After the Meal 2: Thanksgiving and Atheism

Implicit in the term thanksgiving is the admission that there is someone to whom we are to be thankful.  The one who insists that there is no God really has no grounds for the concept, for to whom is the atheist thankful?  The uncaring and hostile universe that supports (at the moment) his very existence?  The forces of chance?  The evolutionary “process”?  In actuality, thanksgiving is reduced to “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die” and “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”.  It certainly is the descent of man. 


About C. M. Granger

I'm a firm believer in God's sovereignty, man's responsibility, and a gracious orthodoxy. I love the Puritans and the Reformers, but I don't believe our understanding of theology reached it's zenith in the 16th and 17th centuries. I love the Reformed Creeds and Confessions, but I'm not a strict confessionalist. I'm Reformed in my soteriology (I'm a moderate Calvinist), but not in the historical sense of the term (I'm a Baptist). Some of my favorite theologians/commentators are Kevin Vanhoozer, John Frame, D.A. Carson, Thomas Schreiner, Andreas Kostenberger, Peter O'Brien, David Peterson, Douglas Moo, and GK Beale. The list of dead theologians/commentators would be too long to list here. I think it's important to read widely, to read primary sources for yourself, and to accurately represent the positions of those whom you oppose. I believe it's imperative to have a proper balance between systematic and bibilical theology. I try to never make a round verse fit into the square hole of a theological system.
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3 Responses to After the Meal 2: Thanksgiving and Atheism

  1. “The one who insists that there is no God really has no grounds for the concept, for to whom is the atheist thankful?”

    My family.
    My friends.
    The people who worked to make the meal (and meals) I enjoy.
    My employers.
    Charitable organizations.
    Doctors and those who work for medical scientific advancement.
    Entertainers who strive to bring people joy.

    Shall I go on?

    • Hi NotAScientist,

      Going on would be unnecessary. You’re not looking high enough. I didn’t say an atheist can’t be thankful for his family, friends, etc. Anyone can produce a laundry list of things they are thankful for. However, even on that level if an atheist is to be consistent with his own worldview, thankfulness doesn’t make any sense outside of the existence of a divine Being. For where does one get his family, friends, etc? I think you mean something more along the lines of appreciation–you appreciate your particular family, friends, et al. Regardless, I said that an atheist denies what is implicit in the concept of thanksgiving, viz. that there is *Someone* we are to be thankful to. Therefore, he has no grounds for the concept.

  2. Great photo with your post. Thanks for this. db

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