Today is Thanksgiving, a uniquely American holiday where people are supposed to reflect on what they have and be thankful for it. While the original Pilgrims certainly had a religious take on the whole thing, there is nothing specifically religious about the modern American holiday of Thanksgiving.
But try telling that to some Christians who are altogether upset that atheists might be celebrating the holiday. After all, how can you possibly be thankful for anything without thanking God? They just can’t get it through their heads that their imaginary friend doesn’t have his fingers in everyone’s pie and therefore, has to be groveled before whenever something good happens.
That’s just not what Thanksgiving is all about, unless you’re an idiot. Thanksgiving, like most holidays these days, is about spending time with family, having a big meal and enjoying yourself. Any religious significance for most holidays these days has gone the way of the dodo, or has been minimized to such a degree that it’s purely secondary. Christmas used to be a religious holiday, today it’s about Santa Claus and presents under a decorated tree. Easter used to be a religious holiday, today it’s about colored eggs and sugar-obsessed rabbits. Thanksgiving has never been a primarily religious holiday either, even Norman Rockwell knew that.
So why do so many Christians think it has to be? Because they’re conditioned to only think in those terms. Everything has to revolve around God. There isn’t a day that can go by that doesn’t involve debasing themselves before their imaginary friend. It isn’t Thanksgiving specifically, it’s the entire year. It’s sad and pathetic.
What are atheists thankful for? I can only speak for myself, but I’m thankful for my family and my friends and the fact that I made it through another year. I’m thankful for my health, such as it is, my pets who shower me with love and my job, which showers me with money. I’m thankful that the world is moving away from religion, although it doesn’t feel like it sometimes. I’m thankful we haven’t nuked ourselves into oblivion, that a giant asteroid hasn’t struck the planet in a long time, thus causing us to have a very bad day and I live in a country where I can speak openly about my opposition and support for various ideas. And you know, none of those things require me to thank an invisible man in the sky.
So Happy Thanksgiving to all, atheist and theist alike. Celebrate your day as you wish, gorge yourself on turkey and allow everyone else to do the same. It’s not often that we can spend the day with those we love and enjoy just being alive. Maybe we ought to do it more often.