It’s Christmas time again and as usual I head home to my family’s house for gifts, food, and their company. What was different is the way I worded an analogy and insulted religious people everywhere and I made an ass of myself. Here’s what happened.
Everything was running smoothly. I got the Walking Dead : Book 4 (excellent by the way), went for a run around the empty neighborhood, and was watching Glee because my brother Kurt and his girlfriend got the first season on DVD. Everything is great. Around 9pm our friend Ross showed up, and that’s where it all began.
DAMN YOU ROSS.
We were talking about how Ross spent his Christmas and how ours was, and then Ross mentioned that when he was a kid he never was told the lie about Santa Claus. His mom and dad pretty much told him that Santa is this made up thing that other kids think is real and that it happens around Christmas time. My own parents were kind of confused, wondering why a child would be deprived the magic of Christmas.
I had a very different opinion about Santa, but unlike most times where I just smile and make an offbeat joke about it, I felt like telling them what I thought. I explained that,”The way Ross’s parents told him the truth was a good idea.”
“What about the magic of Santa Claus?” my dad asked, and I actually had an answer for him on this. I remembered reading a text in college about religion and psychology and how children, somewhere between 4 and 7, don’t have a concept of what authority figures look like (this would include God, Santa, the President, etc.). If you asked a child what God looks like, for example, they will draw a fanciful unicorn with a bearded man’s face flying through the sky with rainbows shooting out of his fingertips. This representation by children can be seen on a large scale because children do not develop the cognitive function to distinguish between fantasy and reality until they are a little older. It is physically beyond their mind. I tried to express this to my parents, Kurt, his girlfriend, Rich, and Ross but instead it came out in the worst way.
What I believe and what I wanted to say was:”From what I have read and experienced I think it is cruel and negligent for adults to impose false beliefs on children, such as Santa Claus, because they cannot distinguish fantasy and reality at that age.” a perfectly fine statement in my opinion.
How I ended up saying it was much different and much worse:”Telling kids to believe in Santa Claus is wrong and negligent, similar to people who believe in God, teaching young children about God, before they know what the hell they’re even talking about. People who believe in God are insane, and I think its wrong to instill false ideas in children at a young age”
I don’t know how I managed to get so off course with the words coming out of my mouth, but I did. Immediately I was in a huge debate concerning religion and how I think religious people are insane. “How can you be so sure God doesn’t exsist?” “How sure are you that he does exsist?” On and on and on my family and I debated, forgetting all about Santa. About halfway through the conversation I realized I had misrepresented my beliefs and needed to refine them, but it was too late. I immediately defended my “people that believe in god are insane” comment with a couple outspoken quips about “flying spaghetti monsters” and another statement about how I,”Saw a foot and half long turd once, but no one believes me” that really led nowhere but grossed out my mom and left Ross laughing like crazy.
I suck at debating, I should have kept it about Santa and kids and kept religion out of it. WHY DID I HAVE TO MAKE FUN OF RELIGION?
The worst part of it all was that I alienated Kurt’s girlfriend from me, someone who I really respect. I had no intention of disrespecting her beliefs or her family’s; I just found myself frustrated and impulsive at the worst time. I really do think anyone should be allowed to believe whatever they want (unless it infringes on another person’s human rights) and I think there are zealots and psychotics (religious and non-religious) that represent their faith or lack of faith poorly. I was one of those zealots today climbing a mountain of stupid.
I also fell into the one pothole I always make sure I should avoid when discussing anything; DON’T TAKE ATTACKS ON YOUR BELIEFS AS AN ATTACK ON YOURSELF. Yeah, I was offended when my whole family tried to tell me I was wrong and laugh at me, so then I kind of lost it and said the poop comment and the conversation ended in confusion, stupidity, and me looking like an ass. Kurt’s girlfriend was right,”You’re using the same arguments as the “crazy religious nuts” you are against”.
Too bad I just figured all this out about an hour after the conversation. All I wanted to say was I think its wrong for parents to trick their children into believing in Santa, which you can debate me on if you want. What I got was an ugly awkward jumble of words about what pisses me off about religion today, which makes me feel like holy crap.