Nonbelievers, At What Age Did You Stop Believing In God / Santa Clause?

This poll is intended only for the people here who meet each of the following criteria:

I) You were brought up believing in the existence of God(s).

II) You were brought up believing in the existence Santa Clause.

III) You currently lack a belief in the existence of God(s).

IV) You currently lack a belief in the existence of Santa Clause.

My questions for you are as follows:

  1. How old were you when you stopped believing in God(s)?

  2. How old were you when you stopped believing in Santa Clause?


My mom, when we were little, was pretty much a fundamentalist christian. She’s still a christian but not so much a fundamentalist one anymore. Anyway, I’d say I stopped believing in god, or at least the god of the bible, when I was in my mid-twenties. I stopped respecting the god of the bible when I was in my late teens, however.

I don’t remember when I stopped believing in santa or if I ever really did believe in him. I’m pretty sure it was earlier than most kids as my mom was a fundamentalist christian.

I can’t say that I remember when I stopped believing in Santa Clause. I think I fully stopped believing in God when I was around 22 or so. I stopped believing in the God I was brought up with when I was 16 or 17 and drifted off into alternate “theories” about God, and then sort of just tapered off into not believeing in him. I went through a handful of religions from 19-22, and sort of just lost interest in finding belief in any of them. (oh, I am 27 now)

Well, first it’s Santa Claus not Clause.
I don’t have an age for stopping believing in Santa , b/c I still believe in Santa–and I have 3 kids, two are teens. Do I believe in a fat man with a red suit who lives in the North Pole? No. But I do think that “Santa” is the spirit of giving and sharing–something this world needs alot more of. I would like to say the same about God, but feel that Man has abused God so much for his own ends that we’re kinda just left with Santa…that is too flip to adequately express my feelings, but I’ll leave it at that.

Can’t really describe my thoughts/feelings on God–still working on that one.

I as brought up un-churched, but with a belief in God. I have sustained and lost that belief any number of times thru my 40-odd years.
Does that help?

I stopped believing in Santa pretty early. So early that I don’t really remember a time that I did believe.

I think my coming to stop believing in God started in earnest when a priest publically humiliated me in 3rd or 4th grade. I was so shocked that a Man of God would be such a jerk (and embarassing me because of my belief) that it suddenly dawned on me that maybe the whole thing was a sham.

I was having my doubts about Santa Claus at about 7, but I desperately wanted to believe that such a nice guy existed, so I didn’t really drop it until my mom flat out told me, when I was 9. I remember I cried.

I can’t say when I stopped believing in God. I was certainly in the agnostic camp by 18, but I hedged my bets for a long while thereafter. This is partly because the idea runs so deep; partly because, you know, a billion flies can’t be wrong; and partly because the penalties for not believing were (I was told) rather draconian. Unlike Santa, I never really bought that God was all that nice a guy: he was friggin’ dangerous. So I was actually probably well into my 40s before I finally decided the whole idea was altogether too absurd to consider further.

I believed in Santa until I was six or seven, when some kid in school broke the news to me. Since I had only learned about him at 4, when I came to the States, I only believed for about 2-3 years.

I stopped believing in God directly at 14, when I found out I was adopted. Without getting into TMI, it was really a disturbing and traumatic way to find out, and I was angry and couldn’t forgive God for what had happened.

I went years, studying and researching different religions, trying to find my path, calling myself agnostic. On September 3rd, 2001, I had an ephiphany. I realized that not only was there no evidence of God, I didn’t believe in him in my heart, and what’s more, I had no need of him. I was happy and content without a god-presence in my life. I was 25.

A week later as you all know 9-11 happened, and it only cemented my certainty.

I don’t remember when I stopped believing in Santa but it was pretty young. I can recall as a kid being kind of ho-hum about Christmas (as oppossed to my birthday) and my mother tells me that I rarely asked for anything for Christmas.

I stopped believing in God in stages. My parents are atheists but when I was little they took me to church and I attended a church Sunday school until I wanted to stop. I was undecided until high school I guess (or maybe disinterested). I can recall a conversation with my mother where she said that she found it easier to accept the beliefs of the natives she knew in Africa than those of the Christian church. I started hanging out with a wacko religious group (speaking in tongues, miracle healings etc) who were really nice people. They pointed out to me how hypocritical all the organised religions are, and seemed to be right, but they were batshit crazy and I began to figure that the whole thing was nonsense. So by 15 I had no chance of ever believing in “God” as churches mean it.

I believed in Santa at 5, since I remember watching TV Christmas Eve and seeing the “Norad is tracking Santa” bit on the news and believing it. I stopped by the time I was 7, when we stopped having Christmas or anything like it.

As for God, I started stopping in high school when I read the introduction to a Bible in our English Book Room which gave the background of the four authors. I first started actively considering myself an atheist in grad school, especially after I read the whole thing through. I was about 22 then.

My youngest girl never really believed - she hated Santa when she was little, and at 18 she still does.

Hey—are you sayin’ there ain’t no Sanity Clause?

I have just had a SDMB epiphany and realised when I stopped believing in Santa. I don’t know how old I was but for Christmas my brothers and I got a handmade Western fort, with gates and buildings and watchtowers and cavalry and indians and lots of things to play with. And somehow (maybe I had seen some of the raw materials) I knew my father had made it all himself. It is one of the few childhood Christmas presents I recall along with the year I got a bike and the year I got a typewriter.

I quit believeing in Santa before I was in first grade so I was probably around five. It was never a big deal to me and the only specific memory I have of Santa is of telling my mom that “Santa”, who had just called me, was my dad. I was wrong and it was someone else entirely, but even then, I didn’t believe so much.

I was probably about sixteen or seventeen when I finally gave up all pretense of believing in god. I had been fighting it for years because it was better to be safe than sorry but I eventually discovered that other people in my small Christian town were agnostic and atheist so that made not believing pretty easy. I didn’t advertise it until I was nineteen or so though.

First off…
Of course theirs a Santa Claus - - if there’s not - who do you think created teh World?

now seriously…

I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was 8…

God, now that’s more of a toughy - I’m still undecided - although I had stopped believing in the biblical God before I was 11 - - hmmm, maybe when I realised that Santa could not possibly be real I decided to look at all the things I was told as a child and now saw as improbable…

doesn’t leave us much to believe in…

thank goodness for the Tooth Fairy!

    • hang on, what’s all these teeth in the cupboard

down on my knees NOOOOOOO!!! - Curse You SANTA!!!

I stopped believing in Santa Claus before I was old enough to remember when I stopped believing in Santa Claus. But there was a time I believed in him, and hte Macy*s Thanksgiving Parade was his showcase to officially start the behaving…excuse me, Christmas season.

I was raised to believe in god, but I never believed in it as a real being, but rather an abstract concept. If I ever believed in it as a real entity, I don’t remember. ‘True Believers’ (the loud, brazen, my way or hell types who really are atypical of believers) have turned me so off of even the concept that I now have no belief at all.

I wasn’t raised in a religion. My father never went to church, and at some point my mother thought we should (she and the kids), so she started with the United Church of Canada. She found the people to be snooty and judgmental, and church services and functions to be more of a show-off pageant, and she switched to the Anglican church. I was an altar boy, and wore the white robe and sat up there behind the organ, but I have no memory of any hymns I may have sung or any feeling of devotion to any almighty, it was just something my mom said I had to do. That was over by the time I was 12. I went gradually from not having any specific commitment to believing, to not believing at all over the next five or six years, as I entered the age where you find out that not everything your parents told you is true, and you start to question everything. Now, there are no circumstances under which I would enter a church of any stripe, with the exception of a funeral - and there is currently only one of those on the horizon.

I think my mother told me there was no Santa when I was 9 or 10, when I asked. There are no children in my life for whose benefit I have to pretend to believe in him.

I know I stopped believing in Santa at around 5 or 6–I noticed that Santa’s handwriting looked suspiciously like my mother’s.
But I didn’t stop believing in God until my early teens (I was raised Catholic, had first communion, but was never confirmed); in fact, I went through a “devout” phase when I was about 8.

I stopped believing in Santa pretty early, I can remember believing at some point, but I’m pretty sure I stopped believing by seven. Like an earlier poster said though, I do believe in the Season of Giving, this time of year always feels special to me [sub]unless I’m in Walmart[/sub].

As for God, My Mom neve took us to church when I was young. But when we moved to California church became a big part of our lives. I was a pretty strong believer in my teens, even taking seminary courses. That ended with a bad experience in the church. I then spent the time from 19-22 exploring various faiths, finally deciding it didn’t matter around 22-23.


I can’t actually recall. I’d have to say at around the age of seven though.

Santa Claus doesn’t really come into it, because I’m Jewish.

Not believing in God, however, I can date back to about the age of nine. I can’t remember coming to the conclusion in my own mind, yet I clearly recall arguing for the non-existence of God with my friends at that time. It wasn’t a very sophisticated argument; it was more on the lines of Adam and Eve vs. the dinosaurs sort of thing.

Later that year, the Yom Kippur broke out, and when we came up from the bomb shelter on the first day, my Mum made herself a cup of coffee and lit up a cigarette. I must have felt some need to remain in the atheist closet, because I remember asking Mum if God would mind. She said “I’m sure he’ll understand”.

It wasn’t until I was 14 that Mum and I “came out” to each other, as atheists. Knowing just how strongly she feels against religion I am surprised she kept a lid on it for so long. I can’t imagine going along with it the same way where my son is concerned.

The party of the first part…

hey! another marx bros fan!