A novel (to me, anyway) thought

A couple of years ago, in another forum, a member stated: "“Gratitude is the basis for any rational morality. Start there.” Straw Dog

Easily impressed by the statement, I shared it with others and now, after my recent trip to the edge of this world during surgery, I share it here. Whaddya think? (No, this is not an invitation to arm-wrestle over the claim. It still resonates in me, regardless what position others take over it.)


I really like Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. It’s all about gratitude, eucharisteo, but the idea of it being a/the basis for morality is novel to me (or at least I think it is, taking into account senior memory :slightly_smiling_face:).


Dissatisfaction certainly is what leads to many kinds of immorality as popularly construed, and it is antithetical to gratitude.


I remember the first two questions I asked myself when I read the claim that gratitude is the basis for a rational morality:

  • To whom am I grateful? and
  • For what am I grateful to person?

And I began to see that the list of persons to whom I grateful and the list of things that I am grateful for to that person spiraled around me, from the nearest givers and the most recent gifts, to God for my life. And I began to see that my “morality” becomes motivated by my gratitude and the gifts I have received. As a consequence, I subscribed to the claim more and more and refresh my awareness of it more and more…


Check out the One Thousand Gifts book… I think you would be grateful for it. :slightly_smiling_face: Her poetic prose style takes a little getting used to, but it wasn’t a bestseller for nothing. (It starts with her toddler sister being struck and killed in their farmyard by a delivery truck when Ann was only five… and it’s a book about gratitude.)

About her style, BabylonBee even did a piece on her, and I’m sure she thought it was a real hoot:

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I like the quote. I think it’s true in a very ambiguous proverbial way and only properly interpreted by decent people. Much like “follow your heart “ .

The truth I see in it for me would be something like this. I am very grateful for this planet that God has given us. I’m grateful for its beauty. Therefore it make me all the more likely to praise God for it. My gratitude for it makes me want to care for
It. That results in environmental and ecological desires within my morality. I don’t cut down trees for fun because my morality is to be a steward of the land and ect…

I’m thankful for my fiancée and because of that it makes me desire to treat her well, including being faithful and setting time apart for her and ect…

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Great observation, and a good way to start the day today. In looking at Bible verses on thankfulness and graditude, perhaps found a new favorite:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.


On the flip side i was taught that self indulgence is the
source of all evil

Makes sense to me. Can a self-indulgent person ever be truly grateful?

We do operate based on desire, however. We had a pretty good discussion (as in moderately contentious :slightly_smiling_face:) last week, Is Enlightened Self-Interest Biblical?. Maybe note in particular the reference to Desiring God.

Martin Luther, Heidelberg Disputation (1518), Thesis 28: The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it. The love of man comes into being through that which is pleasing to it.

I don’t know what that is indicating with respect to anything I’ve said. Have I said something that you read as contrary to it or supportive?

No, not really. But struggling to make sense of my own posts, I guess I’d have to say, “Well, perhaps a truly self-indulgent person can be grateful?”

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