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YES, There Really Is A God Virginia!

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posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 05:10 PM
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Yes Virginia, there really is a God! Don't listen to those small-minded people who say otherwise, because they are wrong. We live in a skeptical age, and many refuse to believe in that which they can not touch, or see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible to their little minds. And all our minds are little Virginia, as measured by an intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes Virginia, there is a god. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give your life it's highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would the world be without god! Why, it would be as dreary as a world without Virginias! It would be a world without child-like faith, without romance or poetry, to make this existence tolerable. And if there were no enjoyment (except in that of sight and sense), then the eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in god? You might as well not believe in Santa Claus! And even if your father was able to hire a million men to watch every chimney on Christmas Eve, to catch Santa as he came down, and they failed, just what would that prove anyway? Of course nobody sees Santa, but that's no reason to think there is no Santa! Perhaps the most real things in the world are those that can not be seen. And it isn't hard to imagine that there are many wonderful things we can't conceive of, that are no less real than the many we can see.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle to see what makes the noise, but perhaps there is a veil covering the unseen things of this world that no one can tear apart. Only faith, poetry, romance and love are strong enough to push back the veil enough to see what may lay beyond. And what can be seen then, in all it's glory, is it not just as certain, just as real as anything else? Ah Virginia, in all the world, there is nothing else as real or abiding as this unchanging glory, not fit for eyes that are in fact completely blind anyway.

No god?? Insanity! A million years from now he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

BUT NOW Virginia, if I were to tell you that there really was no "god", or Santa Claus for that matter, how would it make you feel? For everything I said above, while true, may only be true only for the child. As St. Paul once said, long ago, "When I was a child, I thought as a child..." But he went on to say that now that he was a man, he had to put aside the silly things of childhood. But is Santa really so silly after all? On Christmas morn, the presents really are all 'round the tree! As the gifts are opened, is there not real joy on the faces of every child? And should that joy diminish, when one has finally been told the simple truth, that "Santa" is really Mommy and Daddy after all? Is it no less wondrous that their love for you, their selfless generosity, has given to you such a splendid morning? Could it perhaps be even more beautiful than imagining the fat old man in the red suit?

And so it may be for what men have called "gods", or God, over these many thousands of years. Could this great "man", with the long white beard, who we have always been told exists...could he too be something like Santa Claus? Surely, there must be something to believe in far more noble, and ennobling, than the monster of the Old Testament? Indeed, if I needed to find someone more moral than the "god" I was brought up to believe in, then I could quite easily substitute my very human mother for him! And why not? After all, was she not "Santa Claus" as well? No, she was not all powerful, nor was she all-knowing, but what power she had, was expended for those she loved. What knowledge she had, she tried to use for the good of all she loved. And somehow, it was good enough, as small as it might have been, in comparison to that infinite "God" of common faith and religion.

Maybe the god of Christianity is "too big". Maybe we need to look back a bit, to simpler times, and see the wisdom of the primitive peoples, who brought god down to something more real in their lives, even if it was but an animal. Maybe we need the wisdom of the children, who can honestly tell the whole world that their Papa is the strongest, and their Mama is the best. Truly, if GOD is ever to be the greatest, the most worthy of human worship, he has to be better than us. And while the god of the Old Testament is certainly not even as good as the most immoral of all men (and therefore not worthy of worship), still, there "must" be something, perhaps even "Someone" who can give meaning to the greatest things we know. Love. Selflessness and devotion. Beauty.

Oh Greatest Someone...Wherefore art Thou??




posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 05:13 PM
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For those that don't recognize the inspiration for this little adaptation of mine, I guess I should share a few details about the most famous Santa letter of all time.

In 1897 an 8 year-old little girl named Virginia O'Hanlon asked her father if Santa Claus really existed. She was advised by her father to write a letter to the newspaper, saying that if she read it in The Sun, then it must be so.

A man named Francis P. Church was on the editorial staff of the New York Sun at that time, and was given the seemingly impossible task of writing a response to the girl's simple request. How could he answer her truthfully, as she had so innocently requested "the truth"?

The result was "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus", and it became the most reprinted letter of all time. Each year about this time, that letter will be read by many who have perhaps never read it before.

There is actually a lot to chew on in the Francis Church masterpiece that goes far beyond the simple reading of his famous response.

I thought it might be good to look at it again, with the added twist dealing with the greatest invisible and unproven figure of all time: God.

There is so much to consider, some very deep material really, and so my hope is that this can prove to be an informative and enjoyable discussion here on ATS during this Holiday Season, no matter what our beliefs happen to be.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Seasons Greetings to ATS!



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 06:05 PM
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I think Santa and God are good parrallels actually.

Cute adaptation.



Happy Holidays

edit on 12-12-2010 by SaturnFX because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 06:16 PM
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Where to start? Okay now as much as I respect anyone else's opinion there comes a point where some issues need to be addressed.
I do like the metaphor of Santa, we could also use the tooth fairy, or, the Easter bunny. Children are very susceptible to suggestion and have vivid imaginations. So if they are being told that things exist, see them depicted in books and hear tales of them, of course they are going to believe in it. The child's parents are what they look up to and mimic and will not even consider the lies.The stories are filled with magic and enchantment.
Now when the child reaches a certain age they discover that all they thought they knew about certain characters is not real. It was all an illusion orchestrated by the parents whom they trusted .Now that in its self must have some psychological issues, (but that's another subject).
If we replace said characters with the Notion of God, Jesus or in fact any other religious character the same kind of magical lure appears
Children brought up with religion get hooked at a very early age the difference between the belief in God and Santa is the child finds out that Santa is not real because the parents say so, where as the realisation that God is not must come from somewhere else.
The cycle did not get broken for the parents so they then "teach" their kids the same.
If adults want to practice any religion that is entirely their choice , they can worship armadillos for all I care. I do have a problem however with the indoctrination of children with said beliefs. As stated before they are susceptible at an early age and will believe anything. So in effect they are being brainwashed. When children reach a certain age where they can think freely then they should be able to make up their own mind.
Most religions install a system of fear and although people say they preach tolerance the exact opposite is true.
I personally do not see the need to idolise anyone ,except for my loved ones. Why put someone over your own family. We as humans are such wonderful creatures and we live in such a beautiful and diverse universe. It is about time we see it and stop looking backwards but to look to the future.
We need not wait for a magical being to come and rescue us. We do not need the threat of eternal hell if we do wrong. We do not have to bow down to anyone. We have to stop shifting the responsibility, its down to each and every.one of us. If anything each and everyone of us are the Gods.
I could go on for hours but think that will do for now.
Just my opinion which I perceive as being correct although unlike some people can shift if presented with evidence

Ok take care regards



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 06:35 PM
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reply to post by SaturnFX
 


Happy Holidays to you too SaturnFX. Great Santa you posted, hadn't seen that before. Awesome!



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 06:39 PM
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reply to post by JR MacBeth
 


Beautiful! And in answer to the last question, the answer is in the New Testament.



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 06:44 PM
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reply to post by SaturnFX
 

I didn't know that Santa clashed with the elite PTB and was put to death, ultimately for a higher purpose of love as a resolution to the problem of human evil..


But I agree that when Santa goes poof, that's the time to remember Jesus, yes.



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 06:45 PM
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reply to post by maythetruthbeknown
 




Now when the child reaches a certain age they discover that all they thought they knew about certain characters is not real. It was all an illusion orchestrated by the parents whom they trusted .Now that in its self must have some psychological issues, (but that's another subject). If we replace said characters with the Notion of God, Jesus or in fact any other religious character the same kind of magical lure appears Children brought up with religion get hooked at a very early age the difference between the belief in God and Santa is the child finds out that Santa is not real because the parents say so, where as the realisation that God is not must come from somewhere else. The cycle did not get broken for the parents so they then "teach" their kids the same. If adults want to practice any religion that is entirely their choice , they can worship armadillos for all I care. I do have a problem however with the indoctrination of children with said beliefs. As stated before they are susceptible at an early age and will believe anything. So in effect they are being brainwashed.


Thanks maythetruthbeknown, great thoughts about what could be classed as "being responsible" when it comes to impressionable children.

Of course, there are bound to be others who will read what you wrote, and wonder if any religion could survive if the transmission of traditional myth was one day actually "prohibited." And yet, I can see that a time may come when society may need to come to terms with the issue.

I also wonder how many will read your sobering thoughts, and be dismissive of the notion, perhaps asserting that belief in Santa is "harmless". We shall see what people have to share, but I want to say that I think you raise some legitimate concerns.

JR



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 06:47 PM
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What's more small minded, assuming the existence of a god, or waiting until there's evidence for one to believe in?



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 06:51 PM
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Originally posted by NewAgeMan
reply to post by SaturnFX
 

I didn't know that Santa clashed with the elite PTB and was put to death, ultimately for a higher purpose of love as a resolution to the problem of human evil..


But I agree that when Santa goes poof, that's the time to remember Jesus, yes.


Actually...its funny you mention that. That actually is the root of Santa..or Saint Nicholas (with the exception of the put to death bit...but hey..neither did the other guy
)

The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave.


So now you know.

Ho ho ho



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 06:55 PM
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Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

Know ye not that ye are gods ?



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 06:57 PM
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reply to post by SaturnFX
 

Saint Nick, following the model of Christ, thanks for sharing that. So it would seem that when Santa goes poof that Christ is still there, still alive in spirit. That too "groks".

Sometimes you so-called atheists assume too much, that would be my only complaint.



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 06:58 PM
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reply to post by IntastellaBurst
 


Oh that MUST be nonsense, since you got it out of the bible, which we all know is nothing but a book of fairy tales..



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 07:39 PM
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Originally posted by IntastellaBurst


Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

Know ye not that ye are gods ?


Ah, interesting IntastellaBurst. Many Christians will no doubt agree with your first line, but how would they feel about the second one?

Certainly the New Age folks will love that second line too!

Not to be too glib, but what if something like the "Spirit of Christmas" dwelt in our hearts? What would that look like?

In my example of parents being the "real" Santa, can we not all be "Santa" too, in the most important sense, that is, as we interact with our fellow humans?

JR
edit on 12-12-2010 by JR MacBeth because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 08:57 PM
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reply to post by JR MacBeth
 


Nice work, JR.

Reminds of a family story. ...When my daughter was about 4 years old I sent her to a Catholic pre-school - I had talked with her about the creator / God, but not Jesus or the Bible (or any other specific religion), and had never assigned a sex to God. She came home one day and asked, "Did you know that most people think God is a man?" When I answered that I did, she asked me if God was a man or a woman (she assumed God was a woman). I told her I didn't know, and suggested that she think about it for herself. Days went by and I thought she had forgotten about it until she came to me saying she thought she'd figured it all out. According to my four year-old daughter, "God is whatever we need, and sometimes that changes."



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 09:08 PM
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reply to post by soficrow
 


Great story Sofi! Four-year-olds are at such a precious age, and as John Denver once said, we need to hear the "wisdom of the children".

I love your response too, your child is fortunate to have a mother who did not feel the need to spoil such a beautiful moment with programmed dogma. I might guess that with such a gentle hand as yours, the gardener would be one day very proud of her little sprout.

Thank you for sharing that.

JR



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 09:12 PM
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reply to post by JR MacBeth
 


Why then you understand the heart and mind of Christ which went to the cross. You understand and have a felt experience of the final concern, when all other concerns fall away.

To understand this, in sympathy with the sympathetic sufferer and man of sorrows, and therefore with his joy too, made complete (wherein the more that sorrow carves into our being the more joy we can contain ~ Gibran), means you understand him, and are therefore a desciple, a student of his.

How arrogant could we be, to try to somehow get around or bypass this truth, this love?

I am perhaps the first of the "New Age" people to criticize this self-God making on our own, absent the mind and heart of Christ, which makes of me an authentic "new age Christian", regardless of the stereotypes and ill informed mockery, and all manner of accusations.

If you fully understand this loving spirit, then you are just as much a Christian as I am.

In the same way there is no need to deny, bypass, or reject the love extended by Jesus in this spirit of love, and in accord with the higher will to love, even in the face of fear and suffering, sorrow or pain. What courage is this? That's what I see in Jesus as a human expression of the love transcendant. How could anyone recognize this and be revolted by it? Talk about rejecting the best Christmas present ever, with a frown and pout and folded arms..


edit on 12-12-2010 by NewAgeMan because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 09:25 PM
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NO! I do not want and did not ask for eternal life in a living spirit of unending love and freedom to participate. That it NOT what I asked Santa for Christmas! I WANT MY THING! Waaaaaaaa!!!



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 10:34 AM
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reply to post by NewAgeMan
 




I am perhaps the first of the "New Age" people to criticize this self-God making on our own, absent the mind and heart of Christ, which makes of me an authentic "new age Christian", regardless of the stereotypes and ill informed mockery, and all manner of accusations.

If you fully understand this loving spirit, then you are just as much a Christian as I am. In the same way there is no need to deny, bypass, or reject the love extended by Jesus in this spirit of love, and in accord with the higher will to love, even in the face of fear and suffering, sorrow or pain. What courage is this? That's what I see in Jesus as a human expression of the love transcendant. How could anyone recognize this and be revolted by it? Talk about rejecting the best Christmas present ever, with a frown and pout and folded arms..


Thanks NewAgeMan, nice to see you weighing in on this.

No doubt the usual stereotypes about the New Age being "against" Christianity can easily be hung on a guy with your name, but obviously, you identify yourself as a Christian, so hopefully people will accept your self-appraisal, even if they don't understand it.

Personally, I don't necessarily see a "contradiction" between the two general systems. An example comes to mind, Teilhard de Chardin, who proposed his Omega Point in the middle of the last century in his attempt to reconcile evolutionary ideas, with Christianity. Certainly, there seems to be a fair number of Christians who are exploring further from the old traditions these days. That could be a good thing. I'm sure others may comment on this, hopefully with respect, although I know this can be a contentious issue, especially when it comes to the more conservative crowd.

You mention a loving spirit, "even in the face of fear and suffering". Christians, more than other believers, are indeed "forced" to deal with these issues of the cross. To have a god who can suffer (somehow), to worship a god who dies...there's no way around it. But it may not be long before an atheist shows up, and points out the age-old "problem of evil", or unnecessary suffering in the world, in spite of a god who supposedly "loves" his creatures enough to die for them.

Don't get me wrong, I admire examples of heroic courage and selflessness, sacrifices for another, especially when it comes to the ultimate sacrifice of our lives for that which we love. These I would expect are high on anyone's list, and Jesus, AS an example to others, should be accorded his due respect.

But if Christ's painful death was somehow necessary so that I might enjoy what I otherwise would not, then if this is his "gift", then yes, I reject it. I wouldn't say that we would have to have folded arms, and a pout on our faces. I suppose it might appear quite ungrateful, and yet billions of people of other faiths wouldn't see it that way at all. But I think it is a common feeling amongst Christians, and if I understood you correctly, you have expressed it well. Obviously if "God" did something like that for us, we "should" be grateful.

I think what's repulsive is the ancient idea that "someone must always pay!" Sure, justice is something we all see as important (especially when we ourselves suffer injustice), but true forgiveness is far beyond such a notion, and mercy is perhaps one of the highest ideals we can aspire to, literally a god-like virtue.

Christians will say, "We have all that too! Our God is merciful, and forgiving!" Well, I suppose I should let others comment, but lots of the atheist and agnostic crowd regard the Jewish/Christian god as anything but truly merciful. Of course, different people will believe different things, but mainstream Christianity still requires eternal punishment as a cornerstone of their theology, so even if the occasional hybrid comes along who disagrees with some of these more absurd notions, it doesn't change the fact that there is a tremendous amount of absurdity within their religious heritage.

Speaking of religious heritage, I alluded to this in the OP when I characterized the "god of the Old Testament" as a monster. It's not really anything to just gloss over, and yet the majority of Christians do this, in my opinion, even if they subscribe to various theological "explanations" (excuses) for what is clearly just another ancient god behaving very badly.

Well, enough out of me! Again, I appreciate people of all faiths sharing where they are coming from, and look forward to the continuing discussion!

JR



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