An Atheist’s thoughts about Thanksgivingby Don Lacey on Nov. 20, 2012, under Atheism, Critical Thinking, Education, Ethics, Freethought, History, Logic, Reason, Science, That's Life!
Thanksgiving has been a part of my life since my earliest memories. There were times when the family went out to a big feast and times when the family would gather and the women spent the day preparing the feast while the men watched football on TV. They were pleasant gatherings mostly and a few that were less than the “Norman Rockwell” ideal. Nearing 60, I have fewer Thanksgivings ahead of me than behind me but that is probably for the best. Now it’s just me and the wife. It’s hard finding a turkey for two. This year’s turkey looks like a huge chicken and we’ll probably be having leftovers for a week but it still will be great to get pleasantly stuffed and enjoy the tryptophan induced sudden nap in front of the TV watching A Christmas Story for the umpteenth time. I’ll make sure that I listen to Alice’s Restaurant first.
But that’s not the point of Thanksgiving. The clue is in the name. As an Atheist I have no god to thank but there are plenty of others that deserve my thanks.
I thank all the people that came before me. I also thank all the people that are still here working to make life a more pleasant experience. I thank the first humans that decided to cooperate with each other and pool their resources and skills. We owe most of what we have now to those first altruistic efforts. I thank those that decided to work to understand the world around them—the scientist and the engineer that applied that knowledge for our benefit. I thank early leaders, traders, and builders. I appreciate the development of farming and the people that made that happen. I thank the people who chose to protect others through their service—the sentry and the soldier. I thank the well paid and most especially the volunteers. If my parents were still alive, I’d thank them for providing and protecting my life when I was too weak and too ignorant to be on my own. I’d thank them for all the lessons they taught me—some on purpose and some by accident—because they made me the man I am now.
On Thanksgiving nine years ago, my life would have ended if not for the efforts of the doctors, nurses, and all the people that took care of me at St. Joseph’s Hospital. I thank them for keeping me alive that day fixing my heart so I could live a little longer. I thank the firemen and women that drove me in the ambulance to St. Josephs and the support the neighbors gave my wife. But I can’t stop there. I have to thank the creator of the stents and the inventor and builder of the fluoroscope that guided the doctor’s hand when he manipulated the catheter to place the stents. I give thanks to those that educated the professionals that worked on me that day and all the support staff that allows them to do their job…I can’t chalk it up to God’s work. I don’t know there is a god. However, I do know that there are real people with real lives that I owe a lot of thanks to.
Finally, I’d like to thank the Catholic priest that came by to offer what help he could but understood when I told him I didn’t need to talk with him.