How should an atheist behave at a religious funeral?
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05-06-2017, 09:33 AM
RE: How should an atheist behave at a religious funeral?
I recall attending a funeral for a dearest love a few years ago where the odd ones in the room were a cousin with with his wife and three kids. The service itself was perfect - we all told little personal stories and laughed and listened to a couple of tunes he'd requested be played.

We then all did the customary drive to the burial spot where there was a little hole for his box of ashes. We all thought that was kind of dumb - he was a world rambler - most of us thought his ashes should have been tossed to the winds. But, oh well - we figured someone always wants shit to stay the same. Rolleyes

We all stood around and spoke more about our friend and loved one. We admired the pretty burl walnut box containing his ashes and put a few favorite rocks & things around and top of it in it's little hole in the ground. A couple of us happily followed a couple of toddlers around who gathered little rocks & pretty flowers (dandelions) to put in the hole. We discussed the pretty day and the surroundings and where we would all go after for a bite and mingling. It was interesting - this was it - we were really saying good bye to our friend and his absence was truly palpable.

Then, it happened. The cousin loudly but firmly requested that some religious words be said. We all kind of looked around at each other, shrugged and looked at the brother of our dead friend since he was in charge. He said, "Knock yourself out." and a couple of us chimed in, "It's not like S (the deceased) is going to object.". Chuckles broke the slight tension.

As the cousin said some things, he, his wife, and teen bowed their heads while their two toddlers continued to scurry about, loading "the hole" and asking fantastic questions about everything they could think of. Luckily, they were surrounded by a group of scientists and teachers. Wink

We all just quietly attended to the kids' questions and watched "the prayer show", as if it was something on a television. We spoke in hushed tones and weren't disrespectful at all to the somehow out-of-place ritual. It was clearly only happening to satisfy possibly just two people - the teenager looked fairly uncomfortable and kept "peeking" up and around as the parents were praying. He was a bewildered but smiling young man. Maybe this is how atheists happen. Shy
***

Humans all live and die. We all need what we need out of whatever is going on at any given moment. If I'm at an uber-religious funeral, I take from it what I can get and what I might need. I blot out what I don't need so I don't muck up my memories too much. If the poetry provided is of honest sentiment, I tend to concentrate on that: the honesty of the situation.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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05-06-2017, 09:36 AM
RE: How should an atheist behave at a religious funeral?
The only funeral I've attended in the last forty years was simply to make sure the fucker was dead.
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05-06-2017, 09:44 AM
RE: How should an atheist behave at a religious funeral?
I dislike funerals so much that I won't even attend my own.
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05-06-2017, 09:45 AM
RE: How should an atheist behave at a religious funeral?
My mother insisted that my atheist brother be given a proper Christian burial. If my mother needed that to give solace to her grief, so be it. Didn't bother me none and my brother was past giving a shit.

#sigh
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05-06-2017, 11:20 AM
RE: How should an atheist behave at a religious funeral?
My cousin passed away several years ago.
Some preacher spent 40 minutes talking about jesus and 4 minutes talking about my cousin.

I thought, "Perhaps this is a funeral for jesus and I'm in the wrong church."
I looked around and saw family members and my dead cousin. "I'm in the right place. The preacher must be confused."

I left feeling pissed that so little time was spent actually talking about my cousin and how much time was spent talking about a fictional characters death.

If I can, I plan on having a living funeral before I die, so I can make sure it's done non religiously.
After I'm dead the motherfuckers can do whatever they want.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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05-06-2017, 11:49 AM
RE: How should an atheist behave at a religious funeral?
They definitely should go on a rant about how delusional religion is. Tongue

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05-06-2017, 12:59 PM
RE: How should an atheist behave at a religious funeral?
I mostly just sit quietly at religious funerals. I don't bow my head and pretend to pray. I don't stand for Gospel readings. I don't sing along with the hymns.

I'm sorry, but your beliefs are much too silly to take seriously. Got anything else we can discuss?
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05-06-2017, 01:36 PM
RE: How should an atheist behave at a religious funeral?
It is comforting to know that most here are aware of the reasons for funerals and would go for the respect route.

We had a totally secular funeral for my father and people remarked that it was the most uplifting and wonderful service they had ever attended.

I have been to funerals, wherein the preacher ranted about all being sinners and hopeful that we would all get right with his deity if we knew what was good for us. Such a self righteous old prick he was...gawd send worms to gnaw his bones.

I don't pretend to pray, but I love to sing if there is singing requested. I do stand if standing is requested.

I recently told my adult children that although their father wants to be buried at the old country/family church at the beginning of our lane, I do not. They have always known that I want to be cremated, but had thought that my ashes could be placed in an urn at the gravesite. I can't. I don't want to. It gives me the creeps. I know I will be nothing again...but the thought of having my ashes placed at a church is too discomforting to imagine.

My father wanted to be cremated, too, after donating his body to medical research...but our mother couldn't do it. It was more important to keep her sound. So...I suppose, if I die first... NO! NOPE! Don't do it! Do not place my remains at a church! Spread them on the farm before doing anything like that.

Whew...good thing I made them promise.

"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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05-06-2017, 02:38 PM
RE: How should an atheist behave at a religious funeral?
I haven't been to a religious funeral yet, just a couple of weddings and probably a dozen or so baptisms and with my kids being in the catholic school board a number of various events by the school are held in the church across the street from the school.

Like my youngest son's elementary school graduation coming up this month (they call it a "leaving ceremony") it will be held in the church, it will be like a regular grad ceremony... except with a full mass slapped on at the beginning (as always) Dodgy

I will do at a funeral what I do at all these things, sit when asked to sit, stand when asked to stand, do the "handshake of peace" with your neighbors and I will remain silent. No responses, No kneeling, No singing, No bowing, and nothing for the collection plate.

A friend in the hole

"If we're going to be damned, let's be damned for what we really are." - Captain Picard
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05-06-2017, 04:34 PM
RE: How should an atheist behave at a religious funeral?
When my father died, I had already realized I was atheist. I expected people to be quiet and respectful. He was technically Catholic but not really practicing. (Irish Catholics are a strange lot.) It wasn't a Catholic funeral. At others' funerals and wakes I'll bow my head but won't say amen or anything. I won't sing. I won't take part in any ritual, and if asked I'll just say I'm not part of their church.

But, then again, my dad got color guard. My mother, who's not American, received the flag. I figure if she can receive an American flag and not be American, I can attend and not be religious.
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