I got the following quote in the tag-line of a forwarded email:
“The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful, and has nobody to thank.” ~Dante Gabriel Rossetti
I would just like to say: that doesn’t really bother most of us.
I can’t speak for other atheists (except apparently I just did :), but I, for one, acknowledge that most of the world is beyond my control, and unpredictable enough for me to call it random, or at least chaotic, with a straight face. So when I’m “thankful”, I reflect on my fortune, and I typically thank my wife, who plays an enormous part in my life, and to whom I am always extremely thankful that she loves me and is generally awesome.
Chances are, Greta Christina has covered this topic with much more eloquence and depth than I have. [… Google …] Yes. What Atheists Are Thankful For and Intransitive Gratitude: Feeling Thankful in a Godless World. In fact I’m pretty sure these posts influenced my thoughts and feelings on the subject.
And, just to come full circle, she quotes a friend of hers: “My friend Rebecca Hensler (founder of the Grief Beyond Belief support network) once said that one of the hardest things for her about becoming an atheist was figuring out what to do with feelings of gratitude.” So clearly some atheists do have a problem with feelings of thankfulness, at least initially.
When your internal model of the universe diverges from the actual universe, you have problems. Athropomorphizing a non-conscious universe is one of those divergences.
Interesting grammatical(?) side note: I can’t say “unaware” or “uncaring” because that implies that there’s something there to be aware, or to care, and it just doesn’t, as opposed to my stance where just I don’t believe there’s anything there to be aware or to care. So all I can think of at the moment is “non-conscious”.