At this time of year the thoughts of many Christians turn to the baby Jesus or, maybe more realistically, to Santa Claus. Now many will claim that the one true god is the little baby in the manger, but by using the same tools as used in Christian apologetics one can show that Santa is the deity worthy of worship.* (Please note that the quotes given below are taken from a delightful little book entitled Santa Lives! by Ellis Weiner.) Here is the proof:
- The Ontological Argument
"It is possible to imagine a perfect Santa Claus. But this perfection would not be complete if it did not include existence. Indeed, a Santa Claus who didn’t exist would not be perfect… Therefore, the perfect Santa Claus, because we can imagine him, must exist”
- The Causal Argument
”Everything in our experience, in both the animate and inanimate worlds, must have a cause… ‘What is the cause of Christmas?’… What causes Christmas presents?… what causes them to appear (a) all over the world, (b) under identical trees, and (c) at the same time? This is an effect that can only be explained by a single cause, i.e., Santa Claus. It must follow then that Santa Claus exists.”
- The Teleological Argument
”Christmas is a nonrandom event. It shows clear signs of having been designed for a number of specific purposes. These purposes conform exactly to the salient characteristics, talents, and abilities of Santa Claus. It is as though Christmas had been designed for Santa Claus – which would be impossible if Santa did not exist”
- Argument by Experience
”Many people have had a direct, personal experience of Santa Claus. Indeed, many have reported, with unquestionable sincerity, that they have sat on his lap. Moreover, they report that their lives were significantly changed by these encounters. Objective, third-party observation confirms many of these reports. Since it is impossible to sit on the lap of a being who does not exist, and since it is impossible for one’s life to be changed by a being who does not exist, and because so many people have claimed such experiences, Santa Claus must exist.”
- Argument from Morality
”One of the chief functions and purposes of Santa Claus at Christmastime is to serve as a moral arbiter of whether we have been good or bad… We would not be inclined – and might not be able – to be good in order to appease a being who does not exist. Nor could Santa himself make such persuasive and binding moral judgments about us if he did not exist. Therefore, for both reasons, Santa Clause must exist.”
- Argument from the Attributes of God
There are attributes that only a god can have and therefore if an entity has these attributes he must be god. These attributes are:
Omniscience: Since Santa Claus knows whether you have been good or bad, he obviously has to know everything about you and not just you. He must know all things about everyone, at all times, and in all places; otherwise, someone could be bad without him knowing. It would be morally wrong for a bad person to get presents; therefore, Santa must be omniscient.
Omnipresence: Santa must be able to deliver all presents to all people at the same time. This can only be done if he is present at all places at the same time. Although some may argue that he has the entire night to deliver all presents to all people, even this cannot be done without at least limited omnipresence. (Either that or he is very, very fast which would also be a divine attribute.)
Omnibenevolence: Who can argue that Santa Claus isn’t the pinnacle of benevolence and mercy? How else can one explain his desire to give all believers the presents their hearts desire? In addition, being bad just gives you a lump of coal – not eternal punishment – along with a clean-slate for the new year. Clearly Santa must be omnibenevolent.
Omnipotence: Santa Claus must be able to do everything including the creation of all presents and their delivery to all believers in the space of an evening or less. These presents and/or the materials to make them must be created ex nihilo, otherwise massive shipments of scotch tape and wrapping paper to the North Pole would be seen. Since he can create all presents, one can argue that he can create all things and thus Santa is clearly omnipotent. (Is he also the First Cause?)
- Argument from Pascal’s Wager
There may or may not be a Santa Claus. If you believe in Santa Claus you will get presents on Dec 25th; however, the penalty for not believing is not to get presents. Since presents are much more pleasant than non-presents, the prudent thing to do is to believe in Santa Claus. If you are wrong, nothing bad will happen. However if you don’t believe you won’t receive presents and that is clearly bad.
- Argument from the Scientific Method
Whereas scientific studies on the effectiveness of prayer to the Christian god have resulted in dismal failures, such is not the case with Santa Claus. Year after year, in what is probably the most repeatable, statistically valid experiment ever run, millions (billions?) of people on December 25th have their prayers to Santa Claus answered in the form of tangible gifts – if they were good and if they had enough faith. Therefore Santa Claus must exist and must be god.
- The Argument from Faith
There are many things about Santa Claus that cannot easily be explained: How can someone so fat and jolly fit down a chimney? How does he get into a house with no chimney? How do all the presents fit in a little bag? How can reindeer fly fast enough to visit every house in the world in one night and do it without wings? How does he know when we are naughty? Yet, such questioning will lead one away from the one true Santa Claus and such disbelief would result in the lack of presents. Therefore, we must accept what we cannot explain on faith, knowing on whom we have placed our faith. Besides, I’m sure all of this can eventually be explained by Quantum Mechanics.
- Argument from Belief
Ask any child whether Santa Claus exists and most will say yes. Where do they get this notion? From their parents of course! Now, we all know that moral Christian parents would never lie to their children about a make believe deity; therefore, Santa must exist in the minds of millions of parents. If millions of parents believe in Santa Claus, surely they all can’t believe in a lie? Therefore Santa must exist or millions of parents are lying to millions of children and that wouldn’t be moral. Thus Santa must exist.
*This is obviously a tongue-in-cheek posting. No, I don’t believe in Santa Clause; although, he is more probable than the Christian god and a whole lot nicer. What this blog post shows is that many of the supposed proofs for god used in Christian apologetics can be applied to Santa. Almost anyone can find problems in these arguments, yet by simply replacing Santa Claus with “god” or “Christ” or your deity of choice, suddenly the arguments seem reasonable and correct.