“Why Not Santa Claus?” (Answered)

 


. . .

“Well, what if I’m wrong, I mean… anybody could be wrong. We could all be wrong about the flying spaghetti monster and the pink unicorn and the flying teapot. You happen to have been brought up, I would presume, in the Christian faith. You know what it’s like not to believe in a particular faith because you’re not a Muslim, you’re not a Hindu. Why aren’t you a Hindu? Because you happen to have been brought up in America and not in India. If you were brought up in India, you’d be a Hindu. If you were brought up in Denmark in the time of the Vikings, you’d be believing in Wotan and Thor. If you were brought up in classical Greece you’d be believing in, in Zeus. If you were brought up in central Africa you’d be believing in the great Juju up the mountain. There’s no particular reason to pick on the Judeo-Christian god, in which by the sheerest accident you happen to have been brought up and, and ask me the question, ‘What if I’m wrong?’ What if you’re wrong about the great Juju at the bottom of the sea?” -Richard Dawkins [1]

. . .

Responses

– This argument commits the genetic fallacy. Just because a person is brought up in a culture where religion differs from others, that doesn’t mean it’s false. And even if the culture stumbled across objective truth by accident, it does not mean that it is false. [2][3]

– You can call “God” whatever you want (Zeus, Poseidon, Brahman, Mithra, etc.). It just depends on what Scriptural meaning you attack to the name you use. Early Christians called Jesus “Ἰησοῦ” but we both are referring to the same Person. The problem with calling God “Zeus…” is that you automatically attribute the commonly held beliefs about them; their limited power and all. You could attach the all the traits of the God of the Bible to the Hindu god Brahman (and remove all of Brahman’s traits), but you would really be talking about YHWH (the God of the Bible) the whole time.

– Likewise to the last point, the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus are said to have traits that are observably false and limited to certain conditions. Believing in a God that is unable to reach people groups based on their location is not believing in a God that is Omnipotent or Just. If He is Omnipotent, He can reach them. And if He is Just, He won’t wrongly judge the innocent.

In short, comparing God to a mythical creature avoids entertaining the ramifications of a plausible God while devaluing the traits of God which entails.

Relatedly, many atheists who suppose all of these beings to be a “delusion”, also say that their existence is unfalsifiable. Though to say that they are unfalsifiable means to say that they must be agnostic about them and have no real knowledge claim about them. But a “delusion” is an unreasonably fix, false belief. The built-in assumption is that it is false. This means that they do (at least implicitly) say that they have an affirmative argument for God’s non-existence.
 

. . .

On an unrelated but humorous note, here is a link to why Santa is not scientifically feasible and must be “magical”: http://www.mrsciguy.com/documents/Santa.doc

Enjoy!

. . .

 

References

[1] Eyedunno, and Richard Dawkins. “Richard Dawkins – “What If You’re Wrong?”” YouTube. C-SPAN2: Book Tv, 25 Nov. 2006. Web. 11 Dec. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mmskXXetcg >.

[2] In the context of the question by the girl from Liberty University, I can understand Dawkins’ response. The girl gave a short version of Pascal’s Wager (or at least the commonly misunderstood version). All that I am saying is that attacking an ideology on the grounds that it is rooted in a cultural upbringing commits the genetic fallacy.

[3] The genetic fallacy is a logical fallacy. [Quote: “The genetic fallacy is where an idea is argued to be false based on its origin rather than for logical reasons. ‘The claim comes from the National Enquirer, so it really can’t be true.’ Granted, it is perfectly relevant to point out that if a claim comes from a typically unreliable source (for example, a tabloid newspaper), then this casts doubt on its truthfulness. But it does not prove the claim to be wrong. If an unreliable paper claimed 2+2=4, the unreliability of the paper would not disprove the claim. Moreover, the source would have to already have been established as generally unreliable for this to be relevant. A claim should be evaluated on its merit, not on how it came to be. (Lisle, Jason. “The Ultimate Proof of Creation.” Logical Fallacies — Part I. Green Forest: Master Books, 2009. 119. Print.)]

 

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