God exists and Santa Claus doesn't.
God exists and Santa Claus doesn't.
They differ in two ways. The arguments and evidence offered for each are different; and adults who believe in Santa Claus are commonly considered insane instead of pious (while for God it's the other way around).
Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
This is sort of an odd question as there are so many very obvious differences. For example, Santa wears a red hat, whereas God doesn't have a physical head to put a hat onto. I don't know of any religion or worldview that claims that God climbs in and out of chimneys, either.
There is, in this question, an implicit attack on theism. However, it is quite possibly one of the silliest attacks on theism I have ever encountered, and I encounter it rather frequently.
The argument really seems to flow as follows:
1. Santa Claus doesn't exist.
2. Therefore God doesn't exist.
This argument is a weak analogy fallacy and a great example of poor reasoning. Even if we grant the single premise, that Santa doesn't exist, there is absolutely no way in which the conclusion, namely that God doesn't exist, follows from it.
If this argument were actually valid, one could construct any number of like arguments that would then also be valid. For example:
1. The Easter Bunny doesn't exist.
2. Therefore Barack Obama doesn't exist.
This second argument is no less valid than the first one presented above. Both arguments are plainly false.
Advancing this very brand of incoherent nonsense is a frequently used anti-theistic tactic employed by Atheists the world over. A prime example of this tactic in use is in the very name of the "Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster", a perfect example of faulty logic at work. Every time you use your mind, you are implicitly claiming that whatever made your mind knew what it was doing; you aren't claiming that spaghetti flies.
The reality is that if there were no God it would be impossible to even conceive of such a concept as "difference", and neither would there be anyone around to conceive of it.
There is as much evidence for the existence of God as there is for Santa so why should people believe in the existence of one and not the other?
How does it follow that if there is no God that there would be no one to conceive of the concept of difference? Why can we not be a product of the that current scientific view of cosmology and evolution by natural selection?
1) They know where everyone lives.
2) They know whether you've been good.
3) They reward good deeds and punish bad ones (Santa more obviously).
4) Christmas is a busy time for both of them.
5) Neither has a particularly accurate address.
6) Both are assisted in their duties by an unpaid labour force.
7) Children pray to both of them. Santa's prayers are normally by mail.
8) Neither of them can die.
9) Both have origins somewhere in the Middle East.
10) Sacrifices are made to both. God likes money (it used to be blood); Santa is fond of mince pies and sherry, or milk and cookies.
11) Both are the centre of enormous marketing organisations.
American marketing changed the folk hero into a merry sort of dwarf thing.. Have you tried looking up a wikipedia history of Saint Nicholas? There's sure to be one.
THe idea of deity, on the other hand, is one which is not specific to any culture, nor does it have a first historical occurrence, so far as we know. The human sense of the divine appears to be as old as humankind's other cultural traits well before the rise of urban cultures - I mean traits such as implements to catch creatures, the making of fires, the awareness of the elements.
THat ubiquity suggests we must suppose a sense of the divine played some important part in our social evolution, and that it was survival-positive.
(1) If in search of truth, it is unreasonable to believe in something that does not have sufficient evidence.
(2) The existence of FSM/God/Santa does not have sufficient evidence.
(3) Therefore, from 1 and 2, it is unreasonable to believe in the existence of FSM/God/Santa.
This argument is not designed to show that these things do not exist, rather, it simply puts the burden of proof on the person claiming that they do exist. If you want to come to a different conclusion, you will have to attack one of the premises (or both.) Premise 1 is easily defended, I doubt you will want to focus your efforts there. To attack Premise 2, you would have to supply evidence for your claim, which, as I said, is the primary function of this argument.
Thanks for sharing your understanding. In my experience, the argument has been presented exactly as I addressed it above. If it had been presented the way you presented it, there would be no need to mention Santa or the FSM at all.
Presenting it the way I have seen it is simply a weak analogy fallacy, and that is how I addressed it.
FYI, an argument similar (but not identical) to the one you have presented has been addressed here:
Yes, I think it isn't really necessary to mention Santa or FSM, but some people like to mention them in addition, just to demonstrate an example of something that they don't believe in because there isn't evidence for.
Take care (and thanks for linking to the other question.)
Why start with a presupposition of God? Why not make the exact statement above, except with this minor modification: "The reality is that if there were no Santa it would be impossible to even conceive of such a concept as "difference""?
It would seem that, on the basis of such rationale, you could "prove" the existence of anything. What about the difference between the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Santa Claus? Or, the difference between Thor and Spiderman? Is it really as simple as 'if the question of difference is asked, clearly they both exist'?
This explains the argument:
God: No one has ever actually seen this being.
Santa: No one has ever actually seen this being.
Easter Bunny: No one has ever actually seen this being.
Barack Obama: ...and there's your answer.