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Commentary: Why do we thank God on Thanksgiving Day?

(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) People eat during the annual Thanksgiving Day dinner at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Salt Lake City Thursday, November 23, 2017.

Why do we thank God on Thanksgiving Day? Wouldn’t it be more fulfilling to be able to thank ourselves?

God didn’t advocate a special day of Thanksgiving. We did, did we not? Yes, we do have much to be thankful for, and just as much not to be thankful for. But it’s all on us. God is not involved.

We created the present-day societies that smother and destroy each other along with just about everything else on our beautiful planet. That is our doing alone. God had nothing to do with it. We did it. And we continue to do it. Look around. See for yourself. Humans created the societies that fashion wars that never end. God didn’t. Nor does God end them. We hold both ends of that stick.

After each war that we start ends, and just before the next war we start begins, we thank God for ending the old one. In the meantime, we start another one. It’s us. The societies we’ve formed are responsible for the damn wars, are they not? Isn’t that true? Of course. That’s a fact. A truth. So, what we need to do is take responsibility for what we’ve done. We need to take God off the hook for something in which God had no part.

Presently on Thanksgiving Day, we thank God for our abundances. We were given a planet containing all we need to establish compassionate societies that work to benefit everyone and everything on it. In addition, we were given creative, deeply intelligent minds with free will and the potential for love. All are gifts worthy of thanks, and rightfully so. Feeling thankful is one of the most enduring and beautiful qualities we humans share.

Regrettably, we have succeeded in crushing those gifts with our personal, individual greed. Instead we’ve conjured up a God shaped in our image to side-step our responsibility for the ugly social messes we ourselves created. We clothed that God in our imperfect human, unsubstantiated religious beliefs that we swear are true, and then go about killing each other for disagreeing.

Let us never abandon Thanksgiving Day. Nor, more significantly, our feeling of thankfulness for what we have been given. But, let us leave God out of it for the time being and begin taking responsibility for creating new vastly different societies. Societies so inspirational, so beautiful, so compassionate, so beneficial, so filled with love, that one day we can and will gather for a Thanksgiving Day feast, hold each other’s hands, and be able to truthfully thank ourselves for our civilizations and our day of Thanksgiving -- both of which by then we will have been responsible for.

If there is a God needing thanks, our new Homo sapiens version of Thanksgiving Day would certainly be the way to show it. Wouldn’t you think?

In the meantime,

Happy Thanksgiving!

John Dombek

John Dombek lives in Santa Clara, Utah.

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