The Austin Chronicle

The Luv Doc: Belief Is Magic

Nobody comes to Jesus because of the rigorous scientific scrutiny of the Christian religion

By The Luv Doc, December 22, 2023, Columns

Dear Luv Doc,

Santa Claus is referred to as a "right jolly old elf" with "eight tiny reindeer," but movie and shopping mall Santas always look like geriatric ex-offensive linemen. Which Santa are we supposed to convince our children actually exists?

– Rudolph the Red-Nosed Bar Drunk

Here's the deal, Rudy: Either you believe in magic or you don't. There are literally millions of Americans who fervently believe in a pale-skinned, blue-eyed Jesus. Works perfectly fine for them. Do you think you're going to shake the foundations of their whole belief system by accusing them of a fundamental misunderstanding of Jesus' ethnic origins? Nonsense. Nobody comes to Jesus because of the rigorous scientific scrutiny of the Christian religion. Fuck no. They come for the magic and stay for the salvation. In the King Jimmy Bible – you know, the one favored by all the theological knuckle-draggers too lazy to learn Latin – it says right there in John 3:16, "Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." All you have to do is believe. Belief is magic. Listen, if you told most Christians that Jesus was coming down their chimneys every year with a big bag of presents, they would absolutely eat that shit up. They wouldn't sit around whining about how that doesn't exactly dovetail with Jesus' socialist, anti-materialist preachings. They would be all like, "How do I get on the list for an iPhone 15?" People don't want to scrutinize, they want to believe. That's why "believe" is the sign posted above all your top-notch locker room exit doors. Slap that bitch on the way out and you're pretty much guaranteed a W ... unless you're playing West Lake. They paid waaaay more for their magical "believe" sign.

OK, so it might suck that you can't beat West Lake by simply believing, but at least you don't have to stress about burning for all eternity in a lake of fire, even though that is technically an everlasting life, albeit a really uncomfortable one. Fuck me, how have we not gotten a clarification on that in the last 2,000 years? See? This is the problem: too much thinking. Instead of stressing about King Jimmy's pro-Protestant Bible's appalling lack of specificity, what you should be doing is switching off that rational, fact-checking part of your brain that says, "Wait, what? Wasn't Jesus a Hebrew?" and just trust that blue-eyed Jesus and plus-sized Santa are going to deliver as much if not more than swarthy Yeshua and that jolly little red-suited elf in Clement Clarke Moore's 1823 Christmas poem, "A Visit From St. Nicholas."

I'm not sure modern Santa is even a saint. He drinks Crown® and Coke®, eats at Wendy's®, and is even shilling for Capital One® with John Travolta. That stuff alone is probably enough to make any elf extra big-boned, but so what? You would be right fucking jolly yourself if you ate 132,736,055* cookies every year (*based on total estimated households in America in 2011). Trust me, Rudy, no amount of Ozempic® is going to be able to address that prolific of an eating disorder. Besides, as blue-eyed Jesus would surely say (based, of course, on the unbiased though perhaps maddeningly ambiguous text of the King Jimmy), "Let he among you who is without a disturbing amount of belly fat cast the first stone." That won't be me, Rudy. I am fine with magic ... as long as it isn't being performed by an actual magician or Joel Osteen, because they're just way too thirsty and it ruins the magic. So I say go all in, Rudy. Tell your children that American Santa is as big as a house because he eats all the children on the naughty list ... and you know how to get on the naughty list? By asking too many questions.

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