AI: Gratitude Without God

AI: Gratitude Without God

Sorry, this one is more like an evening inquiry than afternoon. Woops.

Like the overwhelming number of Americans I will be celebrating Thanksgiving this week. Actually, like many people, I will be celebrating more than once, because I have multiple families that I love and want to celebrate with.

Many Americans think of Thanksgiving as being a religious holiday because their gratitude is directed at their god(s), but those of us who are non-believers often also celebrate Thanksgiving. We may not use the holiday to express gratitude to a supernatural being, but that does not mean we do not feel and express gratitude anyway.

I use Thanksgiving as a time to reflect upon the things I have in my life that bring me joy and comfort. Sometimes the gratitude that I feel is directed at a person directly – I am grateful to my mother for cooking a beautiful and delicious meal each year. Sometimes I am thankful in a less directed way, such as being incredibly happy that I have a cute healthy cat who I adore and keeps bringing me joy each year. I don’t think that being an atheist stops me at all from recognizing and feeling gratitude for the things that make me happy and keep me safe and loved.

How do you express gratitude? Do you feel that it is an important emotion? Where is your gratitude directed, if anywhere?

Benny bounces back and forth between Madison Wisconsin and Chicago Illinois, staying in one place only long enough to take a physics class or engage in a battle of wits with the unarmed. He has, at age 30, finally decided what he wants to be if he grows up, and is attempting to study science during the week while teaching classes on alternative sexuality and gender issues on the weekends. Benny is a queer polyamorous transman, curious skeptic, and enthusiastic seeker of knowledge.
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