Yes, Virginia, You Can Rationalize Santa Claus

Yes, Virginia, You Can Rationalize Santa Claus

I thought I was being satirical when I wrote this post, justifying belief in Santa Claus in the same way that, as I see it, sophisticated believers justify belief in God. But then I realized that my post was already written 110 years ago, in the famous “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” editorial.

Here are the first two paragraphs of the editorial’s reply to Virginia. Try substituting “God” for “Santa Claus”, and count how many arguments still make sense, and how many are routinely used

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

I admit that I’ve been Poed. I don’t see any significant difference between my parody and this apparently sincere bit of Santapologetics.

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