God and Santa Claus This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

June 4, 2011
By , Roberts Creek, Canada
I stopped believing in God (at least, a theistic god) about the same time I stopped believing in Santa Claus. I didn't suddenly have an epiphany after meditating under a cherry tree for a year. The cause was closer to home. It started in a book.

For the first few years of my life, I was as Christian as a non-baptized person can get. I attended a Catholic school from the age of four. There, I was taught that God created the world in six days, and that Adam and Eve were the first humans but were cast out of the Garden of Eden for eating forbidden apples. I lived a few doors down from a church, and every once in a while I went to Sunday school to learn about stuff like Noah's ark and Jesus' disciples. I prepared for Communion with my class and drew pictures of what God might look like. At night I'd make my parents read me the story of creation because I liked hearing about how God made all of the animals. I took in everything about religion with unquestioning faith. After all, why would my ­teachers teach me something if it wasn't true?

After four years, I moved to another town and attended a different (non-religious) school. Learning about God was pushed to the back burner as I made new friends and read encyclopedias. Toward the end of elementary school, I borrowed a book about physics from the library (I was, and still am, a giant nerd). It taught me about Newtonian mechanics, relativity, and quantum field theory. It also disproved the existence of Santa Claus. Evidence like gravity and relativity was the straw that broke the camel of faith's back.

After I finished that book, I realized that I didn't believe in Santa Claus. What's more, I saw that I hadn't believed for quite a while. Sure, I'd wanted to believe in Santa, but wanting to believe and believing are very different things.

The same thought process led me to doubt the existence of the god I'd learned so much about as a kid. Before, I'd assumed that God had made the dinosaurs and planets and stars. Now I began to wonder. The Bible said that the Earth was made in six days, and that all of that occurred about 6,000 years ago. But hadn't my teacher told the class that the Earth was four billion years old, and that it had formed millions and millions of years after the sun was created? Gravity seemed to fill in for God nicely in that respect, and these time frames made more sense.

I had another problem. If God existed, why wouldn't everyone worship the same one? ­Instead, the ancient Greeks were pantheistic, and Hinduism, Buddhism, and Shintoism were practiced in Asia. Why would God make himself apparent to only half the globe? It just didn't make sense.

As I grew up and became more interested in science, other stuff I read made my doubts grow. How did evolution fit in with the creation story I'd loved as a kid? Why did God let good people in third-world countries die of starvation, but then reward the bullies at my school with cell phones and iPods? It didn't seem possible to me that the God I had read about in the Bible – who cared about his creation – existed today. This thought made me sad.

I like the idea of having someone watching out for me, and I haven't completely ruled out the existence of a god – but if there is one out there, it's certainly done a good job of hiding itself. The jury isn't out yet. Sometimes, late at night, I'll still say the occasional prayer, just in case anyone's listening.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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SparaxisThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 5:00 pm
That's because Catholicism does not count as Christianity, biblically speaking.
lizmaria140This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 28, 2016 at 12:14 pm
Hmm. Catholic teaching specifically states that the Old Testament is not supposed to be taken literally. Science and faith are to be taken hand in hand - they support each other. We believe in evolution, although with some firm differences (ex. Adam and Eve were our first parents) and as for the time - six days is not supposed to actually mean six days. I think your views are interesting, but I believe you should do a little more research.
ShellyToll said...
Apr. 14, 2016 at 4:23 pm
Thank you for writing this. You would think that with the new scientific evidence most people come to the same conclusion as you did. People created religion as a means to help them understand things they couldn't. I think you're right though, wanting to believe and believing are two different things. I'm pretty sure most 'Christians' these days only want to believe because they are afraid of death and want to think they serve a higher purpose.
Lucy-Agnes This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 31, 2015 at 12:48 am
Oh, this article makes me so sad! I sense that you really are looking for the truth, and I wish I could answer all your questions because they really are very good ones. I will say this: God's ways are higher than our ways, and although sometimes it seems like science, suffering, and other things have disproved the existence of God, really they support it. For example, maybe people did evolve from animals. But if they did, it was through God's design. And if you think about it, having a God smar... (more »)
PTsaxplayer said...
Jan. 20, 2015 at 4:49 pm
Hey man first off I just wanted to say you did a great job on your article (Obviously or it wouldn't have made it into the magazine.) I myself am a Christian and I respect your religious views however I do have a few key points that I think that you may have over looked. First off you ask, "If God existed, why wouldn't everyone worship the same one?" You used a few other religions as and example one of them being Hinuism. The Hindu's believe that you must be born into Hinduism in order to be... (more »)
Zoey24 said...
Dec. 5, 2014 at 8:01 am
i'm not going to do what other Christian believers do; im not going to shove this at you. God's word is news, we are to share it not to shove it. Over time the belief that God is real began to fade and that is because more religions gradually came into life. You can not let the things of the world hinder your faith in God. If God isnt real, then how did you get here? How did science come about? God is the answer. Don't stop believing.
JesusandHisLawyers said...
Aug. 9, 2014 at 11:44 pm
Why do theists think that patronizing and condescending people is somehow charming and loving. Stay away from articles you KNOW that you will disagree with if you can't handle somebody having differing opinions.
cosmos4242 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 31, 2014 at 9:28 pm
As an atheist I  really can relate to the bit at the end about occasionally still saying a prayer at night.  While I no longer pray, I do wonder sometimes.  After spending six years at Catholic school, I still get a little afraid of hell every once in a while.  But only a little bit!    I've talked to some of my non religious friends about this who used to belong to religious communities and they too have experienced it.  Old habits die hard, I suppose. ... (more »)
mlpisfun said...
Mar. 20, 2014 at 7:26 pm
People belive in diffferent gods because not eveyone has the same veiws on what a god is. Like some buddists they worship some big human guy Some people see animals as    gods and some worship statues That doesnt mean threr isnt a god And I am not trying to offend anyone but america is getting more and more unrelligious, I know a good amount of things about the bible I would say more than the average catholic adult (im not catholic and theirr not the only type of christian)... (more »)
Zaraclaylime This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 13, 2014 at 10:45 pm
I agree with Lovethislife. Why don't you research religion as well? Try learning by yourself instead of being taught. You'll find that it actually is the truth. Give God another chance! He's waiting for you with open arms.
Lovethislife said...
Jan. 21, 2014 at 10:29 pm
I appreciate you expressing your point of view. Please know, though, that someone IS listening to your prayers. He is the one who created you (and the world), loves you,  and died for you. Science, unfortunately, doesn't have all the answers. Do you really think that science can explain morality and the human body? Do you really believe that the human body and the entire perfection of the universe was created by "evolutionary chance"? . I know that God loves you more than anyt... (more »)
rheame said...
Oct. 17, 2013 at 6:53 am
yes. even i too dont believe in a particular God but ya i do believe in a power,a power which controls everything .i am not sure if it exists but i somehow have full faith on it.It gives me comfort and assurance thinking that some one , up there  is watching me with love and helping me.
AnInkling said...
Sept. 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm
Hey! I enjoyed reading your article, and you have some very good questions, and I would like to show you what I have seen in regards to them if you don't mind, too much. And please, I don't want to "force" any belief on you, I just want you to see some facts which the science books are hiding. I think that everyone deserve to see all the cards but it is up to you to decide.   First you said that God, who supposedly created the earth in 7 days, 6,000 years ago, does not... (more »)
monochromatic said...
Apr. 1, 2013 at 11:00 am
I want to point out that the fruit Adam and Eve ate was not a forbidden apple - aples are just commonly used for some reason. The Bible gives no reason to beleive the fruit was an apple, or that the fruit is even still around today.  also, you state that you were as Christian as a non-baptised person can be. According to the Bible, isn't baptism a way of showing that you have become a Christian instead of being part of becoming a Christian? and what is your definition of Christian? do... (more »)
AcrossTheUniverse said...
Jan. 23, 2013 at 4:58 pm
A) My disbelief/wanting to believe in Santa Claus happened in a similar way. B) I too am a big nerd but still believe in God. C) The creation stories are myth (no one shoot me) in the sense that they reveal a religious truth and not necessarily a historical trith. God did create the world and humans in God's image, but not the first "humans" were not necesarily called Adam and Eve. Heck, it could've been two A. africanus 's called Oog and Bhoog.
AcrossTheUniverse replied...
Jan. 23, 2013 at 5:00 pm
I forgot to mention this metaphor. Look at the night sky. Every night (whether or not your night is at the same time as everyone else in the world) people will look up and marvel at the moon (when it's full). Different people, same moon; different religions, universal higher power. Had to be technical to sate your nerd-ness.
monochromatic replied...
Apr. 1, 2013 at 10:05 am
trying not to shoot you - you say that the creation stories are a myth, and God did create everything, but not the way He says He did. Basically: theistic evolution. A compromise of opposites. the order in which everything is said to have evolved is opposite the order in which the 'creation story' says things were created. If God really did create the universe, but by using evolution, how much of Genesis is a lie? all of it. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth&qu... (more »)
AcrossTheUniverse replied...
Apr. 2, 2013 at 5:50 pm
"...God did create everything, but not the way He says He did." The book of Genesis was written by Israelite prests/scholars probably around the time of King David (apporximately 1000 B.C.): they placed creation story in the order that it was. You don't say Scripture is a lie: it's a myth. Lies have no meaning; myths profess a deeper truth. I recommend researching Rosemary Radford Ruether's story of creation in three acts. By the way, the Santa ... (more »)
monochromatic replied...
Apr. 2, 2013 at 7:32 pm
if God didn't create the universe the way He said He did, then isn't He a liar? And the Bible claims to be written by men inspired by God. Also, the Bible claims to be completely true. Also, the Bible claims that God's Word shall never fail - it will always be avilable to some part of the world, which means He wanted us to have what was written, which would be unlikely if the scholors just made stuff up. Logically, the Bible is either really God's word and what He meant to be wri... (more »)
AcrossTheUniverse replied...
Apr. 3, 2013 at 5:14 pm
I'm glad you researched the story of Santa Claus and I apologize that the other evolution/creation sotry could not be found. Anyway... You're missing the point. Many people mistake the Bible for a science textbook or a history textbook, which it's not. The Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit to communicate the message of God's existence and plan for salvation for all of humanity. Genesis is a myth but conveys the universal truth that God created everythi... (more »)
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