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:

  1. 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”
  2. 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.”
  3. 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”
  4. 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.”
  5. 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.”
  6. 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?)
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

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*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.

“It is impossible to put Christ back in Christmas since he was never in it in the first place”

Ted Armstrong, Christian Evangelist

It’s that time of year again and the inevitable cry of “put Christ back into Christmas” starts coming from various Christian groups. Does this cry have any merit? Was Christ ever in Christmas? Consider these facts:

  1. It is almost certain that Christ was NOT born on December 25th. The spring and fall have both been given as more realistic time frames since Luke mentions shepherds tending their flocks (Luke 2:8).
  2. There is no record of the early church celebrating the birth of Christ and, as such, no record or tradition of his birth was preserved. In fact, early church fathers such as Origen (185-232) believed that only sinners and pagans celebrated birthdays. Origen didn’t list Christ’s birth as a Church holiday. (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10709a.htm)
  3. The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt. About A.D. 200, Clement of Alexandria (Stromata I.21) says that certain Egyptian theologians “over curiously” assign, not the year alone, but the day of Christ’s birth, placing it on 25 Pachon (20 May) in the twenty-eighth year of Augustus.” (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03724b.htm)
  4. Christmas comes from the Latin Cristes Messe or the Mass of Christ and wasn’t formalized until the 4th century. December 25th was picked as it was a celebration day of many popular pagan gods and the Winter Solstice, so it made assimilation into Christianity easier.
  5. Under the influence of the Puritans, in 1644 the English Parliament banned Christmas and it remained in effect until 1660. They even condemned plum pudding and mince pie! (Although to some plum pudding and mince pie should be condemned.) Christmas was seen as an excuse for all kinds of unchristian and unholy activities.
    (
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/ten_ages_gallery_03.shtml)
  6. The celebration of Christmas was illegal in Scotland for almost 400yrs until 1950 because of the influence of John Knox and other reformers: “For almost 400 years, Christmas was banned in Scotland. At the height of the Reformation, in 1583, when anything smacking of Catholicism and idolatrous excess was thrown out with contempt, Christmas and all its trappings was wiped off the official calendar…
    (Amy McNeese as reported in The Religious Rights War on Christmas Began Centuries Ago and various other places on the Internet; however, the original article at http://scottishchristian.com/topics/christmas.shtml is no longer active.)
  7. While not directly involved in the banning of all festivities, an edict made on Sunday 16 November 1550, the reformer John Calvin was pleased with the result. All such holidays were worshiping in ways not prescribed in scripture (the regulatory principle in worship) as was thus idolatry.  (For a good discussion of religious opposition to Christmas see:
  8. The Puritans saw Christmas as a pagan festival with Christian trappings. Christmas was made illegal in Massachusetts from 1659 to 1681. Anyone caught celebrating it was fined 5 shillings.
    (
    http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=369 )
  9. It wasn’t until the 1870’s that Christmas became an official holiday in the U.S.
  10. A case can be made that it was actually Charles Dicken’s that popularized the holiday and influenced how it is celebrated today.
  11. Many Christian groups still see the celebration of Christmas as pagan and unchristian. For example see:
    So it isn’t just some godless atheists that are opposed to the holiday. In fact, many atheists including myself enjoy the holiday. They just don’t want government sanctioned displays of religion. I don’t have any problems with a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, but there are Christians who do! (We had a couple at work who refused to attend an office Christmas party unless it was renamed a Holiday party, since the celebration of Christmas was idolatry.)
  12. The true “god” of Christmas is actually Santa Claus! If you think about it, some attributes of the Christian god are assigned to this mythical character: omnipotence (he knows whether you are naughty or nice), omnipresence (he can give presents to everyone one in the world in an evening), he hears all of your “prayers”, and he answers your “prayer” requests (if you are nice) or punishes you if you are naughty (coal).

It is clear that what we now call Christmas was originally a pagan holiday celebrating the Winter Solstice and the birth of some of the pagan Sun gods. The Christian church simply co-oped this celebration for their own use. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad or evil thing. If Christians want to celebrate this day and use it in honor of their god, I have no objections. However, I do object to the supposedly pious and righteous cries to “put Christ back in Christmas” or that “he is the reason for the season”. If that is YOUR reason for celebration, that’s fine. It is YOUR reason, so please keep it that way. Many of us celebrate the season for other reasons: family tradition, good food, a time for sharing, and a time of reflection, plus it is fun to give and receive gifts. Your celebration may actually be offensive to other religions (or the non-religious) and there are even Christians, as we have seen, who see this celebration as idolatry. If you are one that wants to “put Christ back into Christmas” (whatever that means), please do so – for yourself. But I think, to be honest about it, you are going to have to throw away a lot of what traditionally goes into this holiday.

Have a safe and Happy Holiday season, however you may or may not celebrate it.

“At this season of the winter solstice may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.Freedom From Religion Foundation