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Featured Thanksgiving - Who Do You Thank?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Sir Joseph, Nov 19, 2022.

  1. Sir Joseph

    Sir Joseph New Member

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    From the 16th century explorers, to the 17th century pilgrims and settlers, to the 18th century Founding Fathers, and continuing to the mid 20th century, America has embraced Christianity. Though the secular educational system of today won't teach it and popular culture rejects it, there's a prevalence of laws, institutions, monuments, historical records, and quotes we have to support this claim. Nowhere is this more evident than the Thanksgiving proclamations that have been made by Congress, Presidents, and State Governors, with the Federal government alone issuing over 170 of them to date.

    I don't expect many individuals today bother to read the presidential proclamations that are released each year, yet alone the historical ones accessible now on the internet. A reading of the earlier ones though reveals the religious nature that our nation's leaders applied to this occasion. Consider this prime example from the country's most notable Founding Father:

    Proclamation for a Public Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer, October 3, 1789,
    by George Washington - 1st President of the United States of America​

    “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor - and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God ... Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be - That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks - for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation - for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence ... and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions ...to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue ...”

    Is there any separation of church and state being exhibited here? Is there any political correctness or ambiguity for accommodating irreligious people or those of other, non-Christian religions? Is there any doubt of who deserves the thanks, glory and honor for our country's many blessings?

    It seems Americans today are still committed to sitting down with family, enjoying a fine meal, and celebrating Thanksgiving day. But today's suppressed Christian culture has diluted the religious holiday. It's still common perhaps to hear people acknowledge their blessings, to express gratefulness, to even give thanks. But how often are those blessings specifically attributed to God? I'd suggest that such connection is being lost in our secular society.

    To those who sit down this year with any kind of meal or life worthy of giving thanks, I'd ask, who are you thanking? If it's not the God of the universe who governs all things, then what's the point? Giving thanks is only rational if there's a real, specific recipient. For 400 years, Americans recognized and publicly thanked the Christian God of the Bible for their blessings. That tradition continues on today with the Thanksgiving holiday, but honestly, can only be done if God's openly invited to the table.
     
  2. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    Geez. I think this belongs in a debate section, since this seems less about a question and answer, then it does about preaching some version of history no one agrees with and would happily challenge, were this in a debate forum. One would happily point out that America was not founded as a Christian nation by the founder fathers. But they don't teach that fact in religious schools, do they?
     
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  3. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    I view the American Thanksgiving as a secular holiday, as that's how it was treated within the subcultures I grew up with. It was mostly just a time to have a special meal, maybe get together, and that's about it. As a kid, we sometimes went around the table and each person would talk about something they were thankful for that year. Naturally, my parents were super corny and talked about how thankful they were to have such wonderful children... haha. And when I wasn't in that "I'm too cool for my parents" phase I'd give thanks for them too. That's the only memory that really stands out.

    Well, that and the food. We were a foodie family. We cooked GOOD. Like, real good.

    As a Pagan and Druid, my own religious calendar has three harvest festivals and they are during times that make a bit more sense if you're a farmer/gardener. Each of these three festivals has a very distinctive theme. The first focuses more on the harvest of knowledge through science and education. The second is the classic harvest food festival and the theme of sacrifice of life for life. The third is focused on honoring the dead and the legacy of the ancestors. There's a bit more to it than that, but that's the basic framework.

    Honoring Christianity does come into play for me for the third and final harvest festival, which is closest to the American Thanksgiving. My ancestors on one side where Catholic, so I pay respect to that tradition, along with Judaism on the other side. I also pay respect to the Pagan ancestors who predated those Catholic and Jewish roots but sadly I know next to nothing about them.
     
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  4. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    This is pretty generic, religion-wise. It could easily fit in with Zeus or Krishna.
     
  5. InChrist

    InChrist Free4ever

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    I thank the Creator God on Thanksgiving and throughout the year for so many blessings.
    I thank you for highlighting some real and unrevised historical information.
     
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  6. Viker

    Viker Spirit in Black

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    I'm grateful for and feel in debt to those who came before me and sacrificed everything so that I may one day experience freedom, peace and prosperity. Without them, none of which could be possible.

    images (31).jpeg
    slavery-in-america-gettyimages-464757479.jpg
     
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  7. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.

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    I view Thanksgiving as being a shared holiday among Christian, Indigenous, and secular traditions.

    It dosent belong to any single religion or God to speak of. The holiday itself, even as a day of mourning and death weither intentional or accident is an individual determination.

    For me it's a day of establishing a fledgling nation and a day of rememberence for nations damaged making Thanksgiving a bittersweet holiday.
     
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  8. SomeRandom

    SomeRandom Still learning to be wise
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    I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Not American lol
     
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  9. lewisnotmiller

    lewisnotmiller Grand Hat
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    If you're going to give us a history lesson, it's really not appropriate to gloss over difficult aspects of history.
    Thomas Jefferson would take issue with your post, and I do believe he was President.
     
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  10. Aštra’el

    Aštra’el Aštara, Blade of Aštoreth

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    I am thankful for God(s). I am thankful for my family, friends and ancestors. I am thankful for my great nation. Thanksgiving is a time to honor all those things, together.
     
  11. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    You could ask the same about Christmas, which while being aChristian festival is observed by many who are not Christian. By the way, when I lived in the Middle East, I enjoyed the Eid festival even though I am not a muslim.

    As for your point about separation of church and state, I think this is a bit naive. A president "recommending" a public holiday does not constitute enforcement by the state of any religious observance or doctrine. It is that which is avoided in the US system of government, as I understand it.
     
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  12. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Not an American, not a christian, not a theist, I thanks Buddha, Sankara and Bertrand Russell for guiding me.
     
    #12 Aupmanyav, Nov 20, 2022
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2022
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  13. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    I have seen others threads that are equally ignorant, but few quite so obnoxious.

    Apparently you're "God-inspired" Thanksgiving message is no accommodation to the non-Christian!
    • Atheist and agnostics, take note.
    • Jews and Muslims, take note.
    • Wampanoag and other Indigenous Peoples, take note.
    The irony, of course, is that those who sat across from the Wampanoag knew well the consequences of state sponsored religion. See, for example;


    As for George Washington, I am reminded of his

    1790 Letter to the Jews of Newport ...

    Gentlemen:

    While I received with much satisfaction your address replete with expressions of esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced on my visit to Newport from all classes of citizens.


    The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security. If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.

    The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy — a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

    It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity. May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants — while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.

    G. Washington​

    Your sick OP manages to trample upon every decent lesson to be learned from our Thanksgiving story, and serves as a clear warning that the separation of Church and State must remain a treasured principle of our fragile democracy to protect the citizenry from zealots who proclaim a vile message such as yours.
     
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  14. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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    Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday. Gratitude, like morality, isn't a religious intuition - just something the religious engage in as well. Both are human intuitions.

    Gratitude doesn't require an object. One can be grateful for without being grateful to, which is the nature of spirituality without literal gods (symbolic nature gods excluded).

    I put this attitude into words a few years back, borrowing language from the Cajun song Aiko, Aiko (also Iko, Iko), since the song was a regular for the Grateful Dead, who embodied this kind of godless devotion to nature:

    This is a personal belief system called AIKO*, which is meant to represent the gratitude that (this) one feels to be included in existence. The creation, FEENO, is a stunning and awesome thing, remarkable not only for its beauty, complexity and potential for beneficence, but remarkable just that it can and does exist and is apparent to us.

    That anything at all exists is itself the most fundamental and awe-inspiring mystery (AYE-NA-NAY), one which is a continual source of awe (FIYO), and for which we are deeply grateful (FEE-NA-NAY). That existence should be as rich and robust as we find it is infinitely more remarkable. That we were included in it as conscious beings to experience it even more so.​

    This is what Thanksgiving is about for me. If this is religion, then it is natural religion without gods, dogma, or ritual.
     
    #14 It Aint Necessarily So, Nov 20, 2022
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2022
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  15. RabbiO

    RabbiO הרב יונה בן זכריה

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    :thumbsup:
     
  16. Hermit Philosopher

    Hermit Philosopher Selflessly here for you

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    Yes Sir Joseph, you’re right: Christian holidays shouldn’t be public nowadays.

    Current occupational “bank holidays” (I think U.K. has 8 or so, per year) should be added to an employee’s reg. annual leave instead. That way, individuals can choose whether to take, say, Christmas day off, or some other, random day off instead.

    Either that, or all different religions’ holidays should be made public.
    Personally, I think that may result in too much time off and too little time working, but hey, humans are very adaptable!

    Humbly,
    Hermit
     
  17. Hermit Philosopher

    Hermit Philosopher Selflessly here for you

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    Although I do understand (and agree with) what you are wanting to get across, I cannot help but wonder whether I wouldn’t find your post a little offensive, if I were myself a Native American…

    After all, it is not as if they wilfully gave your ancestors their lands. Their lands were stolen from them by your ancestors. Violently.

    Perhaps it is not thanks that you owe the Natives, but rather some serious sorries?
    I don’t know, just reflecting on the post here.

    Humbly,
    Hermit
     
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  18. Guitar's Cry

    Guitar's Cry The "I" in Reality

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    To be fair, she did say she felt indebted to those folks.
     
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  19. Guitar's Cry

    Guitar's Cry The "I" in Reality

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    I am thankful I don't live in a theocracy.
     
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  20. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Yes, Hermit Philosopher. India has 3 National holidays and 8 Compulsory holidays from Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Christianity, Buddhism and Jainism. Then States can give 3 more holidays depending on the need of their people. That makes a total of 14. In addition to that we have a further option of 3 holidays from a special list and 2 to be chosen by an employee, making a total of 19 holidays per year.
     
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