Saturday, December 4, 2010


OK, so this is a bit late - think of it more as a Thanksgiving retrospective than a preview. After what was essentially no-post November, I may actually have a few minutes here and there to post this month. So here we go.

I love Thanksgiving. Not because of any of the 'traditional' aspects - although I do love the meal and watching the Lions lose - but because it may be the holiday that most directly illustrates the absurdity of atheism and all forms of godlessness.

We hear so much around the holiday about the importance of being thankful. Even secular, anti-Christian sources remind you to think of all that you have to be thankful for. Yet these folks apparently never stop to think that thankfulness is meaningless unless it's directed: it makes no sense whatsoever to be thankful for some provision unless you are also thankful to its provider.

To whom can an atheist (whether admitted or merely in practice) possibly be thankful for the myriad graces they enjoy? Random chance? Millions of generations of genetic mutations that somehow proved to be beneficial? Uncontrollable chemical reactions in the brains of people they'll never meet that have a butterfly effect on their lives? String theory and the particular variation of the multiverse in which they happened to spawn? Their best possible answers make it seem like I'm hacking merrily through a field full of men of straw.

Consider one of the great Psalms of praise, Psalm 100. I had to memorize this in children's chapel way back in the day, so I'll quote it in the KJV like I remember it. At the center of a great exhortation to praise God and give Him the thanks He deserves, we find this as the ultimate reason for our thankfulness:

Know ye that the LORD, He is God:
It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;
We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

He is God. He made us. We are His. Everything we have, all that we are, is owing to God creating, sustaining, and providing for us. As Paul asks, "What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?"

Small wonder, then, that when Paul begins his great indictment of humanity, he starts by recounting our thanklessness: "For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened." Nowadays we don't just have people refusing to thank God, but openly pretending He doesn't exist. They're trying to be thankful for the gifts without acknowledging the giver. Tragic and suicidal.

So this Thanksgiving - and every day - remember not only for what we should be thankful, but to whom we need to be thankful. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."

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