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Sat Oct 27, 2012, 10:56 PM

What do Atheists do for funerals?

I assume just a visitation at a funeral parlor and then a graveside service?

42 replies, 3536 views

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Arrow 42 replies Author Time Post
Reply What do Atheists do for funerals? (Original post)
Logical Oct 2012 OP
OffWithTheirHeads Oct 2012 #1
Lionessa Oct 2012 #2
OffWithTheirHeads Oct 2012 #3
Logical Oct 2012 #4
OffWithTheirHeads Oct 2012 #6
Lisa0825 Oct 2012 #9
kairos12 Nov 2012 #31
Lisa0825 Nov 2012 #33
OffWithTheirHeads Oct 2012 #8
AlbertCat Nov 2012 #35
rrneck Oct 2012 #5
dmallind Oct 2012 #7
Warpy Oct 2012 #10
Iggo Oct 2012 #11
Ron Obvious Oct 2012 #12
OffWithTheirHeads Oct 2012 #13
Logical Oct 2012 #18
Lars39 Oct 2012 #22
uriel1972 Nov 2012 #30
kairos12 Nov 2012 #32
skepticscott Oct 2012 #14
JNelson6563 Oct 2012 #15
Logical Oct 2012 #17
Curmudgeoness Oct 2012 #16
Exultant Democracy Oct 2012 #19
Warren Stupidity Oct 2012 #20
MineralMan Oct 2012 #21
sarcasmo Oct 2012 #23
dimbear Oct 2012 #24
OriginalGeek Oct 2012 #25
RiskWrangler Oct 2012 #26
brooklynite Oct 2012 #27
montanto Nov 2012 #28
mykpart Nov 2012 #29
Iggo Nov 2012 #34
GliderGuider Nov 2012 #36
Manifestor_of_Light Nov 2012 #37
Evoman Nov 2012 #38
mmonk Dec 2012 #39
ShadowLiberal Dec 2012 #40
bobclark86 Dec 2012 #41
ElboRuum Dec 2012 #42

Response to Logical (Original post)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 10:59 PM

1. Cremation and then get on with your life.

We all die. Why make a big deal out of something that we all do?

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Response to OffWithTheirHeads (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 11:03 PM

2. +1

 

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 11:30 PM

3. What would you like to see? We live, we die. Is something else expected?

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Response to OffWithTheirHeads (Reply #3)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 11:36 PM

4. Lighten up, I am a atheist also. Just never been to a funeral for one.

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Response to Logical (Reply #4)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 12:06 AM

6. Again, I'm not trying to be an asshole but what do you see as a fitting funeral?

Personally, as an athiest, or maybe that's too broad of a term, I'm not convinced that there are not things we don't understand in this universe but personally, I don't think my death will change things much. How the folks who survive me deal with my remains will probably not matter much to me. I don't need a celebration, a funeral, etc. I will be dead so I doubht that I will care. Why should a funeral celebration concern me?

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Response to OffWithTheirHeads (Reply #6)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 01:30 AM

9. Funerals are for the living, not the dead.

Sure, I won't care much once I am gone. But as a person with friends and (a few) family, I appreciate that they will want a way to say goodbye and grieve together. So I have made my wishes known that I want a very simple remembrance service, and then I want them to toast to me and laugh about memories together. What makes me happy to think about is them spending the money that could have gone to an expensive funeral, to take my ashes to my favorite vacation spot, dump them in the sea, and then get snockered on margaritas. But that will be their choice.

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Response to Lisa0825 (Reply #9)

Tue Nov 6, 2012, 11:10 AM

31. Great Bumper sticker

That should keep the red state haters from stealing signs. Thanks.

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Response to kairos12 (Reply #31)

Tue Nov 6, 2012, 01:48 PM

33. It hasn't been stolen again since! :-) nt

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Response to Logical (Reply #4)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 12:14 AM

8. Havevyou been to any funerals? I've been to many including my mother and my fathers.

We are all going to experience this. Maybe something else happens, maybe it does'nt. Either way, we will all do it. I don'tvsee how an end of life celebration changes anything.

You know what? It's getting late. i don't see how this conversation furthers either of us. Night!

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Response to Logical (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:54 PM

35. Just never been to a funeral for one.

Funerals are for the living. The dead don't care what you do.

At mine, I want everyone to smoke a little opium and go skinny dipping.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 11:50 PM

5. It's all about the same I expext.

People being with people who have suffered a loss.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 12:12 AM

7. Hopefully die first ;)

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 01:40 AM

10. Usually cremation, with or without some sort of memorial

with friends and families sharing stories.

My own parents died unbelievers and all they wanted was cremation and scattering far away from water. I haven't scattered them yet (my lousy health keeps getting in the way) but I respected their wishes for absolutely no fuss.

Far away from water is easy since I live in the desert.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 03:33 AM

11. I'd bet a good many funerals for atheists are co-opted by their religious families.

Or maybe it's not that many. But I've seen it happen twice in my family.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 04:31 AM

12. The same minus the god stuff...

I've been to several secular funerals in which there was no mention of an after-life, god or anything supernatural. We told our favourite stories about the deceased, enjoyed reuniting with old friends and family, resolved not to wait until the next funeral before we met up again and promptly forget the resolution afterwards.

In fact, the worst funerals I've attended have been religious ones. At my father-in-law's funeral, the minister went on and on about how he (my prematurely deceased fil) was now in a happier place and wouldn't even want to return to his family now if he had the choice.

"Bastard", I remember thinking in my pew among the grieving relatives; hating the minister, the ceremony and the false comforts of religion more than ever before.

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Response to Ron Obvious (Reply #12)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 05:30 AM

13. Damn, I had a similar experience at my mothers funeral.

It was arrainged by my fundy sister and the minister/talker/shamen/witch doctor went on and on about the children of isreal. Never figured out exactly what he was trying to say but it was very annoying. I almost walked out but refrained because other attendees seemed to find some solice in the blather.

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Response to Ron Obvious (Reply #12)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 02:06 PM

18. Thanks!

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Response to Ron Obvious (Reply #12)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 04:52 PM

22. That happened at my brother's funeral.

He *was* religious, but the sheer arrogance of saying that a person wouldn't want to come back to be with loved ones made me give the stink eye to that shit of a preacher. :

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Response to Ron Obvious (Reply #12)

Tue Nov 6, 2012, 08:25 AM

30. My Grandma on my Dad's side

Had never been religous, but the service was full of prayer and that got me gagging. I felt it was disrespectful of the poor woman. I also didn't like the Funeral celebrant(?) talking about her as if she had known my Grandma.

I kept my peace but I was in a rage. Nobody else, including my Dad (never a believer) seemed to mind. I just felt it was all false and not a true reflection of my Nanna.

You have to let it all slide, but do take the time to vent to someone safe or you'd go crazy.

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Response to Ron Obvious (Reply #12)

Tue Nov 6, 2012, 11:12 AM

32. Can Relate

I attended a funeral of a teenage girl who committed suicide. The minister took this tragic opportunity to have people come forward so they could be born again. It was beyond appalling.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 08:47 AM

14. They just

lie there in the casket while people walk by and say how good they look. Pretty much like everyone else

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 08:49 AM

15. The one I went to

A couple of dear friends of mine, fellow atheists, unexpectedly lost their 26 year old son. They are both atheists, I can't imagine the son was any different.

Anyway, the funeral was at the funeral home, not a church. A local minister actually did the "service". It's a small community, where they live, and the minister seemed to know the family. He didn't talk about god or religion but about the deceased having been such a good guy. How we live on through what we do in life. I didn't really know the son but knew he did things like buy groceries for those in need and such, much like his bleeding heart liberal parents.

It was pretty enlightened. I was just so devastated for my friends though, I must admit I do not remember very much of what was said. Spent most of it trying with all my might not to cry my eyes out.

In fact, I have something in my eye right now...

As far as my own funeral goes, everyone knows I just want to be cremated and be remembered with an Irish wake~where all should have a good time. I just want everyone to remember that I love them and wish them happiness.

Julie



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Response to JNelson6563 (Reply #15)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 02:05 PM

17. Thanks for this!

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 01:46 PM

16. I don't suppose that it is much different

than any other funeral, if you have one. We did not have one for my father or my mother, since my whole family are non-believers. But that is a personal choice in our family and we took a lot of heat for it from family and friends. Other families may do it differently based on what they feel is right. I don't believe that there is one way to say goodbye to a loved one.

For me, it will be the same. No showing, no funeral.....but that really doesn't depend on my wishes, it will be based on what whoever is still here wants to do. But they know my feelings.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 02:42 PM

19. In my circle we go with a big freaking party with a lot of free booze.

At my funeral I hope everyone gets laid.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 03:11 PM

20. We cremated my dad and held a wake at home.

Those of us who chose to speak did so. His ashes went to places he loved. His friends and family celebrated his life with music food and spirits.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 03:37 PM

21. Whatever they want to do.

Me? I'll be cremated, my wife will take the cardboard box of ashes and dump it in the Mississippi river off the Wabasha St. Bridge in Saint Paul, MN. Then, whenever she feels like it, she'll have our friends and family over to talk and laugh about my life.

If you assume that there would be services or "visitations," I think you're putting too much of the religious tradition on it. Atheists do all sorts of different things about death.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 08:45 PM

23. I will be cremated and have my ashes spread at my location of choice.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 08:48 PM

24. I want to be eaten by crocodiles but it's too expensive. n/t

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 10:54 PM

25. We had a party

for both my uncle and his mother-in-law. My aunt is an atheist and she didn't want anything other than a gathering at her house of friends and family to remember her mom and her husband.

I'm not completely convinced my uncle was an atheist as he once confided in me (when we were driving home from my dad's, his brother's, funeral) that he thought there might be something out there. But we both agree that if there's something, it ain't the guy from the bible.

America lost some good liberal Dems when they passed but we try to keep their dreams alive.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Tue Oct 30, 2012, 10:25 PM

26. Not a subject talked about much, I asked the same question

to my wife a few months back. Growing up in the bible belt with it seems a relative or two passing away each year, I guess I've been to roughly 20 to 30 funerals and not once have I attended one that didn't feel like a church service. I posed the question to my wife in the form of a statement that someone should offer services for atheists, since I figured that no matter if they were atheist, a preacher did his thing at the pulpit because the vast majority were religious..and if you had a problem with it, then you either didn't show up to participate in the farse or you acted along with the holy ones in attendance. She says they have all sorts of funeral services at funeral homes and I/we have just never attended one that was for an atheist. I guess I'm going to have to make it a point to crash an atheist service just to experience it. I've been an atheist for as long as I can remember and never once have I ever felt the want/need to believe in such things. My wishes are to be cremated, rent out a downtown hotel's conference room to have a service with lots of booze and food, allow the over imbibers to stay at the hotel without a drunk driving incident, then have the immediate family pack their bags and fly my ashes to Kauai island where the ashes are to be sprinkled in the sea at Kee beach. The life insurance will easily cover the cost of the trip with plenty of room to spare.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Wed Oct 31, 2012, 11:25 PM

27. Why would you want to do anything at a Funeral Parlor?

It's neither a comforting setting for the anguished, nor is it an enjoyable space for a celebration of the deceased's life?

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Fri Nov 2, 2012, 12:34 PM

28. Get together, say a few words,

listen to some music, ride off on our Harleys, go have pizza/burgers. What I usually do; what I want to have done.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Tue Nov 6, 2012, 02:52 AM

29. Just because you don't believe in an afterlife doesn't mean

you wouldn't gather with friends and family to share with each other how knowing the deceased changed your life. It can be comforting to family to know that their loved one was appreciated and loved by others. Somebody should open a funeral home for atheists.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Wed Nov 7, 2012, 02:14 PM

34. Looks like skeptiscott thought of it way before I did.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:57 AM

36. My atheist grandparents left strict instructions - cremation, no memorial service of any kind.

Once they were both safely dead we honoured the first wish, but not the second.

My parents called the family together at the family farm, and gave each of us two beer glasses - one containing some of my grandmother's ashes, the other some of my grandfather's. My mother's instructions were that each of us was to go out alone, to various places on the farm that held special memories for us. We were asked to sprinkle some of the ashes in each of those places. Afterwards we met back at the house for dinner.

When my atheist youngest sister (my whole family is atheist, BTW) died of throat cancer at the age of 36, she was cremated. We held a memorial service at the local Unitarian church, where all her friends and her palliative care nurses gathered to share memories of her. A few weeks later the family went on a short vacation to a rented cottage on a northern lake. The first night we all drank single malt and talked about her life until the wee small hours. Then we opened the bag containing her ashes, and ran our hands through them. It's quite something to pick up someone's ashes and let them trickle through your fingers like the sands of time.

That's what some atheists do for funerals.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 05:41 PM

37. Get a humanist minister.

http://humanist-society.org/celebrants/
If you look at this page, at the top under "Alabama" you will see Ross Henry.
He used to occasionally preach at Northwoods Unitarian Church in The Woodlands, Texas (North of Houston)

Or a UU minister.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:08 PM

38. Unfortunately, because of my condition, I may have to start thinking about this.

I'm so not sure what I want. I want my family to mourn me like they wish....I don't want them to have to party or whatever just because I made some insensitive demand before I go. I am planning on writin a little bit of my own eulogy. Might be premature, but I want my words to comfort my friends and family. I've also though I've donating my body to research,,,,,a body with the issues I have may be quite informative.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 08:31 PM

39. My aunt had a Justice of the Peace say a few things in a brief

graveyard ceremony.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 10:22 PM

40. From what I understand in other countries with atheism much more common

From what I understand in other countries, such as many European ones, with nonbelievers/atheism more common, the answer is yes they tend to have either burials or memorials. I've read that funerals, and marriages (their own or friends/family), are the only thing a large number of nonbelievers ever go to church for.

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Response to Logical (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 11:01 PM

41. My mother's getting cremated...

and the shot off in a rocket over the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon... Yes, we thought that up before Hunter S. Thompson did it.

My sister's body is going to be dressed up as a Buddhist monk and lit on fire to protest the harming of animals for Thanksgiving. Then, we're loading her ashes as binder for some dynamite and bombing Minnesota. Nowhere in particular, just Minnesota.

I have the best conversations when waiting for funerals to start, heh.

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