As Thanksgiving rapidly approaches, Mrs. Hump is cracking the camel whip and keeping me hopping in preparation for my two sons’ holiday visit to the north country. So I am taking a brief hiatus and posting a chapter from my book to commemorate Thanksgiving Day. Enjoy.
On Thanksgiving Who Does an Atheist Thank?
There are many stories, real and embellished, which speak of the earliest settlers’ feasts of thanksgiving 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 grateful. Instead, I have many days of thanksgiving and many people to thank:
- 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 courage of a great explorer.
- Every Lincoln's Birthday and Martin Luther King Day I remember men whose words and deeds set people free.
- Every Independence Day I reflect on 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; I thank them for being the people I love and who love me.
Yes, thanks are due, but not to some bogeyman, 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 men, women, and children past and present whose sacrifices, foresight, commitment, dedication and love made our country unique, and make our lives worthwhile. That’s who I’ll be thanking on Thanksgiving.
But, if you just can’t deal with reality, and must bow and grovel to some unseen god on Thanksgiving Day, may I recommend Gadura, the Hindu bird god. He’s as close to a turkey god as you can get.
A SAFE, HAPPY AND GODLESS THANKSGIVING TO YOU & YOURS!