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Funerals July 26, 2007

Posted by Joe in agnosticism, atheism, belief, Christianity, ethics, freethought, god, life, morality, religion, theism.
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Funerals are often religious affairs. This is understandable considering how much religions tend to concern themselves with what happens after death. After all if there is no afterlife there isn’t much point in religion. The last two times I have been in churches it has been for funerals.

The last was a Catholic funeral for an uncle of mine. This was not so bad. The most interesting aspect was how medieval it all was. It felt like it could have been going on 600 years ago and little would be different expect the dress of the attendees. The church was aware that many present were not members and did not proselytize nor expect nonmembers to participate in religious rituals.

The time before that was quite different. My grandmother was a very religious woman and I admit that may have had some effect on the actions of the church.

Her funeral was held at a Baptist church that she had attended for some years before her death. The people there running the funeral knew her well, but did not know most of her family that attended.  They were also no doubt well aware that they had an audience that probably did not attend church regularly. (As one would expect at a funeral) They must have also suspected that they could have attendees of different religious and philosophical outlooks. I doubt they knew an atheist was attending.

Anyway to make a long story short there was much more preaching at this event. There was very little mourning and remembering of my grandmother (which is what I needed and expected) and instead a full on guilt trip about regular church attendance and “worship” and the full on Christian sales pitch complete with a few token references to hell. Imagine that?

I left angry. Angry at the thought process that must go in to their planning of funerals. Their awareness that many attendees are not regular church goers so here is their opportunity to make a sale … er save a few souls.

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Comments»

1. Matt - July 26, 2007

I’m a huge fan of secular funerals, they’re much more often a celebration of the life of the deceased rather than some service filled with mournful hymns and odd sermons.

People, instead, get together and share stories and memories of the deceased – honouring whoever is gone but not ruining their own day in the process. Everyone leaves reasonably happy and closer than ever before, which is what the deceased would most certainly want.


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