An Atheist Thanksgiving

My dear friend Jennifer Beahan wrote something explaining what atheists might think about Thanksgiving several years ago and it somehow managed to end up in the Washington Post on Thursday. I think it’s really well done, so here it is in its entirety:

“We give thanks to Nature for all it has provided us.

For Family and Friends who walk with us throughout the years.

We give thanks for those who have touched our hearts and made us smile.

We give thanks to those who have alleviated suffering,

Who have championed a cause,

For those who have resisted unjust laws,

Who have fought against oppression and injustice, and have fought for the freedoms we enjoy.

We give thanks for those who have sacrificed their lives to make our world a better place to be.

We give thanks for those who have advanced our understanding of medicine and science.

Who have helped explain the workings of the Universe.

We give thanks to those who have applied paint to canvas in a way that stirs feelings deep within us,

Who have composed songs which make our spirits soar,

To all the people — past, present and future — who strive to better our world and make life worth living, to these people, we give our highest praise and our endless thanks.”

Well said, my friend. Well said.

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  • Trebuchet

    I would be inclined to change virtually every instance of “for” in that to “to”. “We give thanks to…”

  • Ray Ingles

    And, a la Trebuchet, I don’t think you can really give thanks to “Nature”. We can certainly appreciate the good things about the natural world, but that’s distinct from being grateful about them. (Or, at least, it should be distinct; I suspect it’s another religious tendency of human thinking that they often aren’t distinguished.)

  • rabbitscribe


    Nature is surprised and, very frankly, insulted by your ingratitude.

  • Johnny Vector

    An old friend of mine posted an “I am thankful for” list, which was pretty much along those lines, starting with friends and family and working out to the universe, for allowing our existence. My favorite line was about halfway through:

    “My state, for finally allowing a black man to marry a white man.”

  • d.c.wilson

    I gave thanks to the farmers who grew the food on my plate.

  • freehand

    I appreciate nature for the iron it gives us, which keeps us safe from the scary Sidhe and Yahweh.

  • caseloweraz

    Rabbitscribe: Nature is surprised and, very frankly, insulted by your ingratitude.

    And everyone knows it’s not wise to insult Mother Nature.

  • penasquito

    When we sat down to dinner, I said* “I’m thankful to evolution, for turning some dinosaur into a walking ball of meat with a tiny head.”

    *very quietly, to myself.

    Also, stolen from