atheist funeral?

How is an atheist funeral held? Not in a church, right. No prayer? Is it just held at the funeral home? What kind of servcie is it?

Update:

ok sleestack...I just about choked on my lunch!!

17 Answers

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  • Pico
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    A funeral home is enough. I suppose it's mostly up to the surviving members of the family though. If someone wanted a prayer, it would also be more for the mourners. The atheist would most likely need to leave specific instructions if they didn't want anything religious involved. If the atheist was baptized early in life the family might drag a church into it if they really wanted. I've had non-religious friends who have died but their family had Mass of Christian Burial for them since they were originally Catholic. I know a lot of people who have it at a funeral home anyway even if they are religious. My grandfather was Catholic so we had a priest come to the funeral home. An atheist could just have family members or friends speak instead.

  • 1 decade ago

    The beauty of an atheist funeral is that it can be anything at all. There are no religious proscriptions to limit the form of its expression. It is all about how the survivors wish to remember. There may be some concessions to the feelings of some loved ones but that is no different than life. Civil health laws must also be satisfied, but that's just common sense. Ceremonies can be held at a funeral home, gravesite, wherever the law permits, or not at all. A presider is necessary for simple decorum, but it need not be a "minister". A respected family member or friend will do. Believers will likely pray spontaneously. Atheists will simply share memories and feelings. (Hopefully, everyone will respect each other.) Readings, emblems, symbolic actions or whatever else comes to mind should be for the consolation of those present but not dictated by any tradition.

    An atheist's funeral is for those who remain. Even the deceased does not have to be pleased, since there is now no one to be pleased. Honoring of the body, cremation, natural decomposition, whatever is done with the physical remains is up to survivors. (Hopefully, it won't be rendered into some garish souvenir-monument but oh well.) The same is true for the memories. A funeral is an opportunity for others to frame a person's life and contemplate its unique significance for each. (This is true for all funerals.) All wounds heal but scars will remain. A funeral is a chance to doctor them as well as possible.

    An atheist's funeral presents an opportunity for people to contemplate the value of life without the burden of an incomprehensible reward/punishment system. We think, we plan, we remember, and individually it appears to add up ultimately to "nothing", but by thinking and remembering, as a community we survive, grow and are enriched. We realize that thoughts and feelings are not something to be deposited in some cosmic bank account but something to be treasured here and now. Life is to be lived, not to be passed through. If there is an injustice, correct it, now, not wait for compensation in another world. If there is a privilege, use it responsibly, with consideration for others. If there is conflict, resolve it. Delayed gratification is a useful tool, but be realistic with it.

    Of course, participants will each have their own thoughts and opinions, but this is an example of what can be taken away from an atheist's funeral. Aside from a missing liturgical blessing, it may not be so different from most others.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    The idea that I had for my own (I'm a cancer survivor who has actually planned my own funeral out in advance--thankfully those plans don't appear to be needed right now) was to make it a celebration of my life. The same pastor who oversaw my wedding is a rare man: So long as respect is shown for the religious, he has no trouble seeing to the wishes of disbelievers. While every single person in attendance at my wedding knows I'm an Atheist, I still wanted the pastor to lead a prayer for the rest of my family--nearly all of which hold a Christian denomination. He did it very well: "The bride and groom have requested a moment of prayer for those who would like to participate..." and the moment went on. I spoke with him about overseeing my funeral, and having the same sort of consideration. He agreed, and had several suggestions for making that happen. This way any prayers said for me were by the choice of those offering the prayer. The funeral itself would fit me for who I was, yet allow the survivors to be who they are and deal with things in their own way.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You go through the motions at an ordinary funeral for the sake of convention-a bit of hymn singing etc.- but in reality the theological aspects of the ceremony have no significance.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I've told my relatives that I want a pirate funeral. Just cremate me then plop my ashes into a lovely mini-pirate ship and set it on fire as it sails out to sea. Kinda a viking/pirate funeral. Well, I am of swedish decent also. LOL

  • Snark
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    It can be held in whatever way the person who died wished it to be held.

    Me, personally, I would like a memorial service of sorts, maybe a song or two and a reading or two, and I would like to be cremated and my ashes given to whatever children I have when I die.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They can range quite widely. Basically no hymns, no prayers. Mostly stories about the person, quotes from favourite books/poems, favourite songs... sometimes conducted by a secular celebrant. (A humanist "minister" if you will).

  • 1 decade ago

    My uncle's was held in a park. His partner and son spoke and gave everyone who came a little packet of his ashes to scatter anywhere they thought my uncle would like.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    My will stipulates that I'm to be cremated and a trusted friend or family member is to use a GPS to bury my cremains in a random location in my home state, then forget the location and never reveal it.

    I also ask that my friends and family destroy anything with my image or name on it.

    In short, my funeral is a time I want my friends and family doing their best to ensure that no one remembers or knows I existed.

  • 1 decade ago

    a funeral has nothing to do with religion unless you want it to.

    Personally, I have made arrangements to be cremated and my ashes scattered in a kitty litter box.

    meow!!!

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