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Exchristian Funeral?


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My wife asked me about what kind of funeral service I'd want being ex-christian when she's not. I didn't have a answer right off, so thought I'd see what others had to say. I'm now a 'soft' atheist who sees Christianity as harmful to individuals and society. She's still Christian, tho not fundamentalist anymore. Pretty much all of both families and friends are Christian, many active in church & mission work, more-or-less fundamentalist. Most, but not all, know about my leaving. With all that said: What kind of service should I have?

 

I'm pretty sure it won't make a bit a difference to me, as I'll be dead and gone... Funerals being mostly for the living. But still, I don't feel quite right about some preacher saying 'Christian' things about me. Then neither would I want to upset the already grieving, esp my wife.

 

So how about it? What conclusions have others of you come to and/or thoughts for my situation.

 

Even if not in the same situation, what kind of service, if any, would you want?

 

 

BTW I don't think it's an urgent question, but with my health issues you never can tell.

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Well, are you totally opposed to any spirituality of any kind?

 

You could always simply donate your body to science. If your wife's family wants to get involved, simply have her tell them that you wished the funeral to be very, very "private".

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Preparations are a good idea. Many people leave too much for too long and then are unready to deal with such a situation. You could always write your own "service" (eulogy).

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I set up legal documents specifying (among other things) that I do not want a religious ceremony, but rather a ceremony that celebrates my life.

 

Your family and friends have plenty of opportunity to engage in religious activities. Your death doesn't have to be another public worship service. In fact, specifying that you don't want a religious ceremony might get some of them thinking.

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It seems to me that a funeral could be just as well thought out, planned and prepared for as a wedding. If it's important to you, why not? Why do Americans give it so little thought and attention? The good news is that while one might be married more than once in his lifetime, you only need to plan for one funeral. ;)

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Well, are you totally opposed to any spirituality of any kind?

 

You could always simply donate your body to science. If your wife's family wants to get involved, simply have her tell them that you wished the funeral to be very, very "private".

 

 

No, not really opposed to sprituality, or even Christianity for a individual.

 

But the damage the "Church" has done to the world is unreal. Most see the church as a positive influence, but when I look at history and see things like the crusades, book burning, surpression of science, thought and reason, the bigotry etc, I'm appalled that this is all ignored, and certainly don't want to be labeled as part of it.

 

Maybe it's sort of like dogs, indidually they're great, but let a pack of them run wild and they can be extremely destructive and viscious.

 

Donating my body doesn't really change anything, they'll still want a memorial serivice of some kind. It's what kind of service that I'm concerned with.

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No service for me, cremation and dispersion. If relatives want to have a "wake" and celebrate my memory, I wouldn't begrudge them, but I wish for no "ceremony" per se...

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No service for me, cremation and dispersion. If relatives want to have a "wake" and celebrate my memory, I wouldn't begrudge them, but I wish for no "ceremony" per se...

 

Exactly the same here. No service, no burial.

 

I have already documented everything and kept it with my will. A friend of mine has a copy of all the paperwork as she is my beneficiary.

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I'm having the old Japanese Buddhist funeral......there's something so cool about having people pick out your calcified remains with chopsticks and passing them around to each other.

 

Or, I'm really keen on a mummification, and of course tomb filled with myriad priceless objects. And I'll have a friend write a spell and a curse to make sure that if anybody ever tries to break into my tomb and steal my shit, my body will revive into an indestructable, fire-blowing Super-Mummy, along with my thousands of clay warriors which will turn into a deathless army, to bust up the shit of the intruder!

 

Yeah......you should go with that. ;)

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I like the idea of a memorial service. I'm planning on cremation. Don't really see any need for my out of service body to linger and rot (ick) anywhere.

 

I also like the idea of asking close friends and family to each compose a small speech (specifying an absence of religious trappings, i.e. prayer) about you and sharing it. No one says only one person (a minister) can speak at your funeral. You can even pick your music beforehand. Not to mention shop around and check the local laws concerning treatment of a corpse in your area. While you are ALIVE is the time to shop around for your funeral accessories. Get good prices, really decide what you "need" versus what they want to "sell". Those shysters will happily fleece your grieving widow after you are gone if you don't plan all that ahead.

 

I forget where the story is, but one couple who did all the research spent all of $1000 dollars for the husband's death. They'd checked the laws beforehand. The widow dressed the body and packed him into a "temporary" cardboard box, and took him straight to the crematorium in the back of a pickup. The ashes were placed in the pre-bought urn (he picked it out), and they had a gathering of friends inside their home.

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A good friend of mine died a couple years ago and he was an atheist.

 

The funeral was held at a church solely because it was the only place large enough to accomodate all of his friends who would be coming to the event, something like 400 people showed up.

 

It was neat because when you walked in there was a collage of pictures of Peter and they had a mix of his favorite songs playing. I distinctly remember the Divinyls "I Touch Myself" song playing.

 

They had some performers sing a goodbye song in a language from his native land, New Zealand, and then people close to him kind of ran things and said some things.

 

Then they opened up the podium and invited people to come share a memory of Peter (which last quite a long time because there were so many).

 

I think that was probably the best (if there can be a good funeral) funeral I've ever been to and probably how I would like mine done.

 

I perhaps would add some readings from Thomas Paine or some of the founding fathers I liked as well with the admonission that people need to think for themselves.

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Whatever you do, make sure the person you choose to carry out your last wishes will really do it. My mom had it put in her will that she didn't want a service, but when, during a meeting between my dad, my pastor (I hadn't left church yet), my sister and me, the pastor brought her wishes up, my sister chimed in "A service helps the family" or something along those lines. My dad went along with it, so we had a memorial service. I didn't want to make a scene (I was already planning my exit stratagy from church, and I need to grow a spine anyway), but I was shocked that someone's last wishes could be swept away, even when listed in a legal document. A will is worth nothing if it is not carried out.

 

My other sister and her family were unable to attend the funeral. She told me they simply had their own "service"; she, her husband, their kids and spouses, and a few neighbors (who knew my mom from when she spent winters down south with my sister) gathered in their living room and shared thoughts and stories about my mom. Simple. I thought more of that plan than the "official" memorial service, and I really should have hopped a plane and joined them.

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My other sister and her family were unable to attend the funeral. She told me they simply had their own "service"; she, her husband, their kids and spouses, and a few neighbors (who knew my mom from when she spent winters down south with my sister) gathered in their living room and shared thoughts and stories about my mom. Simple. I thought more of that plan than the "official" memorial service, and I really should have hopped a plane and joined them.

Sounds like exactly what my family does...

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Gonna have a huge waterpipe fulla fruit loops, my friends, detractors, enemies, and all light up and toke me a contact high...

 

I'd prefer that my big carcass be used for whatever science use might be gained, then my assorted parts torched and the ashes buried with my favorite mutts back in back yard. THEN the katZ whom the dogs and I have chased all their lives can spend generations pissing on the guys who pissed them off so often.

 

After I am frackin' d-e-d and gone, I don't care if the Pope and his entourage drives the fuckin' Popemobile over my ass in a parade, or the neocons send me to some South American country to be a leader, what is inside will be long assed gone to whatever pans out...

 

But it has to be REAL Fruit Loops, and not the generics for the 'pipe tho...

 

kL

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No service for me, cremation and dispersion. If relatives want to have a "wake" and celebrate my memory, I wouldn't begrudge them, but I wish for no "ceremony" per se...

 

 

No service for me either. At their request, neither one of my parents had a funeral either. After each of my parents died the kids invited family and friends over to the family home. My parents had lived in the house for 45 years so the neighbors were close friends and helped out too. People took turns telling stories of my mother and father and how much they would be missed. It was a very relaxed and non-stressful event that hardly cost a thing. Later the immediate family gathered to spread the ashes at the exact spot in the Mojave Desert where they both wanted to be put to rest.

 

Both of my parents hated the idea of a formal funeral. I was so glad they spelled out their wishes. Now I know that is how my final goodbye will be done too. No hard pews, no suits and ties, no man who never knew me sanding up in front talking about me, just my family and friends saying goodbye.

 

IBF

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When I die, i dont care what happens to my body. However, for the service, I have only one rule:

 

If there is to be a religious overtone, first and foremost it must be made known that (1) I have once lived a christian, (2) subsequently rejected it in its entirity, and finally (3) died happy knowing I was an atheist.

 

If there is no religious overtone, this need not be made known.

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My uncle, one of the few non-fundies in my family, died a while back. During his life he was always a little suspect among other members of my family. For one he was a Democrat. Beside that he enjoyed an occasional glass of wine and wasn't afraid to to say "damn" if circumstances warranted. He went to church, but just because my family expected that of him. I would argue he was never very serious about it. Other than that, he was a really great man. I respected him a lot for his kindness and his intelligence.

 

What was interesting is the rumors that circled when he died. He died a sudden and unexpected death. If the rumor mill in my family is to be believed he really made, he really "drew close to the lord" during the last few months of his life. He took an unusual interest in church and prayer and focused on his relationship with Jesus.

 

Frankly I think this was all bullshit. He didn't change, my family just had to bolster their beliefs by reinterpreting events so that they could assure themselves that Ed was going to heaven and not the hell that lukewarm xtians like himself were slated for.

 

With this in mind, I don't care what they do with my body, but I don't want any of this kind of assumption to take place when my time comes. I want it to be clear that I went confident that xtianity is a cult and that I died a happy atheist.

 

I don't want a mockery made of all the hard thinking I have done over the years.

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OK, so a lot of us are saying we don't want a service, maybe just a nice gathering in our home for a time of remembrance. And we want it made clear, if neccessary, that we are atheist, agnostic, or whatever belief, but most definitely not Christian. How can we be absolutely sure our wishes will be carried out?

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OK, so a lot of us are saying we don't want a service, maybe just a nice gathering in our home for a time of remembrance. And we want it made clear, if neccessary, that we are atheist, agnostic, or whatever belief, but most definitely not Christian. How can we be absolutely sure our wishes will be carried out?

 

The simple truth is that you can't, except to the degee you trust the people who will have to make the arrangements to follow your wishes.

 

In my case I trust my wife to, in spite of our disagreements of belief. I'm just not sure yet of what my wishes are. Since church memorial services are the norm in our family, I don't know how far I want to ask her to stray from that. I'm reaonably sure that if I asked for a specific type of humanist/atheist service she'd try to honor that request, but I'm pretty sure that would cause a lot of people pain and I don't want that either.

 

I also would prefer that no one claims I believed or regreted my deconversion.

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You could make a videotape and request it be played in lieu of a ceremony. You could videotape yourself saying goodbye or stating your beliefs. You could include family photos of your childhood, wedding, and cherished memories. You could play your favorite music in the background.

 

It's a way of taking control of at least a piece of your memorial, and a chance for you to state your beliefs for the record if you wish.

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I have promised my mother that if I die before her and she gives me a Christian ceremony, I will come back to haunt her.

 

While you may not believe in ghosts, hey, your wife might.......

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I thought about this, and initially I felt that the most important factors were that when you are dead, like you pointed out, you are gone and the funeral is for the family. Therefore, if they want to sing hymns and pray to jesus, that's fine. It's their business, because those emotions of grief are just too overwhelming to make this situation a battle-ground of ideas. As far as the family goes in these differences, the ultimate goal of our xtian side is to liberate them from religious slavishness; for their welfare. To leave them without the only means that they know how to handle these deep feelings of loss can seem like missing the whole point - their welfare. They may need this comfort of religion desperately.

But, on the other hand, I also think that it's very desirable to have the last word in whatever rite is done. Perhaps you can choose a trusted survivor to read aloud a carefully written statement by you at the funeral, in which you can state your disdain for whatever religious things are going on, and describe what you think are the real sources of strength and comfort in this life for your surviving loved ones.

Imagine how that could raise some hell!.....everyone would never forget how you wanted to be remembered, and your loved ones will have all the comfort that they need from religion during a difficult time. And, this is the good part; it wouldn't surprise me if after you are gone and after your family heard those views read, that some if not all turned away from the church shortly thereafter. I've learned that one of the most fascinating things about grief is how the people close to the deceased will take on many of the deceased persons qualities and ways of living that they previously, while the loved one was living, did not. These will be things that add depth and happiness to a persons life, like an increased sociability, or increased thoughtfulness,(etc.). It's seems to be a way we live on after death through our loved ones. And a clear message like the one described above may help others close to you enjoy the freedoms you have in these ways.

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