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Is Thanksgiving for Unbelievers?

(This blog was originally published in 2014. I did some updating for 2018, but it’s mostly the same. That includes the wish that readers will have a thankful Thanksgiving.)

I was a columnist at one point in my newspaper career, and for several Thanksgivings, my whole column comprised a list of names of people to whom I was particularly thankful.

I had thought about doing that with this blog, which will be posted on Thanksgiving Day, my favorite of all the holidays. But in the interest of privacy, which is becoming a rarer commodity, I decided against it.

You know who you are. You’re family and friends and the readers of this blog, including the people to whom I send weekly e-mails about the posts, my Facebook friends and the unknown number who see it on Google+ and Tumblr. I am particularly grateful to Jim Stessman, my friend and former newspaper colleague, for looking these blogs over each week and providing valuable feedback. 

Not Always in the Mood

I realize that although I do all I can to make them readable, you may not always be in the mood to read them. The topic requires thoughtfulness and a willingness to look inward. For our own mental health, that’s not something we may always want to do.

You might be interested to know that, according to Blogger, I’ve had just under 41,000 page views since starting this blog in the summer of 2013. With 281 blogs posted so far, page views average 146 per week. That’s far from “viral” but I’ll take it gratefully. One thing that I would like is more feedback, which readers can do from the blog site or by sending me an e-mail at carneyconsulting@msn.com.

As the plug under the blog’s title says, Skeptical Faith is a “discussion of faith, belief and religion for people who have given up on God and/or religion. It’s meant to show that faith and skepticism are not mutually exclusive.”

Along with Pope Francis, I don’t believe believers and non-believers are natural enemies. We’re fellow seekers of God, even though non-believers may not describe the object of their search in that way.

So why don’t people like me just leave the non-believers be? First, because like the woman in the gospel who sweeps her house and finds a valuable coin that she had lost and when she finds it calls together her neighbors to rejoice with her, I feel compelled by my faith to share the joy and peace that faith has brought me. People are free to read it or not.

Second, I believe that many non-believers have as much doubt about their disbelief as many believers do about their faith. I might be able to shed some light on the subjects of faith and doubt.

One of the reasons I like Thanksgiving is that all of us, believers and non-believers, can share in the gratitude the holiday signifies. We all have much to be grateful for, even if we may disagree about where to direct our gratitude.

For Life Itself

Most believers are, first of all, grateful to God, the prime mover, the ultimate creator, our Father/Mother. And we’re grateful for our brothers and sisters, in and outside the faith. I think most non-believers are thankful, among other things, for the people in their lives and for life itself. So being grateful is something we can share.

Here’s hoping that we can relax and gratefully share this holiday with whomever we’re with, and that believers and non-believers come closer to the object of our search.

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