By Brad O’Leary
In 1897, Francis Pharcellus penned a famous response to eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon confirming the existence of Santa Claus.
In light of the many recent attacks by anti-Christian and atheist groups on God, Jesus Christ and the Bible, I thought it would be worthwhile to revisit the piece and update it for our time. There’s no telling how many children have driven by a billboard that denounces Christianity as a lie, or viewed a television ad poking fun at their faith. These children deserve the same affirmation that Pharcellus gave young Virginia so many years ago.
Dear Mr. O’Leary,
I am nine years old. Some of my friends in school say there is no God and that Jesus Christ is a myth. They get this information from TV and so do my two little brothers who are six and seven.
My brothers have been so upset seeing the billboards on TV. They don’t like that their Christmas parades and parties have been changed to winter parades and winter parties. What is so wrong about Christ or Christmas?
My father has read your books and says if anyone can answer this for me it is you. So please tell me the truth. Is there a God?
VIRGINIA, your classmates and your brothers have been made afraid by people who are angry at children who believe and at parents who have tried to raise their children in the best of moral ways. They have been taken advantage of by a small group of people who are affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe what they can’t see. They think that nothing exists that is not comprehensible by their minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a God. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no God. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in God! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your Dad to hire men to watch in the churches on Christmas Eve to catch a glimpse, but even if they did not see God, what would that prove? Nobody sees God, but that is no sign that there is no God. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders that are unseen and un-seeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No God! Be thankful! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood and guide us to salvation.
America’s War on Christianity (www.AmericasWarOnChristianity.com)
God and America’s Leaders (www.GodandAmericasLeaders.com)