Bill Reel and Santa Claus

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RubinHighlander
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Bill Reel and Santa Claus

Post by RubinHighlander » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:52 pm

After listening to the audio of Bill's "Court of Love" I was very impressed with how it went. But there was one think Bill said that bothered me.
BR: And Santa Claus is a lie. But there is truth inside lies. There is importance in myths. A myth isn’t true, but if a tribe stays around long enough, they take those myth stories, and take them literally. It makes those stories to be true stories, even though when they were first created, they were just myths. So, I see truth in Mormonism even if I don’t see Mormonism as true the way you see it as true. Does that make sense? In other words, I’m still teaching my kids Santa Claus, even though I know the story doesn’t hold up, because my kids get something from it. There is value to believing myths, even if for a while you believe them to be literal. We would not kick people out because they teach their kids Santa Claus – that makes no sense. In a binary world we say: “if you believe, stay in, and if you don’t, get out.”
I've never been big on the Santa thing, it just felt wrong to lie to my kids about it, just for the sake of tradition. I don't see any value in believing in myths and therefore justifying lying to my kids. I believe that in the past, when we were trying to survive against other tribes, it was an important component of tribal cohesion, but in a modern age I think we should pursue altruism over tribalism. Just my opinion.

Do you see any value in myths and teaching your kids about Santa? I see value in teaching them about the tradition, but only in light of the actual truth of it and where it came from, not in the pretend magical part of it. Or did my kids miss out on something important?
“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
--Douglas Adams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzmYP3PbfXE

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jfro18
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Re: Bill Reel and Santa Claus

Post by jfro18 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:02 pm

RubinHighlander wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:52 pm
Do you see any value in myths and teaching your kids about Santa? I see value in teaching them about the tradition, but only in light of the actual truth of it and where it came from, not in the pretend magical part of it. Or did my kids miss out on something important?
We do Santa with our kid and he really enjoys it, but he's also had two years where kids tell him Santa isn't true and you can see it causing some issues where he doesn't quite know what to believe.

I think it's fun for him, but I know when we tell him it's going to be a little weird. I've heard people who take it hard because, just like the church, when you find out you've been lied to for years it's always a bit of a shock to the system.

I'm really torn on it to be honest. I get what Bill was saying there but again I think he was trying to to walk the plank a bit in saying 'I don't believe this stuff but you shouldn't kick me out because I can still see some value to it.'

I kind of wonder if Bill really sees any value in the BoM anymore given the podcasts over the last 6-12 months.

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alas
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Re: Bill Reel and Santa Claus

Post by alas » Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:27 pm

When we teach make believe, we are not doing our kids any favors if we insist it is truth. I think kids pick up the difference between truth and make believe if we allow them to. So, for me Santa was never any more problem than any other make believe because I had conversations with my children about truth and make believe, then left them to decide what Santa was. I never lied and said Santa was real, and acted about it like we did other forms of make believe. Kids are smart, and figure out that cartoons are not real and fairy tales are not real. But when we outright lie to our kids to keep the magic (make believe)of Christmas alive, we end up confusing them about all make believe issues and about whether they can trust us or not. We would never explain to our children that Cinderella is true history, why do parents explain that Santa is. Because they selfishly do not want their children to grow up. So, when a child comes out and asks, they lie. It is not the pretend that is harmful, but trying to keep the pretend going past the time the child needs to double check what is reality and what is make believe.

Make believe has the same purpose for children that myths do for adults. It helps them learn about the world, deal with their fears, and learn truth in a way they can remember. See, in Cinderella, the step sisters are ugly on the inside. So, the kind helpful child is rewarded by having the prince fall in love with her. In the same kind of way, Santa is a surrogate for Jesus. He gives to everyone and asks nothing in return except that you be the best person you can be.

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Palerider
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Re: Bill Reel and Santa Claus

Post by Palerider » Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:29 pm

I was watching a documentary on Native Americans the other evening and it was pretty amazing that they had some serious astronomical knowledge going for them. By watching the sun, moon, planets and stars they could tell when the correct time was to plant maze or when to expect the blooming of certain edible plants. In some cases they built their cities or villages to align with certain celestial phenomenon. They had their calenders down pretty pat.

So, some serious science beginning to evolve there.

But all of nature, whether it was earthly or celestial had a spirit side to it. Nothing existed without some spiritual identity attached to it.

And so both in North and South America they ended up doing some human sacrifice from time to time to make sure things stayed in their proper spiritual order. One grave in Ohio? I think it was, had an estimated 50 young women (probably virgins) who had been sacrificed by the mound builder natives.

So there was this admixture of science and myth intermingled together. Things have changed a bit since then but we still seem to struggle with this dichotomy.

Even if we are more of an empirically based civilization now there is still this struggle to determine how our societal norms, more's and morals should develop.

Isn't the definition of secularism the truncating of society from it's morally defining traditions? What do we fill that gap with if there is no defining authority?

I wonder if it would be useful to give a child the true historical backstory on Santa Claus (the real St. Nicholas) and then tell how his legend grew to be even bigger than life and that even though it isn't entirely true, sometimes it is fun to pretend.

As long as there's no sacrificing of virgins involved... ;)
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

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alas
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Re: Bill Reel and Santa Claus

Post by alas » Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:38 pm

As far as the BoM, I think it has the same value as other bad fiction. It has something because it emotionally appeals to people. I may not be one of the people it appeals to, but then I am not fond of Roman mythology either, but I do see the appeal to those who find meaning.

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Hagoth
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Re: Bill Reel and Santa Claus

Post by Hagoth » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:01 am

When my kids started feeling like they could get anything they wanted for Christmas because, after all, it was made by elves, I made it clear that it was made in a Sony factory and was paid for with my credit card. I didn't tell them Santa Clause was a myth, I just gave them some facts to work with. They were able to work out the rest of the details for themselves pretty quickly. I guess what I'm saying is that myth can be useful as long as it's not at the wholesale exclusion of truth.

A friend's wife tried to get the workmen who assembled their daughters' playhouse to wear elf hats because it would be hard for her to explain the appearance of the playhouse as miraculous otherwise. One of those daughters continued to believe in Santa Clause until college age. Fortunately for them, she is now attending BYU-I, so she's probably in an environment where she is receiving the proper kinds of non-critical thinking skills that will allow her to hang on to her beliefs until they pass on, so they will never have to broach that uncomfortable issue with her.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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RubinHighlander
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Re: Bill Reel and Santa Claus

Post by RubinHighlander » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:04 am

More thoughts on this topic after reading Bill's last post on Mormon Discussions:
Mormonism, while not what it claimed to be was the very lie I needed to believe as a young man in order to change my life. For that I say thank you. When it fell apart my loss was so great that I only could express my fracture as a “faith crisis”. But as time went on, I came to the realization it wasn’t a faith crisis at all. It wasn’t me who had something wrong…. something broken. It took years to come to grips that it was in fact Mormonism that had a Crisis. A Truth Crisis. It had built its entire foundation on stories that simply don’t hold up.
Now I see more where Bill is coming from on this Santa thing. He sees his conversion to Mormonism as a catalyst to positive changes in his life that he might not otherwise have had.

For me, I can see a plethora of positive and negative attributes I carry because of my life in Mormonism. It's hard to weigh them all out to see where the scale tips. I can never know where I would be if I had never had it in my life. I do see positive life skills gained, especially in critical thinking and integrity to myself, having gone through such a painful and stressful faith crisis journey. I also know I carry negative engrams, behaviors and thoughts because of the years of indoctrination, shaming, etc.

I still don't see any positive benefits on the lives of children by forcing them through the Santa Clause lie. It seems like there are better ways to teach them critical thinking.
“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
--Douglas Adams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzmYP3PbfXE

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Hagoth
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Re: Bill Reel and Santa Claus

Post by Hagoth » Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:12 pm

I think it's important to remember that children's brains do not work like adult brains. They really aren't capable of adult critical thinking. It has been clearly demonstrated that they have not yet developed the ability to understand concepts like the idea that other people have different things going on in their heads and that it is possible to form thoughts about what others think of us. To a child there is much less distance between reality and make believe, and make believe is an important part of their development. Evolving Brains, Emerging Gods by E. Fuller Torrey is fascinating book about how religious concepts evolved in humans along with brain complexity. He finds a parallel in the development of childrens' brains. We baptize children at age 8 because it is the "age of accountability" but child development research has shown us that an 8-year old cannot really even have a concept of God as understood by adults. They don't have the cognitive processing depth to conceive of that kind of abstract relationship. I'm guessing that God, Santa Clause, George Washington, Moroni, Superman are all the same thing to them. I don't think much harm is done in letting a 7-year old believe in Santa Clause but maybe you should start worrying about the potential damage from insisting that a 12-year old continue to believe literally in Santa Clause. Or Moroni, for that matter.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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moksha
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Re: Bill Reel and Santa Claus

Post by moksha » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:43 pm

Do you see any value in myths and teaching your kids about Santa? I see value in teaching them about the tradition, but only in light of the actual truth of it and where it came from, not in the pretend magical part of it. Or did my kids miss out on something important?
Santa is a delight for children, or at least those lucky enough to receive presents.

Tangentially, the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens always brings tears to my eyes and gladness to my heart. Don't be like Trump and forge a pendulous chain, be like Ebenezer Renewed and add joy to the world!
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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2bizE
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Re: Bill Reel and Santa Claus

Post by 2bizE » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:03 am

The point of this is that if we told TBM family/parents we were not going to participate in the Santa myth and we were going to do Christmas differently, they would be accepting of this decision. But, tell them we are not going to participate in the Mormon myth, and it’s like all life ends. It shouldn’t be like that.
~2bizE

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