Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of the nicer USAnian holidays: it’s very light on the religion and nationalism, and the consumerist frenzy is postponed to the day after.

Still, on the Christian radio channels I occasionally listen to, I’ve noticed an effort to Christianize Thanksgiving—to inject some Jesus into it. Sigh.

I don’t mind if they want to do it for themselves. There’s a certain logic of monotheism that drives it to put religion at the center of everything. It’s just unfortunate that conservative Christians are also committed to spreading their “good news” to innocent bystanders.

About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18095903892283146064 Richard Wein

    "USAnian".

    I like that. It reminds me of something I heard recently in a radio programme about Cuba. A few decades ago, in more innocent times, a Cuban woman living near Guantanamo Bay had named her daughter "Usnavy" after seeing the word on a ship and liking the sound of it!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03979486158632953954 Joshua

    I think Thanksgiving has always had a Christian tone to it. If we accept the story of the first thanksgiving, which most history books have it wrong, then the pilgrims were a religious group of people who came to America for religious freedom.

    We give thanks on thanksgiving. Christians give it to God and family. Atheists, agnostics, give thanks to probably just family and the lives that we have. So if a person is giving thanks on Thanksgiving, who is he or she offering those thanks to? If not to God then by what means do we have reason to give thanks?

    We are gratful that we are alive each day but who do we thank for that? Surely to someone. If one believes in God then he or she is giving thanks to him but if one does not believe in God, then why give thanks.

    I think Thanksgiving has a Christian tone to it, because without God, why give thanks when we have no one to be thankful to?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12244370945682162312 NAL

    Joshua:

    So if a person is giving thanks on Thanksgiving, who is he or she offering those thanks to?

    I'm thankful that I'm an atheist. I'm not offering thanks to some "who", I'm just thankful.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07399982428943387452 Tim

    Indeed, Thanksgiving can be thought of as a religious holiday, or simply a celebration of a bountiful harvest.

    Our personal celebration turned out to be secular. My wife, who can reasonably be described as Deist, asked if any of our guests wished to say a prayer of grace. I was pleased when all declined. There is hope!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02494141255401096538 uzza

    Sure, Joshua, the Wampanoag must have been thanking the christian god.

    To see what reasons we have to give thanks, go here. God's not on the list.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13553416707564115664 Gabriel

    Lets first be accurate with our assessment of Thanksgiving and its religious atmosphere. It is not really debatable that the people who originated where Christians therefore coming up with the holiday was not because of a harvest but because they felt God had blessed them. So before people of our contemporary age have Christianized Thanksgiving the pilgrims beat them to it. If anything there is an attempt to restore what it really was meant for. So therefore when an Atheist takes part in this holiday they are taking part of something that originated with Christian beliefs. Now is everyone who is not a Christian simply an innocent bystander. I would have to disagree no one is innocent given is God does really exist. One could give a moral argument, a cosmological argument, or even an ontological argument for the existence of God. But one even venture as far as Dawkins beliefs his self, he poses the question, “who design the designer?” He speaks as if God exist he is a simply being therefore being incapable of design. His whole view of God is distorted from the beginning and therefore anything coming from that logic is flawed. It would be better to understand from the Christian perspective that God does exist and that no one is innocent

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11532683087210250003 Gaius Sempronius Gracchus

    How did this sort of nonsense become such established dogma in some circles?

    "There's a certain logic of monotheism that drives it to put religion at the center of everything."


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