Thanksgiving is a religious holiday, isn’t it? So who would you give thanks to if not God? Many religious people think that atheists are all nihilists; that we believe in nothing and hold that nothing has any intrinsic worth. It's simply not true. We're human and we value many of the things others value whether they believe in a god or not; our children, our families, our communities and our countries. We don’t thank the ineffable, unknowable and improbable. We reserve our gratitude for those who can appreciate it and who we appreciate; the people who are important parts of our lives.
Austin Cline at about.com, gives examples of who some of these important people are. He includes the farmers who grow our food; the soldiers and veterans who sacrifice so much to keep us safe; the doctors, who help us when we're ill and whose research has given us the modern medicines they treat us with; the engineers and the technology they've created that sometimes endangers us but also enriches our lives; the scientists, whose work expands our knowledge of the universe we live in and makes the improvement of technology possible; and last, though certainly not least, our friends and family, who generally help make our lives worth living.
To Austin's list, I have one addition of my own: the supermarket. I love turkey and I wouldn't mind eating it all year round. That's why I'm thankful for the supermarkets whose Thanksgiving bargain prices enable me to buy enough turkey to last for months!
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