Is Santa Real?

by thomblake1 min read13th Mar 200975 comments


Personal Blog

Related on OB: Lying to Kids The Third Alternative

My wife and I are planning to have kids, so of course we've been going through the usual sorts of debates regarding upbringing. We wondered briefly, will we raise our children as atheists? It's kindof a cruel experiment, as folks tend to use their own experiences to guide raising children, and both of us were raised Catholic. Nonetheless, it was fairly well settled after about 5 minutes of dialogue that atheist was the way to go.

Then we had the related discussion of whether to teach our children about Santa Claus. After hours of debate, we decided we'd both have to think on the question some more. It's still been an open question for years now.

Should we teach kids that Santa Claus exists? This isn't a new question, by any means. But it's now motivated by this thread about rationalist origin stories. Note that many of the posters mark the 'rationalist awakening' as the time they realized God doesn't exist. The shock that everybody, including their parents, were wrong and/or lying to them was enough to motivate them to pursue rationality and truth.

If those same children were never taught about God, Santa Claus, and other falsehoods, would they have become rationalists, or would they have contented themselves with playing better video games?  If the child never realized there's no Santa Claus, would we have a reason to say, "You're growing up and I'm proud of you"?