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Nov. 27, 2022

Thankful I'm an Atheist!

Thankful I'm an Atheist!

atheist symbolThanksgiving (or Thankstaking) has just passed us by and with each passing year I grow more and more weary of what it means to celebrate this holiday. 

When I was a kid, this was simply a time for my family to get together with the rest of my family, eat some excellent food, and visit with each other while playing card games. We might take a hay ride, do some target shooting or even walk down to the nearby cemetery to remember family members who were no longer with us. All in all, I really enjoyed these times with my family and the opportunity to visit with my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmas, and grandpas. 

Education invaded my holiday

As I grew older, I started learning more about what Thanksgiving was and why we celebrated it. Every year, as I cared and thus learned more about American history, my joy over what the holiday represented waned significantly, to the point that now, I tolerate family gatherings on Thanksgiving as nothing more than a reason to visit with my family on a designated day off from work.

It is impossible for me to separate the atrocities committed by our country against the Native Americans and their homeland that we so completely invaded and usurped from them.

While I understand that many people take Thanksgiving to celebrate their family and the things they are grateful for, I can not forget the ideas that this holiday was founded on. 

Maybe we should abolish holidays?

I have wrestled with this idea in my head fairly often, along with the idea that holidays are often problematic and become, either through tradition or cooperate greed, an obligatory reason for people to have to spend money on their loved ones or even co-workers. Stress becomes forefront for people who have financial issues, family issues, or social issues, and it is just exacerbated by these "get togethers."

Retail workers end up pulling extra shifts to keep up with holiday demands for shopping. People working in the travel industry are working double time to get distant family members transported all over the country and the world. Even police end up working extra hours to keep a vigilant watch for drunks on the road (and believe me, I'm no fan of cops!). 

My question, as I've gotten older, is... Why can't we just celebrate every day? Why can't we we embrace our loved ones all of the time? Why do we need special holidays to surprise our loved ones with gifts? Wouldn't these actions mean so much more if they were brought on by no other reason than that you were thinking about them?

In my opinion, holidays serve very little purpose and cause too much stress and harm in their wake. I propose (as an atheist) that we celebrate a little EVERY day and love our family ALL the time. The idea that, because of an imaginary god or some white-washed version of a feast from hundreds of years ago, we all need to go spend our hard earned money on gifts and food for other people is simply absurd.

What am I thankful for?

You may have noticed at the top of this article a tweet which says,

"The worst moment for an atheist is when he is really thankful and has no one to thank."

Having just finished with my holiday obligations and having eaten my fair share of food that was absolutely delicious, it made me stop for a second and consider the statement this person made. It offended me and made me question, to myself, when and what I AM thankful for.

I am thankful every day that I have a wonderful family that is always there for me no matter what.

I am thankful every day that I have a job I don't hate and pays me enough to feed my family and keep a roof over our heads.

I am thankful every day that I have been allowed to think for myself and was not indoctrinated into any one particular line of thoughts or beliefs.

I am thankful that, despite recent setbacks in political arenas, the general populace is heading in a more progressive direction with regard to social and climate issues.

I am thankful that I have the ability to say these things and, currently, not be persecuted for saying them.

But the statement said that we (atheists) have no one to thank. Obviously this is a reference to their god or a god that we are supposed to bow our heads and praise for some reason and pretend that this invisible entity had some hand in putting together the dinner I went to or helped me pay my bills.

I thank my family for loving me and helping me through hard times. I thank my kids for making me a better human. I thank my teachers for helping me understand better the world that I live in. I thank the cashier working at the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving for being there when I needed to run up for "a few things." I thank my boss for helping me become a better worker. I thank my company for supplying me a place to work and a paycheck. I thank my wife for putting up with my bullshit. I thank the people who are kind to me throughout the day for making this world a little better to live in. I thank the people who are working on serious issues to help change this world for the better. I know I'm leaving a lot out, but basically... I'm thankful and thank YOU!

I have plenty of people to thank. It just so happens that none of them are gods.