As some of you know here, my father passed a week ago. It brings to light a problem that we as non-believers face. Where do we turn for support in ceremonies? Christians can turn to a church, pastor or virtually any funeral home. When my wife and I got married, I asked that our wedding be non-religious and the lady agreed. During the ceremony she spoke of god a number of times. I had difficulty in not walking out on my own wedding. For the funeral ceremony I asked a neighbor whom is a pastor for some passages for an Atheist and it was filled with god. For a song he suggested Amazing Grace. I was thankful that he took some time to think for, and of, me but I don't think that believers get it. No God or spiritual nature is needed to enjoy the moment.

Many here turn to the Universal Unitarian Churches. I get that many find acceptance there. I really want nothing to do with any god or symbolism for my ceremonies. I can't be alone in this. So I Eulogized my Atheist father. There was no mistaking what the ceremony was and it gives me pride that the first Atheist ceremony that I have been to was of my own creation. I'm hoping that it's the first in a trend.

This experience and my wedding experience is pushing me to think of other options in life. I'm certainly not overworked. I have a business that only makes me put in two or three days a week. So why not perform Atheist Ceremonies as well? Why would you not consider doing the same? We don't have the support network out there that we need for each other during these times. At last minute it's too late. I had weeks and a lazy man's job to afford me the time to work on honoring my father in a way that was fitting for him. We don't need to be pushed around by religion during our time of grief or celebration. We should be taking the reigns and running with both support for those whom think like us and capitalism awaits. Besides, if you take 15 to 25% of the market, don't think that Pastors won't notice. they may change and it will collapse a few churches.

Before the ceremony, an old friend of my father's approached me. He had become a pastor and told me that he visited my father. Through a series of blinks he felt that my father had accepted Jesus. He shared this story with my permission. I wasn't going to deny someone their right to speak even at this time. I had spoken with my father shortly before he lost the ability to speak and asked him if he felt the same as the last time we spoke about it. "Well I don't think that any of that has changed." was his response. The pastor was full of shit and/or had misinterpreted his experience. It's time Atheists stand up and be counted. It's time that we are not disrespected by being dismissed during death. Christians need to ask themselves where they are and whom they are honoring. This will only change through exposure to our side and seeing the beauty of our experiences in life. I require equality. It's time that we stand up and take it in yet another form.

Views: 137

Tags: Atheist, Ceremonies, Funeral, Wedding

Comment by Graham E. Lau on March 8, 2010 at 1:33pm
I guess it depends on what you feel you need. Do you need a ceremony as predetermined by someone else? Can you afford to plan your own and specialize it to your interests? Do you need a ceremony at all?

I personally have no interest in religious ceremonies in my life. I don't have a problem with going against the grain. However, some religious ceremonies can be slightly adapted, if needs be, to fit the needs of people with different backgrounds and such.
Comment by Gaytor on March 8, 2010 at 3:45pm
The pastor was simply trying to deal with his own personal demons because of what his religion says happens after death. It had no basis in reality. It's a prime example of the weakness of Christians. "I don't really want the horror that is my religion, I just want to dance in fields with my grandmother when I die." His siblings and children knew the truth and that's why we chose to respect his beliefs.

Glad to see you back Jeff. Might want to throw a condom on that internet connection.
Comment by Jānis Ķimsis on March 8, 2010 at 3:49pm
You should try suggesting to your neighbour that Nietcze be read at his funeral and see how he reacts.
Comment by Jean Smith on March 8, 2010 at 5:27pm
This reminds me of how I wished for a secular chaplain when I was in the service. I often felt I needed someone I could unload all my doubts and problems on without being judged. The last thing I wanted was to a bunch of bible quotes.
Comment by Shine on March 8, 2010 at 7:57pm
I can't believe that the pastor had the nerve to force a story on you about your father accepting Jesus; I just think that was incredibly insensitive and selfish of him. Good for you for being the bigger person, though. I just imagine if the situation were reversed, and you were an atheist who walked up to someone whose Christian father had recently passed on and insisted upon relating a story about how the father became an atheist at the end. Imagine the shitstorm that would have erupted.
Comment by James on March 8, 2010 at 9:12pm
I would have taken serious issue with the pastor making that statement. The nerve of some people. Also, for your wedding to be performed so far outside of how you wanted, I would feel that she forfeited a large portion of her fee for such an act. My wife and I were just married in December, and we hired an officiant and told him exactly what we were looking to do. He is a former pastor, but his priority was giving us the ceremony we wanted. Oddly enough, he seemed somewhat intrigued with my point of view and ideas for the wedding. Both my and my wife's parents are Catholic, and he didn't even try once to force anything in. He asked just once if we felt obliged to 'throw your parents a bone'. And when we said no, he left it at that. Cool guy.

For my funeral, I plan to be cremated, no service, maybe scatter my ashes somewhere. But I think a small get together/party of my friends would be the most I'd want my family to go to the trouble putting together. Food, fun, friends, and sharing of stories of the way things once were. Funerals focus too much on the death, I'd rather people remember my life and the connections we all shared.

If you want to organize and perform ceremonies for Atheist's, I think it's a neat idea. If you feel you have the time, can may a few bucks, help people and enjoy it. I say go for it.
Comment by GT on March 8, 2010 at 10:28pm
With the utmost understanding and compassion to you and your family at this time.

I agree with Thinks4herself(Deb) getting your will in order is a priority. Hopefully your family would respect your wishes and see that they are carried out. Afterall your will is a legal document.

Sending a card and some flowers to the immediate family is a thoughtful & caring gesture.

Good luck with alternative funeral ceremonies I would support them.
Comment by Rev. Tom Hicks, D.D. on March 9, 2010 at 11:41am
This is why I got ordained in a way. A story of the loved ones life is most adequate. Not from a minister but from the family, friends. Sharin' pictures, favorite foods/drinks etc of the loved one, I mean really gettin' into reflectin' on who this person was, what they meant, & what we've learned. To me, this is the greatest ceremony anyone can do.

As for dealin' with the body of the loved one, that is definitely a personal choice. If they didn't leave any idea on what to do, do what most of the family would want, even if it were some hocus pocus nonsense. We know better than to worry over such issues & no one is bein' mocked... cause they are dead & no worryin' 'bout it either, so let what gives the most a piece of mind just that.

How to deal with these people when the loved one was an outspoken atheist or such when it comes to 'em ruinin' a good time with their personal beliefs... I'd personally kick their ass.

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