The Christmas skirmish is upon us. Whoops. The Christmas season is upon us. Actually, it has been a skirmish, if not a full-blown battle, for the past several years. Don’t look at my blog like that. You know exactly what I mean. About this time of the year we begin to hear inflamed opinions from university professors, rabbis, politicians, commentators and Christian pastors. Admittedly, I get irritated by modern attempts to pry “Christ” out of the “mass” of holiday trappings as much as anyone. Vigorously I resisted my compulsion to get on a soap-box at the Chicago intl Airport recently when my eyes fell on the words “holiday tree” and simply satisfied myself with a good eye-rolling. Nevertheless, I’m annoyed with the whole conflict. I miss entering this time of year with childlike delight, far removed from the wreckage of colliding worldviews. I know. I was as surprised as anyone. Enjoying spirited debates, I usually welcome an entire month being dedicated to declaring the preeminence of the Christian faith and the reality of the virgin birth in the face of secularism. Maybe this year I’m weary with it all because our daughters, Jolie and Jaclyn, should get to experience it the right way. Don’t get me wrong! I’m still in favor of the debate being had. I’m just going to trust all of you to pick up the slack for me this year. I like Santa Claus for what he is and I’m going to let Jolie do the same. However, I found him to be a helpful analogy in a recent discussion.
I have several Christian friends who are “tolerant” of other faiths. When I say “tolerant” I’m not referring to Webster’s rendition of the term. I’m using it the way it is meant by left-leaning believers. For them tolerant is defined as “the understanding that the views of another are equally valid and true.” “Aren’t Muslims, Mormons and Hindus finding truth in their faiths which are just as valid as the truth of Christianity?” This was the question recently posed to me. We live in a culture which venerates any belief, no matter how destructive or outlandish, so long as it is labeled a “faith.” When I pointed out that many faiths are illogical and all faiths external to Christianity contradict it at some vital point, the questioner explained that faith is different from logic. What she was getting at was the idea that statements of faith don’t have to make sense at all. They can be overtly nonsensical, but as she further clarified, as long as they bring hope and peace they warrant the term “true.” What I find absurd about this is that we do not respond in this way with regard to any other area of our lives. It would be exciting to spend this blog discussing the problems of relativism, but let’s keep Santa in the mix.
The most widespread religious enthusiasm among individuals under the age of ten years old in America is brought about in mid November (at the latest) at the sight of two colors (red and green). Their acceptance of Mr. Claus is completely fueled by faith. I don’t know about you, but I see this faith at least as legitimate as that which fuels scientology. Yet, I do not know (nor have I ever met) a single adult who still truly believes in his existence. Why? because we know better. We know that certain things are simply not true. Like many false religions, the Santa Claus myth brings great hope. It brings peace. It’s wonderful. It just doesn’t happen to actually be reality. I submit to you that we should view false religions in the same sense that we view the Santa myth. If they don’t happen to be true, then we shouldn’t call them true. Moreover, if an individual takes them seriously then we should point all of this out.
I think Santa Claus is Awesome! But I think he is awesome in the same way I think Batman is awesome, not in the same way I think Jesus Christ is awesome. One final caveat. I will let my daughters play with Santa dolls, have their photos made with him at the mall and even color pictures of the man. I will not however, let them anywhere near the book of Mormon anytime soon. Merry Christmas!