What do atheists and agnostics typically do for their funeral services?

by tootired2care 14 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    My mom left strict no funeral instructions. She told me verbally the immediate family could gather and have some sort of service we designed. Her most important paper that she read was a mediocre poem that touched her soul- it was poorly written but expressed how religion had held the person captive at one point in life, how the person was rejecting reliigon and exultant. Altho it was so bad, it had impact and I cried. She demanded that it be read as her statement when she died.

    I am Episcopal. She gave me permission to read some famous Psalms and recite Amazing Grace under the guise that it was my way of coping, not hers.

    My brother in law, NOT a child, NOT liked by her, is an ardent RC and demanded a Catholic funeral. She would attend E. services with me. Once you received communion in all her church going with me. I was not present. It was at an AIDS service in San Francisco. My brother and sister clearly knew her long time wishes. I showed them her handwritten will. No one wanted to respect her feelings, besides me. My brother in law is so male alpha. I could not believe they would not honor her wishes. So I stopped being nice. Announced I had standing to seek a court order stopping a RC funeral. He had zero votes. It was tense. They were cowered.

    My recommendation is to write detailed instructions for your wishes and if you have bypass traditional family, do so. Her whole life was a rejection of religion. Also, she was raised a Witness. Being Catholic was far worse than being Protestant. She was expelled from school and present at the riot in MSG stirred up by the RC. Over my dead body.

  • tootired2care


    I would love to see some video of that.

    Band on the Run

    Your mom no doubt had a great deal of courage in that time to take that stand (she is a hero), as you did too, to take a stand for her wishes against your family. Thanks for sharing this.

  • mrsjones5

    You and me both. I regret not being able to go. The man in question was a cool guy.

  • Finkelstein

    Finkelstein - So was there any eulogy given?

    There was usually someone who took control of the speeches and there were people who wanted to say something did and were able to

    without pressure of going up to a podium in a Hall or Church.

    I liked the personal aspect to the whole affair, it was real and sincere by all who attended.

  • Nickolas

    My father was an "atheist", as much as he thought the label is bullshit. He preferred to think of himself as a humanist. His funeral arrangements were clearly specified in writing by him and I was executor of his estate. He was a decorated navy veteran and specified a Canadian Legion funeral but there was to be no prayer, no priest or chaplan, nothing of a religious nature attributed back to him. If someone felt inclined to get up and mumble some religious nonsense, who cares? No-one did. There was an open invitation in the local media and about two hundred people showed up. A few of his associates and I got up and said some appropriate words and then the legion ladies arrived with the food. This was followed by cremation and burial of the urn to the top of my mother's casket. It was what she wanted and he didn't object. She died 3 years earlier. She was a devout Roman Catholic and her funeral service had all the insense-infused chanting, organ playing and mumbo-jumbo by solomn, shuffling creeps dressed up in black, flowing robes, then lowering the casket with the embalmed body in it into the ground so that it could goulishly resurrect itself out of the ground when the time came, as mother believed she would. I much preferred Dad's arrangement.

    An atheist's funeral is like anyone elses. It's where his friends and family say their goodbyes, not for his sake but for theirs. People who attend are free to think or say whatever they wish about death and the afterlife because an atheist, in particular a dead one, doesn't care.

    My funeral directions to my executors are simple. Once it is released from the morgue or hospital or wherever, take my dead body to the funeral home where it is already arranged for it to be put inside a cardboard box and cremated. The ashes are to be put into a plastic bag and then into a carboard box. Put an ad in the paper telling people I'm dead. Have a little dinner in my honour if you feel like it. Hell, have a big party if you feel like it. Do whatever you want with the ashes, but put them preferably under a few rose bushes, well mixed with rotted cow manure and a little bone meal.

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