I am generally content this year, and I take ownership for my role in this outcome. That is, my present contentment has far more to do with my hard work and my general state of mind than it does with any supernatural entity or even any other person. Granted, there are many people to whom I could extend a word of thanks simply because my contact with them has enriched my life. And yet, these are generally folks with whom I have some sort of reciprocal relationship. We have expressed our mutual appreciation throughout the year in our behavior toward one another, so no further expressions of gratitude tied to any particular holiday seem necessary.
Looking over last year's post, I made the claim that Thanksgiving is regarded as something of a religious holiday by many believers. I offered no real support for this claim aside from personal experience, so I'd like to do so now by calling your attention to some excellent material on the subject:
- "Thanks, but No Thanks" from Militant Atheism
- "Affirmation of faith and thanks giving" from de-conversion
- "Godless Thanksgiving: Do Atheists Have Anyone to Thank?" from About.com
- "On Gratitude" from Daylight Atheism
I'm not saying atheists cannot or should not enjoy Thanksgiving. In fact, I hope you do. I certainly value the time off work (especially given how busy things have been this year). Perhaps there is also nothing wrong with indulging in the holiday gluttony which characterizes so many American households, as long as one can make an effort not to think about those starving around the world. Spending time with one's friends and family can be nice as well, although I'm dubious that "thankful" is the best description.
Regardless of what it means to you, have a happy Thanksgiving. Be content.
Tags: Thanksgiving, Christian privilege, holiday, atheist, atheism, America, religion