Atheist Funerals

Hey folks. I’m back. Give me a bit to get my feet under me, and posting will resume.

One thing: it’s a truism that funerals are for the living. From my perspective, funerals exist to help the survivors come to grips with the gap that has opened up in their lives.

Different people will need different things as they learn to cope with the death of a loved one. But I have a hard time understanding the role of the southern baptist ceremony I just saw. All the talk about heaven and the repeated bouts of evangelism seem to me to miss the point. None of it helps close the hole that now exists.

(As an aside, I think that if Rabbi Hillel had been a Baptist, he would have stood on one leg are recited John 3:16 and the Great Commission, then proclaimed that all the rest of the Bible was commentary. I’m an atheist, but sometimes I think I get more from the Bible than they do.)

Madalyn Murray O’Hair got in trouble once when one of her supporters suggested that an atheist funeral was a contradiction. Chuck the body in a hole and go on. This strikes me a foolish and blind. The psychological issues that exist are very real and have to be dealt with, and where better to start than a funeral?

And honestly, I don’t think that religion helps deal with the problems nearly as well as many believers insist. More often than not it simply changes the subject. Perhaps the deceased is in heaven, but I’m still alive and I have to keep on living. How do I cope?

Which raises the question: what would a truly atheist funeral look like?

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