I was asked, "Since you don't believe in [ insert name of a deity ], who do you ask for help or guidance or give thanks to? How do you show your gratitude without [ deity of choice ]?"
Who do I thank? That’s a long list, so I’ll give it as categories:
My parents, grandparents, and great grandparents, etc.
My teachers from the earliest years through college.
My mentors and advisors.
All those who have seen fit to take the time to pass along bits of wisdom so I could avoid having to pick it up in painful ways.
My friends, and even some of my enemies.
Nature and experience.
Who do I ask for help when I’m in need? Another long list that is dependent upon the form of need. Another list based in categories.
Fire and Rescue Departments.
How do I show it?
By showing it. By saying it. By writing it. By giving appropriate tips when such is proper/warranted. By being as good a person as I can be and paying all those kindnesses forward when the opportunity is presented.
I won’t carry this any further. I think you get the idea. There are lots of people in the real world doing real things for others. It has been my observation over years (many of them) that praying is useless and action is effective (most of the time). That giving thanks to an imaginary Guy in the Sky is showing my appreciation in the wrong direction. It was the doctor who removed my appendix, not the Big Dude. It was the chef who prepared my meal and the waitress/waiter who brought it and attended to my every need, not Mr. Mighty. The car I drive was brought into being by engineers, factory workers, suppliers, delivery companies, miners, etc., not breathed into existence by the Great Ghost.
It helps that I don’t believe in anything supernatural. See, that way I’m not confused when it comes to giving thanks or asking for help where it does the most good in real-time.