Mm… Thanksgiving. One of the best times of the year. No school, large meals, friends, family… and thankfulness.
So, I take it upon myself to share the short list of things that I’m thankful for.
1. Richard Dawkins
No, seriously. I know the man is hated, but he spontaneously offered to get me in touch with a speaker from his foundation to come speak to my CFI-On Campus group. I’ve been thinking about bringing one in for some time but I didn’t think we’d have the funds to do so. That’s a random act of kindness right there. Dawkins > Falwell. That, and his books have really helped me appreciate life and science even more than I used to. I’ve always liked science, and I’ve never been emo, so that’s saying something.
2. Living in a non-third-world country
I get to spend my time reading, watching TV, and doing fun stuff… Other people have to sit on a street corner and beg all day. Not only do I live in the States, I also have parents who provide me with food, a roof, and all the other comforts…
3. Living now, as opposed to in the Dark Ages
Technically, if I were living in the Dark Ages, they couldn’t kill me for being an Atheist for another two years until I turned sixteen, but I’m still glad that I live in a time when I don’t necessarily have to worry about someone trotting out an antiquated blasphemy law. Well, at least I hope they don’t. All I have to put up with is the awkward silences and the dirty looks… not the angry mobs with torches and pitchforks. Also, I have the benefit of living in a time when the scientific method has been developed. Not only are my living conditions greatly improved, but I also understand the world and get to experience the reality of it without having to fill in every blank with “God did it, God did it, God did it.” Most people don’t take advantage of this… *cough* Creationists *cough*
4. Ice Cream
5. Chocolate, especially in the form of brownies and cookies.
6. Rainbows, and other pretty things.
7. Being alive.
I think that that covers it in a nut shell…
The last thing I want to talk about is this…
The definition of thankfulness if not only to express gratitude, but to hold responsible for. What the dictionary means by that is like… when you say “thank you” or something… What I’d like to point out is that I often hear people say “I thank God for saving me from cancer” or “thank God for ______.” What I see especially often is people saying grace before eating their food. They used to make me do it in Girl Scouts and often overreacted whenever I started eating before they said it…
“OH MY GOD! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!? THEY HAVEN’T SAID IT YET! BAD BAD BAD!”
I eventually learned to restrain myself from picking up little crumbs and eating them just to be amused by their reactions, but the main issue I had with saying grace was that it seemed to take the credit away from the person who actually brought the snack. The grace we most commonly said went along the lines of this…
“We thank you for our food, Lord. Our family, friends, and you, Lord. We thank you for our food, Lord, to get us through the day.”
Of course, God did not just put everything in front of you. Normally, some organism (plant, or animal) had to be grown for a long period of time, before it was killed, and shipped off to your store. Somebody had to work for x amount of time to gain the money necessary to purchase the food, and then possibly had to work for x amount of time to prepare it so that it would be edible and tasty. You can thank your family for being kind and caring (at least, I hope that yours are), and your friends for being your friends.
The point is, to be truly thankful, I think you have to thank the right people and right things… and sometimes there isn’t really a reason why you have something to be thankful for except luck. Instead of thanking God for the vaccine that kept you from getting polio, thank medical science. Instead of thanking God for your food, thank your parents or food provider, or yourself if you provided the food. If you have something to be thankful for, there often is a person directly responsible for it. Don’t deprive them of credit.