Robert B. Jordan
Resident Grump, Retired
I do not like labels, but there are a couple that are acceptable to me – “Freethinker,” or “Humanist.” I suppose that some would insist on labeling me an “atheist”, but that is so harsh – a nasty sounding word – you almost have to hiss to say it. So I will stick with Freethinker and/or Humanist for now.
The religious populace would insist that everyone should believe in a higher power, and that you cannot lead a fruitful and happy life without believing in something greater than yourself.
Well, I never have found that to be absolutely true. I have survived nicely by just believing in myself, and my family, and my values. Religion didn’t give me the ability to know right from wrong, good from evil, civility from rudeness – my parents and common sense did. I spent 12 years in Catholic schools and the dominant thing I came away with was lessons in guilt, and fear.
However, as I get older I have pondered the idea of believing in something greater, a higher power. Maybe there’s something to it. What, or who, could I accept as a model that I could respect and follow? Something or someone that held high standards, was respected worldwide, had a great attitude, and was well loved by all.
Suddenly it hit me – it was Santa Claus!
Several years ago my daughter Kris gave me a tin sign in the image of Santa Claus holding a blackboard. On the blackboard was written the four stages of life:
“You believe in Santa Claus”
“You don’t believe in Santa Claus”
“You are Santa Claus”
“You look like Santa Claus”
That tin sign hangs over my work bench in my modest work shop in the basement (I fit the fourth description). I was working on a small project and looked up at the sign and had an inspiration. If those that believed in Jesus Christ were Christians, then I could believe in Santa Claus and be a Claustian.
There may be some out there that insist the only reason Santa Claus is around is because of Christmas,
which is allegedly the birth date of Jesus Christ; actually we have no idea of his birth date. Most scholars place his birth year between 7 BC and 2 BC. The actual day and month are not known. December 25th was “selected” as the birth date of Jesus in the 4th century by the church leadership in Rome as a cosmic symbolism. It was determined by simply counting nine months after March 25, generally thought to be the date of conception. How those people knew the date of conception is not explained, nor is what form of conception is required in a virgin birth, hmmm! I probably could write a whole blog on that subject.
Coincidentally December 25 was also celebrated by the pagans as the birth date of Sol Invictus, the official sun god of the Roman Empire.
Santa Claus originated in legendary, mythical, historical folklore rather than religion. He evolved from the 2nd century Dutch Sinterklaas, the 17th century British Father Christmas, and 4th century Greek St Nicholas, who was the only one of the three that was an actual person. St. Nicholas was a 4th century Greek Christian bishop known for his gift giving.
There have been parallels drawn with “Odin” a pagan god of the Germanic peoples. In the 1930’s it was believed by some that Coca Cola invented Santa Claus because they used him extensively in their advertising. But I digress; let’s get back to Santa Claus and all the advantages of being a Claustian.
Think about it, neither Santa Claus nor any of his followers have ever persecuted, or killed people in his name, or because they didn’t believe in him. You needn’t spend a lot of time praying; just write him a letter once a year and ask him for stuff. It would be fruitless to try and hide your bad deeds, or to lie, because Santa Claus sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake and he knows if you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake.
Santa Claus is a jolly fellow that spreads joy and happiness throughout the world.
He doesn’t condemn folks that don’t share in the joy and happiness. His followers don’t declare that he is the one and only holiday icon – no, you can freely believe in the Easter Bunny, or the Great Pumpkin, or the tooth fairy, or whoever else, and without fear of reprisal.
What’s that? You say you don’t believe in Santa Claus! You stopped believing when you were about 10 years old? But, you do believe in Jesus. Hmmm! Well, some question that Jesus really existed. You have to be a non-questioning, blindly accepting individual to believe what the fictional book they call the bible tells you about Jesus. And yes, you have to be a non-questioning, blindly accepting individual to believe in Santa Claus. It’s your choice.
Personally I’m going with Santa Claus. I’ve been all through that religious thing. I was brought up in a Catholic household, attended Catholic schools, and survived all their attempts to fill me with guilt and fear. From there I tried the Protestant path for a few years. That was filled with hypocrites and narrow minded people that I didn’t care for. I never found solace, or validity with religious teachings, because to me it required a good measure of superstition, and blind acceptance. Besides, each of the many versions require you to believe that their particular way is the only way, and all others are heathens, or pagans, or savages, or
Who of you would reject feeling joyful and happy? Does not the spirit of
For you fathers, does not playing Santa Claus just fill you with pleasure? When your children are small do they not get joyful and happy when they go sit on Santa Claus’s lap? How about you grandparents? Is it not true that the thrill and excitement of your grandchildren at the mention of Santa Claus is an awesome experience?
Okay, you skeptics will say “but Santa Claus is only once a year.” That’s somewhat true, but cannot the spirit of Santa Claus last year round, year in and year out? And the same skeptics may also make the argument that the joy, and happiness is solely because of receiving gifts. Again, that is somewhat true. But again cannot that be extended throughout the year? Material gifts are not the only gifts that are meaningful and important. How about the gifts of love, sharing, support, encouragement, respect, etc.? Cannot they be given, and received, year round, year in and year out? That is the spirit of Claustianity.
Yes my friends, given my freethinking, humanists beliefs, I am going with Claustianity ! But, I will defend and support your choice no matter what it is – that’s also in the spirit of Claustianty.
“To say there is no Santa Claus is the most erroneous statement in the world. Santa Claus is a thought that is passed from generation to generation. After time this thought takes on a human form. Maybe if all children and adults understand the symbolism of this thought we can actually attain Peace on Earth and good will to men everywhere.”
Charles W. Howard – in 1937 Howard founded the Santa Claus School in Midland, Michigan which continues today.