Thanksgiving is a time when Christians take away the credit for the good things that other people in their lives do and give it to their nonexistent god. Thanksgiving is a time when US Christians must thank God for giving them so much when He is starving the children of Africa and developing nations elsewhere in the world, even in parts of America. Thanksgiving is a time when atheists can give sincere thanks to the people in their lives and honestly appreciate the coincidences that have favored them without having to ignore the injustice of the purposeless universe.
Fortunately, Mano Paul’s son’s natural human tendencies have not yet been fully corrupted by Christianity’s evil teachings. He is thankful for his brother, the world we live in, and his parents’ love before he gets around to tossing Jesus a bone. Unfortunately, if he continues his religious indoctrination, it won’t be long before his first priority will be to bow before God, and to denigrate others who thank their fellow man without giving away their credit. We humans are social creatures and rely on each other for help and support. We are dishonored when credit for our work is given to someone else who did nothing. So much the worse when that someone isn’t even there.
Theodicy is particularly salient during a time of thanks. Christians must either willfully ignore the suffering distributed by God’s hands when thanking Him for the benefits they have received, or must somehow twist their morality in such a way that they can view this suffering and unfairness in a positive light. On the one hand, they are at best callous or ignorant. On the other, they must really be thankful that God has chosen for them such a comparatively easy path through this life. They must actually thank God for bone cancer in children.
Our world looks just like we would expect it to look if it wasn’t the creation of some intelligent, moral mind, but the result of deterministic but unthinking natural laws. We don’t have to thank the universe for our blessings or be forced to accept the unfairness alongside those blessings. Neither are the result of an intentional mind. So we are free to give credit where credit is due: to the people who make life living and who are working to make life better for everyone. We can recognize the circumstances where we are more fortunate than others without the moral conflict of having to believe that someone intended for it to be that way.