To Whom Are We Giving Thanks?

I was reading a blog post debunking several historical myths about Thanksgiving (original link no longer available).  At one point he has this to say about George Washington:

“George Washington, as the first American president, declared November 26, 1789 as a national day of thanksgiving and prayer, and a few months after his inauguration issued his famous ‘Proclamation Number One’ stating that it was a ‘duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God.’”

But the last “myth” he identifies is Thanksgiving is a religious holiday, and he reasons this way:

“While some would like to believe that the Thanksgiving holiday is religious, and George Washington did issue a proclamation bringing God into the picture, this is not only an invented holiday, but its correlation with football and rescheduling to enable better economic performance for merchants makes it clear that Thanksgiving is a secular holiday.”

Then who are you giving thanks to?

It has become a tradition at this time of year to list things we are thankful for, but we sort of read off the list without directing our thankfulness in any particular direction.  Perhaps families go around the table and each member takes a turn, which forces children to think about the things they have and teaches a lesson about being thankful.  It is no doubt safer in our politically correct culture for elected officials, public school teachers and others to say “we should be thankful” than to make a religious statement.  But seriously, who are we thanking when we list the things we are thankful for?

George Washington didn’t bring God into the picture.  It is God’s picture, and we should be thankful he included us.

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
(Psalm 115:1 ESV)

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Jesus Was Not Religious

jesusI’ve said before that the problem with religion is that it’s easier than following Jesus.  It is usually a given that something is wrong with us, wrong with the world, perhaps critically or else just a little off, but most people agree that something must be done because all is not right in the world as it is.  Religion, in most cases, offers us the chance to do something.  If we read the right book, say the right things, act right, talk right and treat each others the right way we can “fix” what is wrong.  Religion, as such, is worthless.  But what could I mean that Jesus was not religious? Continue reading

Defecting to Faith

stain glass crossFirst, let me say that I’ve been reading several different blogs listed at SBC Voices, and will soon be adding some of those to my blogroll.  A button for SBC Voices appears in the sidebar if you would like to check it out; I’ve been introduced to some really good blogs over there including Confessions of a Recovering Pharisee, who shares the story below.

According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, often quoted by atheists to show how quickly religion is failing, children raised in non-religious homes tend not to stay that way.  The New York Times calls the situation “defecting to faith,” and reports that over half of those raised with no religious affiliation will choose one in adulthood.  Only 13 or 14 percent of those raised in Christian homes will defect.  And although atheism has large numbers of “converts” each year, it also has one of the lowest retention rates. 

Link to Kevin’s article here, with more stats and links.