A Thanks Worth Giving
All across America people are getting ready to prepare a great feast to celebrate what has become a very big and important holiday that is celebrated not just in America, but worldwide. It's important for many reasons. The first and most important is that it makes family get together and think about all the good things in their life. It forces them to stop worrying and think positive. This can bring nothing but good!
It is also important to the economy. Our economy revolves around holidays. Anyone who's been to the grocery store at Thanksgiving can attest to this! It is a madhouse right up to and now including the day! People, in typical human fashion, tend to wait till the last minute to get their shopping done. This makes for the busiest day of the year!
Now when all is said and done and the meals have been made, the table is set and everyone is sitting in their chair, a curious thing happens. The theists, before eating, thank their imaginary friend in the clouds for all that is set before them! They go on and on about how she or he or it or them have provided all this wonderful food and without this deity none of this would have been possible. Say what?!
Talk about misdirected appreciation! Instead of thanking who is really deserving, the invisible sky daddy gets all the credit! I've sat through many a prayer in my former Chrisitan days and not once did I hear the true "beings" get thanked. Not once!
This was all completely normal at the time, though. It was the way it was supposed to be. If my parents did it and their friends and my friends did and well, if in my little world I thought that everyone did it -- how could it be wrong? This reasoning is called the argument from popularity. It is also called in much less flattering terms, the herd mentality.
The individual in the group wants to be like the rest. He wants to be liked and accepted by his peers. He wants to fit in. In this way superstition has been passed on.
No matter how silly they may appear to an outsider, customs and beliefs are held to a great degree just because they are popular. They know they if they try to go against the grain and reject these traditions then they will face a tough road ahead. And so the misdirected appreciation has gone on.
Not with me. For me it ended years ago when I realized that all gods and goddesses are just products of man's imagination. They have never been proven and can be and have been disproven by many a great freethinker in America. To them I direct my first thanks. Without them I might still be thanking an invisible man in the clouds -- and this article never would have been written!
So, who else should we be thanking? Well, the list is nearly endless! We should thank our armed forces for keeping this nation safe. Without their tireless efforts we would constantly be in danger of attack. Our enemies wouldn't have to sneak in terrorist to use our own resources against us. Without our defenses anyone could attack us at any time. Be it with missiles, or fighter jets or invading armies, we would be at the mercy of our attackers.
We should thank all the farmers who grew the fruits and vegetables that grace our plates. Without them we wouldn't have sweet potatoes. Without those we would never have sweet potato pie or candied yams. Without them we wouldn't have cranberries or cranberry sauce. Without them the apples would never have grown in enough abundance to provide us with so many delicious apple pies. Without the constant tilling of the earth and planting of the seed one of what we take for granted would be available.
We should thank all the farmers who raised the turkeys that become the centerpiece of our feasts. Without them we would have to raise our own birds, feeding them and taking care of them, till they were full grown at which point it would be up to us to kill them. After that we would have to pluck them and gut them. And then, after all that was done, then you could start cooking!
We should thank the multitudes of companies who now make our food for us. They make our pies. They make our biscuits. They cut up or green beans and shuck our corn. They slice our carrots and peel our potatoes. Almost anything nowadays can be bought frozen. For that we should definitely be thankful...to the companies and the people who make up them, that is.
For anyone drinking wine with their holiday meal, they should be thankful to the men and women of the vineyards. They tilled the ground and seeded it. They painstakingly made sure the plants thrived and produced the finest grapes. They crushed the grapes and collected the juice, putting it through the various and time-consuming methods that eventually produce wine.
We should be thankful that our employers hired us. Without them we wouldn't have the money to buy all these wonderful things to eat on this joyous day. We wouldn't have the money to have the phone to talk to our relatives who couldn't make it. We never would have had the money to buy the TV that we so happily watch. We would have nothing but what was given to us.
We should be thankful to all our friends who have stood by us in good times and in bad. Without them our paths would have been much harder. Without them our lives would not have been filled with so much laughter and joy. We would not have seen life through there eyes and would have never grown because of it.
We should be thankful to our families who have been there as far back as we can remember. Who we have many cherished memories with. Who sheltered us and told us everything would be all right. Who healed our wounds and encouraged us when we were down. And most recently, cooked or helped cook the meal we are about to enjoy!
And to those of you are with a special someone, you should be thankful that they have chosen you over all the rest, to be with. You be thankful that they love you despite your bad habits and a few less than desirable personality traits. You should be thankful to them knowing that there are many, many lonely people out there who dream of having what you have everyday.
And while this list is far from complete and there are still many of people that could be thanked, I will end with just one more very important thank you. I thank my parents for being brave enough to have children and tough it out through all the hardships we put upon them through growing up. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for being there for my sister and I when we needed them.
All this without thanking an imaginary friend. And that's the way it should be. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.