I’ve always had to laugh at the whole “He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake” thing. (Where else have I heard that before?)
That and the fact Santa Claus can magically visit every house in one night, flies with tiny flying reindeer, and has an endless quantity of toys to give because of believed in but never seen beings called Elves.
Is it true? Millions of people believe it. A book tells about it. Several books. It is confirmed to be true by adults. So too does the Christian faith have millions of believers, and is told about in a book no one questions, or even wonders who exactly wrote it or when or WHY. Some adults even confirm the Santa story is true even though they know differently–so it’s a lie, but such an innocent one. When did lying become okay? Well, when it’s to protect someone’s feelings, of course. Ok, then, since when is encouraging children to believe in a myth, a lie, protecting their feelings? Or is it just so cute to see little kids believing in this magical thing, striving all year to be good so they might receive the carrot at the end? The reward.
Perhaps when it’s seen to have a desireable purpose–a good end result–it’s okay to lie. Like conditioning children to be open and receptive to magical thinking, belief in the unseen, the unknown, the unproven, the illogical.
Funny that Saint Nicholas, Santa’s original name, implies having some connection with religion or the church. Could that be a clue as to the origins of the Santa myth, and its purpose?
This is all just a theory I have. I rather suspect the Santa myth came about to prep the fields of our minds when we were little making them receptive to a life-time of being open to magical thinking, enslaved to a myth. It brings people to church, fills the collection baskets. It allows churches to continue the lie to bring in more people and more money, for a building that doesn’t have to pay taxes, and to the pockets of the spreaders of the lie.
I have read it’s not that uncommon for someone entering seminary to become an unbeliever along the way. All it took for me was reading the whole bible to become an atheist. The bible itself is the strongest argument there is against belief in God. Yet great effort is made to keep the people focused on just this verse, or that verse. You can even buy the New Testament separate from that embarrassing Old Testament that describes God as the ruthless tyrant, the murdering and sexist war-god that he is. .
Ok, back to Santa. He too has a list you really want to be on. Because if you’re on his good list you get presents, prizes, a reward. If you’re on his bad list what do you get? Coal? Interesting. And coal brings to mind what exactly? Fire? And what is in hell? So could that piece of coal represent a little token of things to come to a small child if she/he doesn’t be good? Doesn’t believe in magic? .
I do not believe there’s such a thing as harmless lies. I think this one does nothing but encourage small children to believe without question, something that makes no sense, to prep them for adulthood and potential servitude to a god who made them flawed to begin with. A god who deliberately created them knowing ahead of time they would fail in the garden, and then said “now serve me, believe in me, be mine for your whole life, and I will save you from the very flaws in you I your creator am responsible for.”