I have faith in the Santa Clause myth, as I have presented it to my daughter. I told her that many years ago, there was a good man, named St. Nicholas, who gave presents to poor people he didn't know. And that on the darkest night of the year,
we celebrate his generosity by giving presents to the people we love.
In spite of the fact that I NEVER told her Santa Clause was real, she chose to believe. On her 5 year old Christmas, she demanded that we bake cookies for Santa and leave milk and carrots for the reindeer. I acquiesced. Shortly after her 6 year old Christmas, she asked me if there was really a Santa Clause, or if I left the presents under the tree. I asked her what she thought, and she became really frustrated. She said that she didn't think that reindeer could fly, or that Santa could get to everyone's house on one night, and why didn't Santa bring presents to her Jewish and Muslim and Hindu friends. When I asked her again what she thought, she became angry and said "JUST TELL ME THE TRUTH!" And I did. She went and sat in the closet and cried a little bit. And then she came out and asked me lots of other questions. The last of which was whether or not there would be presents under the tree next year. I assured her that there would be.
She enjoyed the magic for a few years, in spite of the fact that I never told her that Santa Clause was real.
It almost seems as if we, as children, are hard wired to have this "faith." As if it is a developmental stage. And then we are hard wired to ask questions. To think. To analyze.
Religions used to answer questions that we didn't know the answers to, like "why did this flood, drought, earthquake, monsoon, destroy my livelihood?" and "what are the stars and how were they created?" and "why is the plague spreading?" but now we know the answers to most of the questions that used to be answered by stories of feuding deities or an angry god or dozens of creating myths.
So when evidence contradicts the stories that form the basis of a religion, all that is left is FAITH.
The faith which all toddlers seem hardwired to believe in but which we should really outgrow by the time that we really embrace the reality that there are not monsters hiding under our beds.