An Atheist Thanksgiving
Points to Ponder for Thanksgiving
1. Is Thanksgiving celebrated only by Christians? Absolutely not! Many countries (including non-“Christian” ones) celebrate the Harvest Time. It began as a way to commemorate a successful harvest. Thanksgiving, for most of the world, is actually a celebration of the bounty of a good harvest and a reward for all the hard work that was done to make it so. Although Christians love to make everything about them and their religion, it doesn’t make it so. Atheists, along with believers of different faiths, celebrate and remind each other to be grateful. Being thankful is an attitude; an attitude that anyone can, and should, have.
2. Why Black Friday is so important. This is the day when Christians really start to shop for Christmas. I’m being facetious, but in reality, that’s just what “Christmas” seems to have become. How many days does anyone need to shop? The materialism that marks this holiday is outrageous, and I’m an atheist! Even the original Santa only gave gifts to children. Now it’s about exchanging gifts with the mail carrier, the grocer, and every single person one knows. If not a gift, then surely a card! No wonder the merchants consider this “the most wonderful time of the year.”
3. Who do atheists thank during Thanksgiving? This is an odd question because those who pose this believe that if you’re not thanking “their” god, then you’re not grateful. Atheists do not give thanks to a god at Thanksgiving or any other time because atheists don’t believe in any god. That is not to say they don’t give thanks! One can be grateful and thank those who helped make the occasion special. Atheists can be thankful for those who tilled the ground and brought the food to market. We can all be grateful for our health and our family and friends.
4. Is Thanksgiving a religious holiday? No, it isn’t (in theory). In the United States it is a National Holiday, but true to nature, Christians have turned it into a time to give thanks to “god”. Just before Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a holiday in 1863, Sarah Josepha Hale (the woman who fought for the holiday from the beginning) wrote an article calling for Americans “to offer God our tribute of joy and gratitude for the blessings of the year.”
5. The Thanksgiving Prayer. I make it a point to host Thanksgiving Dinner in my own home. This way I can take charge of what goes on. My children and I are the only atheists so most of the time we’re outnumbered. As we prepare to eat, I grandstand. I command everyone’s attention and make a Thanksgiving “announcement”. I give thanks for the day and the guests. I give thanks for the food and the activities. I remind everyone that Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful and to remember that we can adopt an “attitude of gratitude” year round. I convey my happiness for allowing me to host Thanksgiving and express my desire and hopes that everyone will enjoy the meal. Before anyone tries to “pray” I declare, “Let’s eat!” And everyone does. May each of you enjoy a wonderful god-less Thanksgiving!