I wonder on this Thanksgiving Day, therefore, what the atheist does. I admit that he may nurture a simple attitude of gratitude for the good things in his life, but does he stop to ask why he should feel grateful in the first place?
Stop and think. Why celebrate Thanksgiving if there is no one to thank?
One of the simplest bits of evidence for the existence of God is the human instinct to give thanks.
What is this strange impulse in the human heart to thank someone?
We stop and pause on the mountaintop and view the expansive sky and we are swept with wonder and want to give thanks.
We see the beauty of a smiling child or the laughter of an old man and we say “This is good” and want to give thanks.
I could continue the list of wonders small and great: Chartres Cathedral or Mont St Michel, family re-united or the leaves in fall, a hard day’s work and the urgent starry night, the crush of the crowd in the city and the silent solitude of prayer..
All of these and more prompt in the heart and mind the instinct to adore, the drive to give thanks.
Furthermore, the instinct to give thanks is the first instinct that leads to something we call worship.
Why the instinct to worship if there is no one to worship?
So why this hunger if there is no food? Why this thirst if there is no water?