Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving: Who Does an Atheist Thank?

There are all kinds of stories, real and embellished, which speak of the earliest thanksgiving feasts in the 17th century. In 1863 Lincoln proclaimed it an annual event "…as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” Uh huh.

So, every fourth Thursday in November believers bow their heads, and presumably mumble some words of groveling thanks to their super being for allowing them to have their turkey, their homes, their jobs, their freedoms, their families, indeed everything that makes America good and life worth living.

As an atheist I mumble not.
I have no need of a single day of praise to thank a magical being whose non-influence due to his non-existence has had no effect on anything for which I am thankful. Instead, I have many days of thanksgiving:

- Every Election Day as I cast my vote, I thank our Founding Fathers for their bravery and foresight.
- Every Veterans Day and Memorial Day I thank every fallen comrade and every vet who ever fought to acquire and retain our freedoms.
- Every Columbus Day I am conscious of the contribution of that great explorer.
- Every Lincolns Birthday, and Martin Luther King Day I remember men whose words and deeds set people free.
- Every Independence Day I remember to thank those men and women who risked their lives, fortunes and sacred honor in order to bring this Great Experiment to fruition.
- Every family birthday, every anniversary, and each Thanksgiving Day I am thankful for my family… and thank them for being the people I love and who love me.

Yes, thanks are due, but not to some boogie man, not to some mythical sky being, not to some imaginary thing that hovers above, or within, or about, or below. Thanks are due to genuine human beings; real physical men, women, and children, past and present, whose sacrifice, foresight, commitment, dedication and love make our country unique, and our lives worthwhile. That’s who I’ll be thanking this Thanksgiving.

But, if you just can’t deal with reality, and must bow and grovel to some unseen god may I recommend Garuda, the Hindu bird god. He’s as close to a turkey god as you can get.

Happy Thanksgiving.


JeanneAnne said...

My family is Christian and thankfully the most I have to put up with is a standard 'blessing' before we eat. It lasts about 10 seconds and then we all dig in.

My husband is the only atheist ever in attendance at our family gatherings, and I'm the only pagan hell-bound heathen. We just try our best to get through the day and trudge through the conversation centered on religion, conservatism, racism, or other forms of intolerance. Usually someone ends up angry or with hurt feelings. However, we managed to avoid that this year.

They're all too angry to talk about it since Obama won he election! LOL


DromedaryHump said...

Penny (I assume??),
Given their christian intolerance I guess offering a standard pagan blessing or dancing nekked around a bon fire was out of the question.

But at least you had the enjoyment of watching them self torture themselves over Obama's election...so it wasn't a total loss. Heheheh.