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Atheist Funerals

hesthefastesthesthefastest Registered User regular
edited July 2007 in Debate and/or Discourse
I have been thinking recently about an atheistic viewpoint and all that it entails. In that aim, Ive been reading threads, watching stuff on YouTube, thinking away my shift at Walmart, etc. I came across a video of an interview with Douglas Adams (author of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) discussing his 'radical' atheism:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUfDWwWKXqQ
I had previously read this interview in the book 'The Salmon of Doubt' (an arrangment of his writings after his death) and enjoyed doing so, but at the end of the book there was an order of service from his funeral. During his funeral, which took place at a church, several old Christian hymns were sung, strong hymns in the vein of 'The Old Rugged Cross' and such. I wondered both why these hymns were included and would Douglas been upset that they were.

Another example that I remember is a news cliping about the burial of Charles Darwin. He was buried in a church and the article claimed that this removed all doubt that he was surely a good christian. This seemed to me to be intended to soothe the christians upset at his work.

Specifically, what are atheists' thoughts on what their funerals should/shouldnt include? How would they feel if friends and family chose a religious service?

Generally, what do you want your funeral to be like? What constitutes a 'good funeral'?

hesthefastest on
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    Charles KinboteCharles Kinbote Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I and my entire family are pretty bull-headed about atheism, as a result of living in the "City of Holy Faith" and having people try to change our minds every time we leave the house. Even though I consider myself more of an agnostic, I really don't like the general principles of the Catholic faith at all, and I'm not exactly the biggest fan of Christianity. So what do I think my funeral should entail?

    Honestly, I think the idea of a funeral at all has to have some spiritual involvement, because, logically, the idea of sticking your body in the ground doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. I mean, why do we do that? So that one day we can...look at our loved one's bones? I have trouble even imagining a funeral without a priest reading some psalms or what have you, so I think if I were to be buried, I don't know what I'd do. It's not a problem, because I don't want to be buried, I want to be cremated. I want my ashes to be released either somewhere sentimental or into the ocean, I want anyone who has something to say to say it, and I want people to do whatever they feel appropriate in the event of my death. I don't want any sort of a religious man there, because I'm not religious.

    Charles Kinbote on
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    DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Funerals aren't really for the dead guy, it's for the family he left behind. In so far as religion might be involved (or not involved) would depend upon who the grieving are.

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    YodaTunaYodaTuna Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I'll be dead, what do I care. Although, I'd like to be burned on some kind of pyre. Pretty sweet.

    YodaTuna on
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    BlackjackBlackjack Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Honestly, I think the idea of a funeral at all has to have some spiritual involvement, because, logically, the idea of sticking your body in the ground doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. I mean, why do we do that?
    Society hates a rotting corpse.

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    Charles KinboteCharles Kinbote Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I'm not saying we should keep our bodies above ground, I'm saying we should buuuurn.

    Also, yes, a pyre would be fuckawesome.

    Charles Kinbote on
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    Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    A funeral is a time for the people you loved and who loved you to remember your life and look back on the good things you did and the good times you had. Preferably it is a time where your friends will get really fucking drunk and toast your memory. What happens to your corpse is unimportant, and I'd rather have some good philosophy/literature read at my funeral than religious stuff, as an atheist. There are some great passages for funerals out there, I'm sure.

    Evil Multifarious on
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    AhhseeAhhsee Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Burned atop a pyre made of styrofoam, tires, and rotting garbage would be a good stab in the eye of the enviromentalists still alive when I'm gone. I want this done on a nature reserve as well.

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    Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    öhsee wrote: »
    Burned atop a pyre made of styrofoam, tires, and rotting garbage would be a good stab in the eye of the enviromentalists still alive when I'm gone. I want this done on a nature reserve as well.

    I suppose you will serve veal and elephant meat

    Evil Multifarious on
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    Professor PhobosProfessor Phobos Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I would prefer to be cremated and have a non-denominational service, but since most of my family is Catholic I think they'd feel better if it was a Catholic service. And since, being an atheist, I'd be dead and completely incapable of giving a damn how my funeral went, I'd rather it do everything necessary for my family and friends to have closure and so forth.

    I might request something fun like a Viking bonfire or some such, though.

    Professor Phobos on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I'm hoping for a wake (celebrate my life, dammit) and a funeral pyre, followed by my ashes being spread over the ocean over in the Monterey Bay.

    It's purely a matter of poetics.

    That said, if this fails to happen, I don't really care, since I'll be meat at that point anyways.

    Incenjucar on
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    Der Waffle MousDer Waffle Mous Blame this on the misfortune of your birth. New Yark, New Yark.Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Blackjack wrote: »
    Honestly, I think the idea of a funeral at all has to have some spiritual involvement, because, logically, the idea of sticking your body in the ground doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. I mean, why do we do that?
    Society hates a rotting corpse.
    tell that to the Zoroastians.



    Or am I thinking of the Jains?

    Der Waffle Mous on
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    Al_watAl_wat Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I want to be mummified and have a large pyramid built for me, so that I can make it to the afterlife A OK.

    Seriously though I have not put any thought into how I want my funeral. I don't even know if I have a preference for being buried or cremated, or what.

    Al_wat on
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    ÆthelredÆthelred Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I don't really care what happens at my funeral as long as it's known that I don't necessarily approve of any of it.


    and oh god don't let Yar see this thread

    Æthelred on
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    CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    If they find my body then I would have failed tremendously. My last words will be THIS CANNOT BE! I AM INVINCIBLE!

    Then I explode.

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    -SPI--SPI- Osaka, JapanRegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I'm not saying we should keep our bodies above ground, I'm saying we should buuuurn.

    Also, yes, a pyre would be fuckawesome.
    A pyre would be cool, but y'know what's even cooler? Viking Funeral.

    That or some weird burial designed to confuse archaeologists 3000 years from now.

    -SPI- on
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    Charles KinboteCharles Kinbote Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Like suspend your body upside-down from a tree and hire jewish children to beat you with torches, and hire muslims to catch the ashes, and whichever one catches the most gets whatever farm animal they can catch in 43 seconds, and then all the muslim kids put the ashes in a birdbath which a Buddhist sits upon, then the Buddhist moves and someone puts an egg in the birdbath, then there is six minutes of silence and then an ATV race with Final Countdown blaring in the background.

    Charles Kinbote on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Or, you know.

    Just fill you with candy.

    Incenjucar on
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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I and my entire family are pretty bull-headed about atheism, as a result of living in the "City of Holy Faith" and having people try to change our minds every time we leave the house. Even though I consider myself more of an agnostic, I really don't like the general principles of the Catholic faith at all, and I'm not exactly the biggest fan of Christianity. So what do I think my funeral should entail?

    Honestly, I think the idea of a funeral at all has to have some spiritual involvement, because, logically, the idea of sticking your body in the ground doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. I mean, why do we do that? So that one day we can...look at our loved one's bones? I have trouble even imagining a funeral without a priest reading some psalms or what have you, so I think if I were to be buried, I don't know what I'd do. It's not a problem, because I don't want to be buried, I want to be cremated. I want my ashes to be released either somewhere sentimental or into the ocean, I want anyone who has something to say to say it, and I want people to do whatever they feel appropriate in the event of my death. I don't want any sort of a religious man there, because I'm not religious.

    The fundamental reason for a funeral isn't spiritual, it's psychological; they serve as a memorial for the family of the dead, so the living can expunge their grief.

    Drez on
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    Charles KinboteCharles Kinbote Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Oh, I understand, and agree, but I'm fairly certain my family would have just as much ease dealing with my passing by burning me as by sticking my rotting corpse in the turf.

    Charles Kinbote on
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    ProtoProto Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Funerals are typically arranged by the family, so that is why you sometimes see religious stuff even if the deceased was not religious at all. Usually in the cases where a person dies unexpectedly and without a will. I recently attended the funeral of a close family friend that was like that. Lots of really touching things said by family and friends, and then a whole bunch of BS spouted off by a priest who didn't even know the guy. It seemed very out of place, but the elderly parents were religious and wanted a catholic service.

    I'd be pissed if that was done for me. A funeral is for family and friends, but it should still be something representative of the person who died.

    The only two things I want at mine are: Zero religious junk and for someone to bribe the organist to play "baby elephant walk" as they wheel me out. Extra money if the organist really gets into it, kicks the stool away and plays it standing, really hammering the keys.

    Proto on
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    HacksawHacksaw J. Duggan Esq. Wrestler at LawRegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Funerals are for the living. I doubt very much the dead care what happens to their mortal husks, once discarded.

    Hacksaw on
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    taliosfalcontaliosfalcon Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    My funeral will probably me somewhat religious since most people in my family are, even though i'm an atheist. But i have to say i really don't care, as has already been mentioned i'll be dead, so whatever makes those left behind feel better they can go ahead and do.

    taliosfalcon on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I wonder how much money you can get out of selling your corpse off pre-mortem to people who are unlikely to murder you to make it happen faster.

    There's gotta be some patient, wealthy young necrophiles out there.

    Incenjucar on
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    kaliyamakaliyama Left to find less-moderated fora Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Stuff from the book of common prayer, as far as i know, has as much cultural significance as it does religious - they're songs that have an emotional connection with people even if they don't particularly believe or endorse the anglican church.

    kaliyama on
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    flamebroiledchickenflamebroiledchicken Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I want a funeral like GG Allin had. Well, maybe I don't want people molesting and drawing on my corpse, but I want it to be a crazy fucking party.

    flamebroiledchicken on
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    Something WittySomething Witty Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I think I'm indifferent on the matter because I'll probably be too dead to care by the time my funeral roles around.
    I'd be pissed if that was done for me.
    No, no you wouldn't.

    Something Witty on
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    IShallRiseAgainIShallRiseAgain Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I want to have animatronics hooked up to my corpse and in the middle of the service the coffin will pop up and i'll start waving. it would be glorious.

    IShallRiseAgain on
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    ProtoProto Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I think I'm indifferent on the matter because I'll probably be too dead to care by the time my funeral roles around.
    I'd be pissed if that was done for me.
    No, no you wouldn't.

    :roll:
    Oh, so clever of you. I was wondering if some idiot would make that crack.


    I meant that I don't think it'd be right to be misrepresented to your family and friends in what amounts to your goodbye to them.

    Proto on
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    Something WittySomething Witty Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I think your family and friends would know you well enough to tell whether you were religious or not right?

    I mean I really don't understand the fuss, but that's just me. I mean, I really could care less what happens to my body after my death but I guess that's just me.

    Something Witty on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    It's very common for religious family to not give a rat's ass about an atheist's wishes.

    So. No bets.

    Incenjucar on
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    AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero The new film by Quentin Koopantino Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Our bodies should be recycled, I think.

    AbsoluteZero on
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    themightypuckthemightypuck MontanaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    My roots are Viking so I like the idea of a Viking funeral but a Donnie@Lebowski would work for me. Really, whatever works for my loved ones (assuming I have any when I kick it).

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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Our bodies should be recycled, I think.

    I want Captain Planet at my funeral.

    --

    I wouldn't want a viking funeral. I'd rather donate all my crap to people who need it before I die, rather than have it burn and sink with me.

    Incenjucar on
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    nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I finti really obnoxious when people who were religious at all get ministers and shit at their funerals. Yeah funerals are for the living but if the living respect the dead they would follow what the person would have wanted.

    I went to a funeral a few months ago. Family wasn't religious but got a minster I guess out of obligation. The guy couldn't even pronounce the woman's name properly. Her son ended up interrupting him in the middle of his speech yelling her name at him several times. It was fucking painful to watch.

    nexuscrawler on
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    KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I'm an atheist, and my first instinct is to say "keep religion away from my funeral!" but really it doesn't matter what they do. They could ship my body to some creepy necrophiliac for all I care.
    I don't really care what happens at my funeral as long as it's known that I don't necessarily approve of any of it.


    and oh god don't let Yar see this thread
    Why, what does Yar think about funerals? I'm having trouble coming up with an opinion on this that would be radical enough to get him notoriety like that.

    Kaputa on
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    Xenocide GeekXenocide Geek Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    i wish for my family to consume my corpse, so they can grok me fully.

    Xenocide Geek on
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    LiveWireLiveWire Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I'm not really sure why an Atheist's funeral should be such a question mark. Members of his/her family and friends should share their memories. Maybe play some of the deceased's favorite songs and read a few passages from his favorite works of literature. All the things that a normal and decent goodbye should be, except more sincere, because you don't have some fucking stranger leading the service.

    When I die, I most definitely do not want any sort of religious service whatsoever, and I am horrified at the thought of my religious loved-ones trying anything like that. I would like to have the people close to me be close to each other. I would really like "Imagine" performed on the piano. I really love Langston Hughes, so maybe someone could read a few of his poems, and also maybe a short clip of Carl Sagan narrating Pale Blue Dot would be nice.

    As for my body, donate it to science. I won't be needing it. Putting a rotting body in the ground is perverse. Cremation is selfish and wasteful. I think there is beauty and nobility to giving your body for the benefit of human knowledge.

    LiveWire on
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    JunpeiJunpei Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I wish for my body to help pioneer Soylent Green

    Junpei on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    My main issue with religion being associated with my funeral is I've spent a great deal of my life trying to disassociate with religious hooey.

    I want to leave as much of my personality behind as possible, and having it obscured with some bullshit is kind of like taking a shit on my grave. It won't hurt me, but it's so very far from my wishes.

    Incenjucar on
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    The_LightbringerThe_Lightbringer Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I've always wanted to put on my tombstone those famous last words: "Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something."

    The_Lightbringer on
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