaps we lingered too long on Christianity. That was the plate you served the argument up on so that's where I tried to eat your lunch LOL.

It is not important to me that Christ was or was not God. I am actually ambivalent about it. I am happy for believers if its true. We differ in that I am not so arrogant is to say these people are wrong. How the hell would you or I know?

But we also agree that there are no hand-me-down Gods. If you don't really believe and are just saying you do for some other perverse reason, a God would know. And there is nothing more vomit inducing than fake charlatan pompous religious people. They are like mental terrorists.

My point was really like Cyturds second thesis that the "God" he can imagine is something far grander than most religious people are willing or able to imagine. I don't mind the alpha and omega, or yen and yang, or cheech and chong, whatever blows your skirt up. I understood you to say there is no great force in the universe or grand design. The grand design part could be coincidence but it would be a magnificent one. But also irrelevant to the point that there is no way you can say with absolute certainty that there is no God. Maybe there is no bearded man on a throne somewhere but I think there is something greater than all of us and it seems like a fine idea to me if we call that God.

Ellipses said...

That's fair enough... but only the petty religious god cares what we think... "Real" god... grand creator of the universe god... probably doesn't give a shit if I say he isn't real... doesn't give a shit if I worship a golden goat... "Real" god is not something to worship or believe... real god is like gravity, it just is.

Jesus christ is not the earthly incarnation of real god.

That would be like michael jackson coming back to earth as a stapler. Pointless and arbitrary and simply not so.

Wesley said...

Eliptibeatit....What if said stapler can moon walk and hum a few bars of Billy Jean? ....What I don't get is why you are so militant in your face about Jesus. You are so fucking hot on the case like your trying to win a bet.

How the hell do you suppose to know if an earthly incarnation of God was arbitrary or not? And God probably does not read this blog so your secret is safe with me.

Wesley said... looks like my IP address was hacked by someone with thin skin. It has been nice talking with you. But everytime I log on from my computer I have your blog for a split second and get immediately redirected to a clock website. Hardly a way to run a blog dude.

Ellipses said...

What's a clock website?

Cylinsier said...

Sounds like a virus. You been meddling where you don't belong?