This is a question from formspring.me. Go ask me something!
OK so we are covered on the god side, but when/how did you figure out the more realistic things like Santa™ and the tooth fairy? And sorry of we are taking away FF time. This is kind of entertaining though.
Even though I'm a life-long atheist, I did believe in Santa, the tooth fairy, and the Easter bunny. But since my dad instilled a good sense of skepticism in me, those beliefs didn't last very long.
I loved the Easter bunny when I was little. I'm half Greek, so we usually celebrated two Easters - one for the American side of the family, and the other for the Greek side. They were usually a week or two apart, which meant I got double the Easter bunny action. There's nothing better than looking for eggs and eating a ton of chocolate.
And when I was very little, I sincerely believed in him. I remember once when I was probably six or so, I was playing upstairs in my room while all the grown ups talked downstairs. The doorbell rang, but I ignored it since I wasn't allowed to answer the door. Then about ten minutes later someone came up to told me the Easter bunny came, but I missed him since I was playing.
I was pissed. Why wouldn't they tell me?! Why wouldn't they ask him to wait?!? Could we see if he was visiting any of the houses nearby?!?! Of course I got a lot of BS answers about how little kids weren't supposed to see him, how I shouldn't worry about that and just go look for the eggs... But that started the seed of doubt in my mind. By the next year I was convinced one of my family members had rang the doorbell, and it was all an act. But since I still received lots of chocolate, I didn't really care all that much.
Everything else started to seem suspicious after that. Wasn't it interesting how the tooth fairy only knew I had lost a tooth if I told my parents about it? That one I didn't ask about, since I liked receiving money under my pillow (I was skeptical, not stupid). Santa was the same way. How could he get to all the houses in the world in one night? Or more importantly, why was his handwriting on the presents the same as my mom's?
My mom's reply? "Do you want presents or not?"
She's not exactly the best encourager of skeptical thinking, but I did want presents. We kept up the act for a while, eventually with me thanking "Santa" while winking at my mom.
My experiences are one of the reasons I think it's important for atheist families to keep perpetuating the Santa/Tooth Fairy/Easter Bunny myths. By learning to work through those myths, your kids will gain a set of skeptical thinking tools that they can apply to other parts of their life. By the time someone was telling me about Jesus rising from the dead, it was so ludicrous that I couldn't believe anyone actually believed it. Thank you, Santa!
PS: And no, you're not taking away from Final Fantasy time. I'm just doing this inbetween grinding. Much...get...ultimate weapons...