The Gratitude Problem

I feel grateful for all I have – for so much.  For my wife, my daughter, my life, my health, my friends.  The beauty of nature, music, poetry.

But…to whom?  One cannot be grateful to nothing or no one.  “Thank you” demands an identifiable “you”.

My wife? I thank her.  And her parents, for having and loving and raising her.

My daughter?  I thank her, and her mother for having, loving, and raising her.

My life?  I thank my parents, for having and loving and raising me.

My health?  This is a little trickier.  I thank the medical professions, in part.  And Big Pharma for developing the medicines that keep me well.

But whom do I thank for the beautiful world around me?  And for my ability to see it and appreciate it?

I have heard some of the assertive “New Atheists” claim that they, too, feel gratitude for their many blessings, but they don’t think that creates any kind of problem for their atheism.  They’re just grateful, that’s all.  They as no further questions.

But I question. Is my natural gratitude an internal proof of God’s existence?  Or simply another superstitious hallucination?   Must I outgrow gratitude to be a well-adjusted atheist?  Can I?

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