God and Santa

I thought the video below was a clever challenge to the notion of God as an oversized Santa.

I’d say, from my own perspective, that it doesn’t go far enough in moving away from anthropomorphism altogether. But it may be helpful in getting those whose idea of God is one particularly crass form of big man in the sky to reflect and perhaps even begin to reconsider their approach.

It also seems to offer a different approach to the gospel than one typically encounters in Evangelical fundamentalism. There it tends to be about how your response is the key to the process being completed. In the video, in a manner more akin to what one finds in some Eastern Orthodox theologians, God has accomplished something, and the message is simply making you aware of it. It is assumed that amazing news will have an impact on you, but it is not as though your response in any way changes or contributes to what has been done.

What do readers think of the video?

Below are some more “God and/vs. Santa” images from around the internet, which might be helpful in generating thought about the closeness of the image many people have of God and the idea of Santa. It is also worth reflecting on the fact that ideas like Santa are ones that people naturally grow out of – but also typically come to appreciate in a new way later in life. It is natural to outgrow a very similar idea of God, and to do so around the same age. But no one comes to believe in Santa later in life, do they? Yet with some views of God, that can and does happen. And so it is worth pondering what sorts of idea of God it is natural to grow out of, and what ideas of God are appropriate for adult thinkers.

This first image is from fellow Patheos blogger Daniel Florien a few years ago. Most of them have web addresses in the graphic indicating their source, and a couple of them I shared in previous year. And don’t forget to revisit the graphic I posted back in October about physics, Santa, and God, as well as other posts related to Santa from years gone by.

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  • Kubricks_Rube

    These are funny. One missing connection I’d add: “coal” for the naughty as a symbolic stand-in for “hell.”

  • Rebecca Trotter

    I knew a fundamentalist family who didn’t teach their kids about Santa because it would undermine their belief in God. The thinking was since both Santa and God are never actually seen, but are believed to be real on faith, once Santa was revealed to be fake, it wouldn’t be a big leap to question if God was also fake. 0_o