Defending the Faith: Gratitude to our God is paramount

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  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 26, 2011 11:10 a.m.

    The Atheist,

    I have tried reasoning with you. Save for your jest at my ability to reason, you have also been reasonable. However, I constantly must remind others on here that "reasonable" does not require agreement. It only requires that one be able to explain their rational- which I most certain have and can.

    My main concerns with your initial comment were 1) knowing your audience 2) that going to a religious venue to argue atheism is a hostile choice (While I think this paper is LDS, though not exclusively, I even further would argue that this article is in principle the same as a religious venue) and 3) I argue that atheism, unlike agnosticism or religion, inherently is contentious and provoking.

    I merely recap to suggest that defending religion on a highly religious paper is not contending. Coming here to fight religion (as you have here and on multiple articles) is.

    Your motivation is something I have no claim to know. If I did, I would be as nonobjective and disingenuous as one claiming God didn't exist. However, your motivations aside, your acts on here I have accurately addressed.

    I do however, agree with your previously expressed gratitude.

  • ThinksIThink SEATTLE, WA
    Nov. 25, 2011 7:07 p.m.

    A Voice of Reason,

    you wrote: To argue against another's nonobjective experiences only functions as provoking and contentious. If produces nothing good, only seeking to destroy what others build upon in their own lives.

    I think many people post here not to destroy what others build upon in their own lives, but to enlighten. Just as you may have chosen to serve a mission and spread your faith, others want to share their ideas in hopes of making this a better world. The fact that some opinions conflict with your beliefs doesn't mean someone wants to tear you down. Maybe they are hoping to bring you a new understanding that will help you take your life to a higher level.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Nov. 25, 2011 5:49 p.m.

    Voice of Reason,

    "I'm not trying to pick a fight with you."

    You have a strange way of NOT picking fights.

    How was my offering an atheistic perspective on Thanksgiving a problem, and NOT in "...the spirit (if you will) of thanksgiving?"

    Do believers own the spirit of Thanksgiving? Are atheists not allowed to be thankful nor to share in expressing thanks?

    "This is an LDS Newspaper."

    No, it is a PUBLIC newspaper/website. If it was "an LDS newspaper" only for LDS to read, they would make you get a temple recommend before granting you access to read it.

    I have degrees from BYU. I have explicitly stated numerous times that "One doesn't need God to be thankful." 

    The only comments I read being "provoking and contentious" here are yours.

    I simply expressed my thanks to concrete, specific persons. That is what Thanksgiving is all about. Your attempts to deny me the right to express my views on Thanksgiving are hardly attempts to "find common ground" and "work together."

    I am not the one who needs to change my mind.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2011 1:43 p.m.

    The Atheist,

    I'm not trying to pick a fight with you. My first reply was simply my remarking that I feel your argument only denied how well this article addressed what it intended to, but that you offered a criticism that by the very nature of this topic, is incompatible with the spirit (if you will) of thanksgiving.

    My current reply is merely to try to persuade you to change your mind. Not on Thanksgiving, or atheism, but on what constitutes as peaceful.

    This is an LDS Newspaper. Some ignore this to promote their arguments; but with so many articles written directly to an LDS audience, such criticisms are lacking. So, now imagine yourself walking into a BYU classroom and saying "You're all wrong. One doesn't need God to be thankful."

    Religion argues either belief or personal subjective experience. Agnosticism argues a lack of both. Only atheism inherently must always argue AGAINST the others. Peace requires listening, looking for shared ground, working together.

    To argue against another's nonobjective experiences only functions as provoking and contentious. If produces nothing good, only seeking to destroy what others build upon in their own lives.

    Is that not accurate? I believe it is.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2011 12:15 p.m.

    @Bill in Nebraska
    "I wonder where these men that invented the atom, the light bulb, gun powder or anything else that we hold dear got the inspiration from. "

    Uh... I'd prefer different examples, combine atoms and a variant of gun powder and you get atomic bombs, a device that surely is not inspired by God.

  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Nov. 25, 2011 9:46 a.m.

    Atheist: They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. This is from the article. Do you think that you know the heart and mind of Lincoln well enough to say he was just using popular idioms and phrases? My, are we egotistical!

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Nov. 25, 2011 8:53 a.m.

    Re: Bill in Nebraska, I give thanks for the Lord.

    Thanksgiving celebrations descend from a meal shared between Massachusetts Pilgrims and Native Americans in 1621,and Biblical.

    "Eucharist" (noun). The word is derived from Greek( "eucharistia"), which means thankfulness, GRATITUDE, Thanksgiving.
    "The Eucharist" is the name still used by the Orthodox, Catholics, Anglicans, Reformed/Presbyterian, United Methodists, and Lutherans.

    Other Protestant traditions rarely use this term, preferring either *"Communion","the Lord's Supper"." The Lord's Supper", Eucharist is used in 1 Corinthians 11:24.

    ye were called unto the fellowship(*communion) of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.(1Cor 1:9).
    ye might be partakers(*communion) of the divine nature, ( 2Peter 1:4). It cannot be taken in so literal a sense as to mean that we can ever partake of the divine "essence," or that we shall be "absorbed" into the divine nature so as to lose our individuality. This idea is held by the Buddhists.

    There must be forever an essential difference between a created(humans)and an uncreated mind(God).

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Nov. 25, 2011 7:43 a.m.


    There are no atheists in foxholes?

    Is that because it takes a religious person to be a warmonger? To invoke the name of god to justify violence and forcing other cultures and groups to abide by one's own esoteric belief system?

    You may be right. There may be no atheists in foxholes... if only because there is no reason for atheists to be in foxholes.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    Nov. 25, 2011 7:00 a.m.

    Oh how humble! And rightous! And indignant! Without realizing it cuts both ways:)

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Nov. 25, 2011 6:46 a.m.

    To ThinkIthink: We read that God created everything including us. I wonder where these men that invented the atom, the light bulb, gun powder or anything else that we hold dear got the inspiration from. I often wonder how any one can look out of their window and see the beauty of the earth and not know where this world was created. I give thanks for the Lord each time because I KNOW that it comes from a gracious and kind Heavenly Father. I know because it has been given to me. Yes, as I have said before there are no atheist in a foxhole.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Nov. 25, 2011 12:16 a.m.

    How a supposedly "reasonable" person misconstrued my comment to be "unfriendly" would baffle even the great Aristotle, whose philosophicl systems societies have moved beyond some time ago. Perhaps the self-proclaimed "reasonable" one did not get the memo?

  • ThinksIThink SEATTLE, WA
    Nov. 24, 2011 11:53 p.m.

    One way to entertain a thought without accepting it is . . . to not accept it - to entertain the contrary thought. That can actually illuminate the original thought. So, the thought that disagrees with (or picks a fight with) a different thought, is simply another thought to entertain. I found The Athiests post to be a positive, good post. He or she sounds like a good Person. I guess the question is, can you entertain his thoughts? Can you entertain the notion that your ideas about God might be wrong . . . seriously entertain - with your mind fully engaged and open?

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 24, 2011 8:42 p.m.

    The Atheist,

    You shouldn't confuse the intent or function of this article with your own belief that deity is a fictional creation.

    Aristotle said that "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

    I would also argue that someone seeking to be a more virtuous person, to learn, to better themselves, etc. independent of any specific moral system- would not only understand this point Aristotle made, but would strive to entertain the ideas of others continually for their own self-understanding (as Socrates so well taught) and improvement. With this, I argue that peaceful discourse requires that we accept our lack of omniscience and acknowledge that others know, have reasoned, or think of their own accord. That contending with other beliefs, while remaining non-omniscient, is inevitably the futile and hostile choice.

    If you want to pick a fight with those who belief differently, have observed different experiences than yourself, etc. I normally would argue against this.

    But today, I argue that such criticism is only self-serving and in no way honors the virtue of Thanksgiving.

    By all means, this article was more scholarly than your unfriendly comment.

  • garybeac Chapel Hill, NC
    Nov. 24, 2011 8:30 p.m.

    What an honor and privilege it is to be able to tithe to Heavenly Father! I look back on my life and try to measure my accomplishments against what I could have done and should have done, and of all the things I've worked and prayed to accomplish, nothing is so impressive or valuable to me than my part in building up the Kingdom of Heaven in this simple way. I have not always paid a full tithe, and when I have, I have not always been grateful for the blessing it is, so I would never look down on a brother or sister who is struggling with tithes. I can only say that, now that I'm getting older, I am so very proud to have been a part of Christ's work. It is a store of joy from which I can draw when the winter winds begin to blow. We thank thee!

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    Nov. 24, 2011 8:05 p.m.

    Great article for believers. Still belongs on the opinion page, as it is only an opinion and is stated as such, and a God can neither be proven nor disproven. But yet again, the Des News feels the need to put religion in the headlines.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Nov. 24, 2011 6:49 p.m.

    Lincoln certainly used the language of his day, including metaphors and abstract idioms in which resided the trappings of theistic superstitions chared by the common folk. To turn Lincoln's metaphors and idioms into an endorsement of religion is irresponsible and antithetical to scholarship.

    Having said that, there is no doubt gratitude is a significant and essential emotion and healthy state of mind for the human soul.

    As such, I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to my Creators: my mother and father, who gave me life.

    I express my gratitude to my "Saviors": the physicians and staff who ministered to me to save me from a dire illness as a youth.

    I express my thanks also to those sources of Providence: the bounty my family and I enjoy because of those who have gone before and built the institutions that provide the prosperous way of life we enjoy in America. And this thanks extends to those who, as heroic members of our military, put their lives in jeopardy in order to protect our way of life from enemies, both foreign and domestic.

    [and no god required]

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 24, 2011 4:47 p.m.


    When you were a child, did your parents teach you to say "thank you" after someone did something nice for you?

    Being thankful in many ways translates into actions. Many people take and never want to give themselves. I have experienced in my line of work that I have helped others and all too often I find that they are unwilling to help themselves. In many cases refusing to help others even more needy. I've heard things like "I've got too much on my plate" when at the time I helped them, I had so much more on my own. That attitude is more than a mentality, it is something that affects our lives and that of those around us.

    God 'commanding' isn't some kind of ruthless dictatorship, but a proclamation of what is morally right. He commands us to be kind to each other. Is that not conducive of goodness in any system of morality? Commanding that thankfulness is good and upright, that we should praise him is something I agree with. My praising Him isn't blind worship. It's an act of love and devotion to those who've given me so much. Selflessness and charity aren't imposing.

  • ThinksIThink SEATTLE, WA
    Nov. 24, 2011 4:07 p.m.

    A perfect being would have no desire to be worshipped. To desire or request worship of oneself is a sign of an out of control ego, not a perfect being. Most of us, as very imperfect beings, understand and know that we don't expect or look for some gratitude or expression of thanks when we give something or do something for someone; we simply do it to bring joy or fulfillment to another's life. I can't imagine God, in whatever form it may take, operating at a lower level than many people on earth operate today. Just an opinion.

  • ThinksIThink SEATTLE, WA
    Nov. 24, 2011 3:50 p.m.

    The article draws some odd inferences from Lincoln's statement. First, Lincoln never referred in the statement to God as a "Person." Second, Lincoln never referred in the statement to God as an "authority." It seems the author of this article is working hard to twist Lincoln's words to fit his own concepts of God. I've never read anything by or about Lincoln where he referred to God as a Person.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    Nov. 24, 2011 3:46 p.m.

    This is a great article, and there are many benefits for gratitude. A grateful heart is a generous heart. Gratitude is a sign of a noble soul, and more. I'm grateful for many blessings, and for wonderful examples in ancestors and their connections who contributed to our settlement of this land, and have seen our nation through many perilous times. President Lincoln and my (Two) great-grandfather were second cousins, both of whom endured unimaginable trials during the War Between the States, just as there have been many other tough times in history. I'm thankful we still have a nation.

  • S.Andrew Zaelit Deseret, UT
    Nov. 24, 2011 1:00 p.m.

    I can't imagine God being happy about His children ignoring Him as they count their blessings. May He keep and bless us all as we take full measure of our lives. May He grant us strength to overcome, and the compassion to become better fathers, mothers, husbands, sons, and daughters.

  • Jere D Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 24, 2011 12:24 p.m.

    Wonderful piece. A reminder of Him, to whom we owe our thanks, and the purpose of Thanksgiving.

  • Kevin Surrey, BC
    Nov. 24, 2011 11:47 a.m.

    to: Dennis | 9:02 a.m. Nov. 24, 2011

    God only wants for us to be perfect like He is. Gratitude is a form of humility. We worship God because he created us and loves us perfectly. He has set the plan of salvation for all to follow if they choose. We cannot change the requirements to get into Heaven and rightly so. Having faith is a perfect and living God will help to increase our gratitude for everything he has done and continues to do for us. How blessed we are to have be loved so much.

  • Gracie Boise, ID
    Nov. 24, 2011 10:10 a.m.

    We're studying Revelation in Sunday School this month. This morning while reading I was struck with the realization that, in spite of the goodness of most of the cited churches for which John was to write, they still had serious sins needing repentance. The leaders of each of the churches were then, as they are today, held to a very high standard in order for the members to be able to function within them in entirely appropriate ways. Mostly good wasn't good enough. Now, after all, is our time to learn as much as we can about how to live in worlds of perfection beyond this life, to come to desire Ultimate Love and all its requirements and blessings through purging ourselves of anything less. It's not "silly" to learn gratitude. God doesn't become less of Himself if we don't make the grade. His love is known to those who follow Him, who come to recognize they cannot bear even imagining eternal life in any other manner than His own because it equals Divine Happiness. We have earthly parallels as to how true gratitude, or lack the of it, feels. Why choose the latter on purpose, or by default?

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Nov. 24, 2011 9:42 a.m.

    Too many look upon the commandments of God as restrictions and as sort of obstacle course through which we must navigate for the amusement of some incomprehensible being.

    Scientists are already beginning to understand the health benefits (both emotional and physical) of being thankful. God directs us, not to enslave us, but to save us from problems that we could otherwise avoid.

    How much better would society be if people respected God and thus followed his counsel. If youth then respected their parents, if no one took what didn't belong to them, killed, lied, cheated on their spouses, rested at least one day of the week and focused on gratitude instead of bitterness, and of course, the list goes on.

    I am truly thankful to God, and not because I am forced to be so.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Nov. 24, 2011 9:02 a.m.

    I'm not sure why any "God" would require imposed gratitude or worship. It's silly to me.

  • mominthetrenches South Jordan, Utah
    Nov. 24, 2011 8:43 a.m.

    Thank you for running this article--I am printing if off and bringing it to share for our Thanksgiving dinner this afternoon!

  • freewill duchesne, UT
    Nov. 24, 2011 8:36 a.m.

    he forgot to mention that people were starving to death because they couldnt keep the food they raised, it had to go into a community ;basket; sort of speak, then that year it ended and people could keep all they raised, there was such and abundence of food that they had a big feast,and that is where thanksgiving came from.