What's the difference between God/Jesus and Santa Clause? Seriously. I would like to know. How is it that as a child we can be allowed to believe in this mythical character that delivers presents all over the world to every good little boy and girl in one night, but we're expected to grow out of that belief eventually. Then along comes Jesus... He's everywhere... all knowing, all seeing, omnipresent... Seriously... what's the difference except that Jesus' story's ending is considerably more scary if we choose not to believe it?
All entities, whether they have physical form or not, are social constructions. They are conceptualized through social language, and summarize our expectencies in our conscious relationships with “the world”. Conceptualized entities have no independent existence outside human consciousness. Their apparent permanence or otherwise is relative to our lifespan and psychological needs. This as true for rocks as it is for atoms,unicorns or gods. Such entities differ only in the nature of our expentencies regarding them, thus we might expect a “physical” relationship with rocks, an “artistic” one with unicorns, a psychological one with “gods” etc, and such relationships are subject to transient cultural and individual variations throughout our lives.
Confusion about the word “existence” follows only from those who argue that entities are independent of the conceptualization process. Such confusion is fostered by scientific claims for “objectivity” which on analysis amount to no more than relatively stable social agreement. Less stable social agreement is reflected in the naïve claims of different religions for their version of “the truth”. The fact that religions often promote contradictory concepts is merely a reflection of the differing psychological and social needs they serve. "Thou shalt not kill" and "just war" are significant examples of this.
God is God.
Jesus is the son of God, who became a human being in the belief of Christians, or as some believe just a human being, but historical person others believe he has not even lived.
Saint Nicholas is a historical person - a Chrstian
Saint Nicholas (Greek: Άγιος Νικόλαος , Agios Nikolaos, "victory of the people") (270 - 6 December 346) is the common name for Nicholas of Myra, a saint and Bishop of Myra (Demre, in Lycia, part of modern-day Turkey). Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nicholas the Wonderworker. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose English name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas.
The historical Saint Nicholas is remembered and revered among Catholic and Orthodox Christians. He is also honoured by various Anglican and Lutheran churches. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors (many harbour cities have a Saint Nicholas Church), merchants, archers, and children, and students in Greece, Belgium, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia, the Republic of Macedonia, Slovakia, Serbia and Montenegro. He is also the patron saint of Barranquilla, Bari, Amsterdam, Beit Jala, and Liverpool. In 1809, the New-York Historical Society convened and retroactively named Sancte Claus the patron saint of Nieuw Amsterdam, the Dutch name for New York City
Today, Saint Nicholas is still celebrated as a great gift-giver in several Western European countries. According to one source, medieval nuns used the night of December 6 to anonymously deposit baskets of food and clothes at the doorsteps of the needy. According to another source, on December 6 every sailor or ex-sailor of the Low Countries (which at that time was virtually all of the male population) would descend to the harbour towns to participate in a church celebration for their patron saint. On the way back they would stop at one of the various Nicholas fairs to buy some hard-to-come-by goods, gifts for their loved ones and invariably some little presents for their children. While the real gifts would only be presented at Christmas, the little presents for the children were given right away, courtesy of Saint Nicholas.
Wed 14 Oct, 2009 08:27 am
Santa vs. Jesus (language NSFW)
Wed 14 Oct, 2009 08:59 am
It's a matter of magnitude, is it not?
For those who live honest and loving lives, one offers wool socks and a William Sonoma coffee grinder. The other offers the motherfucking Kingdom of Heaven.
Thu 15 Oct, 2009 03:32 am
I'm not certain that the comparison is valid here, Boss. Sandy Claws is just a story to make exciting for children a holiday which is older than Christianity. The whole Jesus story is peddled as "gospel truth" by those who are convinced (without regard to evidence) or stand to benefit by the exercise.
Personally, i like the Sandy Claws story better, because its harmless and it makes children happy while doing neither their intellects nor their emotions any violence. I don't know of course, but i suspect that children do grow out of it, rather than having any traumatic experience of having their happiness bubble burst for them.
Thu 15 Oct, 2009 06:27 am
Thank you Set. You're right. I don't think I worded that quite right. Obviously there truly is no Santa, rather it is a harmless fairytale that does bring children happiness. While Chistianity has done considerable harm over the decades. I think the point I was trying to get at is why is it some people can jump from believing one harmless fairytale when they're a child to one that can be exceedingly harmful to everyone but them?
I like some of what fresco said but what I'd like to know is do you think these social constructions come out of an emotional internal construction for people? I find it hard to believe that a rock or a tree could have a social construction. However, having thought about it for a minute I think understand. Social construction to me has always consisted of literally being social. Being a social part of society on daily basis through work, school, and hanging out with friends, which rocks and trees do not do.
However, they do play a vital part in life. Trees form oxygen so we breath, acorns for for squirrels to eat, shelter for birds, blah blah blah. Got it. Obviously people are a bit more complex than a tree or rock. People seem to be looking for something. Well... the ones that are usually end up the target for go getters supporting their religion. Easy target, easy to influence, and depending on the level of desperation they will believe just about anything.
saab, wow that's quite a knowledge of santa! What do you believe though? God is god? But who is God? Really... I have a hard time looking at this world we live in and not believing there is something bigger than us. Life seems to be a perfectly planned out network. Everything in it's place providing what it's designed to provide in order for life of all forms to continue. Each part is vital to another's existence and continuation.
Was it an accident? The emotional mind says that if life is a happenstance then so am I, so what's the purpose? Do we need a purpose to be here? Do we need a" Jesus" or a God to carry us when things get too hard? Or is all that simply for the weak minded who haven't learned how to stand on their own two feet? Do we need a heaven to go to when we die? Or a hell to be afraid of while we live? That seems like a waste of time.
Jesus to me was once my hero. That's the truth. Religion did me good on many different levels, but now the ideal behind all that equates to not much more than santa did when I was child. He had something I wanted (presents) to offer and look forward to. Jesus had something I thought I needed. That was the only difference. Two fairytales... one harmless, one not so harmless. Except the Jesus one didn't harm me while I was steeped in it. It just hurt those around me who couldn't measure up to my standards.
I think if I were to decided I needed to believe in a fairytale again I'd much rather go with the Santa one... at least I might get some wool socks and a William Sonoma coffee grinder out of the deal! By the way Joe if you read this, that southpark youtube was flipping hilarious!
All segmentation of "the world" comes from socially acquired language. Because humans are by definition physiologically similar, they will relate to "the world" in similar ways. An exception might illustrate the norm, such as the fact that in the Hopi language there are two words for our single "water"..."Water that you drink" and "water that you cross"...and it is taboo to drink the second. Thus the Hopi actually see/cognize/relate to two seperate entities, whereas most of the wolrd relates to one. The fact that scientists might argue for "same chemical composition" is merely a reference to a different social scenario we call "chemistry". The chemistry of "water" and its "uses" are different forms of social relationship.
I am fond of the Crocodile Dundee mugger scene to illustrates the relationship of the "being" of entities to social reality.
PUNK: (brandishing stilletto) Give me your wallet !
DUNDEE: Why ?
GIRL: Mick..he's got a knife !
DUNDEE: That's not a knife ...(producing his large bush knife)...That's a knife !...(mugger flees).
The argument is rounded off by considering the relationship of other species to their worlds. Do "trees" exist for birds or only "perches" ? Do "dead insects" exist for frogs who only see "live insects" and will starve to death surronded by what we see as "dead insects"? What we think "exists" is related to our existence, and the "we" is itself subject to social agreement as far as some entities like "gods" are concerned.
By the way Joe if you read this, that southpark youtube was flipping hilarious!
I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Thu 15 Oct, 2009 01:29 pm
Such entities differ only in the nature of our expentencies regarding them, thus we might expect a “physical” relationship with rocks, an “artistic” one with unicorns, a psychological one with “gods” etc, and such relationships are subject to transient cultural and individual variations throughout our lives.
Just a thought by way of clarification - pyschological experiences of something are also physical (to a degree).
...that's why it's possible to pee your pants from fright without anything bad ever touching you (just scaring you), or your pulse quickens, or you get an adrenalin dump, or you start sweating, or you get turned on a a guy/girl that hasn't even touched you (and all the body changes that involves), or you fall into synchronised step with a person you are walking with, or any number of other physical results of psychology / spirituality.
...that is to say, I doubt anyone's 'relationship with God' is just psychological.
...that is to say, I doubt anyone's 'relationship with God' is just psychological.
You are correct for "a believer", on the basis that observer and observed are co-related and co-existent. For an atheist the situation is one of a psychological relationship with a useless concept for them, but also one to which they relate socially via the activities of "believers" . (E.g They may attend religious services "out of respect" for some believers, NOT their beliefs).
It isn't a "useless concept" for atheists because they are enabled to live within a society of Christians rather than a society of atheists and not only at no cost in the pocket but at no cost to their free expression of those desires condemned by Christians. In fact such condemnations make those expressions more exciting.
It's a win/win situation.
Fri 16 Oct, 2009 05:42 am
Funny pic Set! Jesus' T-Rex may need one of these though so he doesn't scare all the kiddies away....