Yes, Virginia, there are monsters under your bed

I have been wanting to comment on this for the last couple of weeks — at least since Macy’s reprinted it in an ad in the 11/9/2008 St. Louis Post-Dispatch — but perhaps it is good that I waited until my more sarcastic side was feeling less provoked.

Personally, I have always found the famous “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus” response from the Sun’s editor back in 1897 to be very annoying.  Here is a little girl whose friends are trying to enlighten her, and the newspaper goes and mucks up the truth for her.  (Wiki entry, here; text online, here.)

Admittedly, I am surely stirred to some extent in my feelings of animus by my conviction that Christians shouldn’t keep Christmas, but I do believe that it is also the content of the essay, itself.  For example, consider this passage, where — after mentioning that believing in fairies is a pretty good idea, too — the editor writes:

“Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn?  Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there.”

Now, while I will grant the truth of the logic that failing to see fairies dancing on the lawn is, indeed, not proof that they are not there, I do take issue with the intent of the comment, especially in relation to discussing questions of proof and existence with a child.  After all, the following statement is just as rational:

“Did you ever see hideous and horrifying monsters hiding under your bed waiting for just the right moment to sneak out while you sleep and devour you in the middle of the night?  Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there.”

So — yes, Virginia, there are monsters under your bed.

Whew!  It feels good to get that off my chest…

7 thoughts on “Yes, Virginia, there are monsters under your bed

  1. But what if we substituted “angels” for fairies?

    Then we get into the deeper issue — one of faith, and Hebrews 11.

    But that’s the Jimmy Stewart movie, not someone named Virginia.

  2. Howdy, Richard, and thanks for the comment. The same thought crossed my mind before I wrote the post (you could substitute “God” as well). However, it doesn’t change the fact that it is an atrocious foundation for proving the existence of something to a child.

    I do, in fact, believe that the unseen is more real than the seen, and reality looks a great deal different (and makes a great deal more sense) when one learns to see the God of All Reality who is behind it all.

    However, I stand behind my critique. And hopefully our belief in the reality of God, angels, and the spirit realm rests on a foundation more solid than the level of argumentation presented here to Virginia. Else, that belief is likely to go the way of a child’s beliefs in Santa and monsters under our beds.

  3. Carolyn

    The thing that always bothered me about the “Santa” issue, was how all through the year you would hear parents tell their children, “You better be good, or Santa won’t bring you anything.” Then at xmas time, you would see all these rich bad children get all the material things that they didn’t really appreciate, and the children that were poor, who really tried being good, get little to nothing.

    Now we are in a financial crisis with a lot of big corps. flying to Washington D.C. in their private jets, or off living it up in resorts (calling it training), etc. asking for a bail out…I guess Washington has sent them a message…”Yes, GM, AIG, Citibank, etc. there is a “Santa”. And like before, it is the poor who will be left with only the “monsters”.

    Just my thoughts anyway.

  4. Jonny was four years old when he asked me, “is Santa Claus real?” Others celebrated Xmas, and he was aware of it. I told him, “I’m not going to lie to you. No, Santa Claus isn’t real.”

    Then he shouted, “I knew it!” I was proud of him. The subject had never come up before.

    I presented that boy before God as a little baby. He has turned into outstanding kid. A star baseball pitcher who makes straight A’s, is popular in school, and thinks about other people’s needs.

    Get those kids off the junk fairy tales. Get them plugged into the real stuff. That’s the point I’m trying to make.

  5. rakkav

    My reply to Richard (above) would begin with: God reveals the existence both of Himself and of angels (good and bad). He doesn’t reveal the existence of Santa Claus or of fairies. Somebody else came up with those fantasies.

    Satan has a superstition for everybody, and typically uses whatever miracles might be required to back up belief in a particular superstition. If you believe in fairies, gnomes, leprachauns, UFOs (sic), one or more pagan gods, an ever-burning hell after death, going to heaven immediately after death, limbo, reincarnation, whatever — I’ve gone deeply enough into such things to know that there are always “lying wonders” designed to support such non-biblical beliefs in the presence of some people’s lives. And of course, Satan can make sure that your life is untouched by the supernatural if you’d rather be a materialist.

    Look, I had to come out of a background (in my family) that was well on the way to making me what C.S. Lewis thought would be the Devil’s perfect work: a Materialist Magician (see his definition of the same in THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS). Yes, Satan had a superstition even for me.

    שלום בישוע המשיח
    יוחנן רכב

  6. Deano

    Wow! That rascal really worked that little girl over didn’t he?

    Kind of reminds of something I heard Richard Dawkins say here recently, “We don’t know how life originated, we just know it was done by evolution”.

    Huh? Who-What in the world did you say?

    Talk about a meretricious argument . . .

    Also reminds me of an old Black Sabbath song . . .

    Fairies wear boots and ya gotta believe me
    I saw it, I saw it–I tell you no lies
    Yeah, fairies wear boots and ya gotta believe me
    I saw it, I saw it with my own two eyes

    So I went to the doctor to see what he could give me
    He said son, son you’ve gone too far
    Cuz smokin’ and trippin’ is all that you do . . . .


    Hmm, with the many sorceries of Babylon the Great, its no wonder that the world is drunk with such a vast array of spiritual confusion. Yeah, I think Rakkav is right, Satan has a little poison to suit everyone.

  7. I agree with Rakkav. The sad thing is that some established churches even buy into the Santa story — or at least parents teaching in church schools do, whether the ministers know it or not.

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