Once upon a time, in a land not far away, I and a companion in doctrinal crime composed a theological rag known as Rude Dogma. One professor hailed it as “Better than the book of Leviticus.” (Funny, I don’t think he taught long after that.)
While only a handful of issues actually made it to press, we did put out a “Christmas Spectacular” which contained the following letters to Santa (and responses).
My brother says you are not real, that you are just a story and that I am stupid to believe in you. I believe in you anyways. Am I wrong?
Confused, Lonnie, age 8
Follow your heart, young man. As long as you believe, I am real. Don’t worry about what your brother says.
Rudolf Bultmann comments: “Man [sic, Ed.] acknowledges as reality only such phenomena or events as are comprehensible within the framework of the rational order of the universe. Such events are always ascribed to natural powers, or to good or bad on the part of men [sic again, geez, Ed.] or to human wisdom or stupidity.
I want a G.I. Joe Action set and a new bike and a Ninetendo. How can I reconcile these desires with a need to reach out to the poor? Can I somehow get my toys and simultaneously create a new cultural milieu, a world where there are no rich and no poor, only loving, caring humans living in peace?
Shellie. age 9
I’ll do my best to make this the best Christmas ever.
Leonardo Boff comments: In a certain sense it is unrealistic to struggle for a classless society — a society without any conflict at all. Realistically, one can only struggle for a type of sociability in which love will be less difficult, and where power and participation will have better distribution.
Dear Santa Claus,
What’s the big idea with this “naughty” and “nice” stuff? I mean this is the twentieth century, fella. Wake up! We live in an age of cultural relativism. Who can really say who’s naughty and nice? How is one to judge? I can feel the existential angst welling up within me even as I ponder such a ludicrous pre-Kantian dialectic. Why, Santa Claus? Why?
Love Joey, age 10
Santa Claus is too busy loading toys for good girls and boys to respond to your letter. I’m sorry to hear about your “angst.” Perhaps you could ask your mother to pour some Epsom salt in a hot tub of water. It works for Santa.
Love, Mrs Claus
Soren Kirkegaard comments: The paradoxical character of the truth is its objective uncertainty; this uncertainty is an expression for the passionate inwardness, and this passion is the truth.
Editorial Comment: We were uncertain how this Kierkegaard quote related to Joey’s letter or Mrs. Claus’ response, but we felt passionately that it would look good on the page and upgrade our publication. Thus it is so.