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Religious ceremonies at funerals

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I'm not sure how I feel about this so I'm just fielding for some opinions from others.

When a person dies, whose religious beliefs do you think should rightfully dictate the religious leanings of the ceremonies held at their funeral, the deceased's or their loved ones? I mean, is it disrespectful or improper for family and friends to commit a known atheist to an afterlife they did not believe in, perhaps even one belonging to a religion they condemned in life? On the other hand, is it unfair or unrealistic to ask loved ones to put aside their own religious beliefs out of respect for the deceased?

Any and all opinions welcome, thanks for your input.

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I'm not sure how I feel about this so I'm just fielding for some opinions from others.

When a person dies, whose religious beliefs do you think should rightfully dictate the religious leanings of the ceremonies held at their funeral, the deceased's or their loved ones? I mean, is it disrespectful or improper for family and friends to commit a known atheist to an afterlife they did not believe in, perhaps even one belonging to a religion they condemned in life? On the other hand, is it unfair or unrealistic to ask loved ones to put aside their own religious beliefs out of respect for the deceased?

Any and all opinions welcome, thanks for your input.

Intrinsically, I think the wishes of the deceased should be honored.

However, in practicality funerals are for the living to pay the respects they would like to pay to their loved ones. For them, the way they wish to do so may include a religious ceremony. There is no easy answer but speaking for myself, I personally don't think what is done with my cadaver is gonna mean much to me but likely affect my family and friends a great deal - so outside of barring outrageous expenses on gravestones and coffins as some do I ask for a simple sendoff but am not actually likely to be offended and "haunt" them if they add their own interpretation or ceremony that means something to them to the day B) .

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I'm not sure how I feel about this so I'm just fielding for some opinions from others.

When a person dies, whose religious beliefs do you think should rightfully dictate the religious leanings of the ceremonies held at their funeral, the deceased's or their loved ones? I mean, is it disrespectful or improper for family and friends to commit a known atheist to an afterlife they did not believe in, perhaps even one belonging to a religion they condemned in life? On the other hand, is it unfair or unrealistic to ask loved ones to put aside their own religious beliefs out of respect for the deceased?

Any and all opinions welcome, thanks for your input.

Good question. Since I myself think all religion is fantasy, I think it would dishonor my memory, if after my death, I was treated to religious dogma. So yes, if they're loved ones, they will honor the deceased. That is, if they have any honor. If they have no honor, they can do whatever it is they want, regardless of the deceased. Mankind has no honor, so I expect they will rejoicce on the day of my death, and treat my body with the same desecrations they've done with it when it was alive. How people deal with death is at least as important as how they deal with life. If you honored them in life, then dishonor them in death, you might as well have p***ed on their ashes.

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This is an interesting question, indeed. I'm of the opinion that while funerals are to honor the deceased, the service itself is to bring comfort to those left behind. It's always a good idea to know the deceased's preferences for the service, so that they would be honored in the way they would've wanted. That's why I think it's so very important for the person to put it all down in writing prior to death, so what they want to happen, will happen. When my Grandmother passed, my uncle ignored her wishes to have someone sing a particular song. To me, that was a disservice to my Grandmother's memory. My uncle's point of view was that he didn't particularly like the person nor did he like the song. Honestly, I understand why he made the decision, but I also didn't agree with it, and felt like he was being truly selfish. I guess my best answer would be that there should be a balance - incorporating everything that the deceased would want to have in place to honor him/her while having things added that the family and loved ones would like - never taking away from the deceased's true intent and vision. I know for me, when I die, I want my family to laugh. I am aware that they may shed tears, but I want them to be encouraged to stand up and tell funny stories about some of the truly goofy things I've said and done in my life. And whatever else they want to do is okay with me, because at that point there wouldn't be a whole lot that I could say about it, anyway.

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Intrinsically, I think the wishes of the deceased should be honored.

I agree!

However, in practicality funerals are for the living to pay the respects they would like to pay to their loved ones. For them, the way they wish to do so may include a religious ceremony. There is no easy answer but speaking for myself, I personally don't think what is done with my cadaver is gonna mean much to me but likely affect my family and friends a great deal - so outside of barring outrageous expenses on gravestones and coffins as some do I ask for a simple sendoff but am not actually likely to be offended and "haunt" them if they add their own interpretation or ceremony that means something to them to the day B) .

If friends and relatives want some kind of religious aspect to the funeral, they should do it afterwards and at a different location such as in a church or a family members home.

As an atheist, I would hate to have a religious ceremony at my grave site.......even though I wouldn't be around to see it.

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living.

at one time i would have said otherwise, however when my husband died, i learned different.

We were legally separated and he was hit by a car, because we were still legally married, i was still considered the one who legally made all the decisions.

after a week in a coma, his brain was 'dead' other then brain stem activity. there was no hope, period. the only thing keeping him going was the machines and even they could not stop some of the 'internal' failures that were systematically going on.

SOOOOOOOOO rather than having him linger on for weeks on a machine, i had them remove him from life support.

Now, heres where it got tricky. Roy and I had different beliefs. I agnostic leaning heavily towards atheism, he? Agnostic, yet.. liking the new age paganism as well, but not for spiritual reasons. He honestly believed (and I do not doubt some truth to this) that we all are our own 'faith'. Our minds/brains are not fully utilized as it could be, there are things within us that while not god in the sense of the bible, are highly developed to a point of being tied to earth and space. our 'energy/soul' was part of that mingling and our bodies and brains just housed the soul and our brains interpreted what it could.

It is difficult to explain, but thats the best I could do.

Anways, to make a long boring story longer here, his family is mostly christians.

they could not accept how he or i believed, it was/is horrid to them. they cannot fathom it, so they ignore it.

his mom had a very difficult time over his death, and i do mean difficult. she died soon afterwards, however, she just could not handle that her adult son, her first born, her baby.. (yes yes he was nearing 50, but we all know your kids are always your babies) was gone, and in such a sensless way (he was crossing a school cross guard for visually impaired, on his way to a bus stop when a woman on a cell phone, speeding, did not see the cross guard stopping traffic and hit roy.. though it was tragic the other part of me is happy she did not kill any students.. blind children).

for her, the religious ceremony gave her peace of mind enough to move foward even if only for a little over a year. depressed though she was over it, she managed to get through another year for her daughter and her other grandchild.. because of the religous ceremony.

Roy was gone.. if there is life after death, he was still gone. from this world.

his funeral may have been something he thought of before death, but once dead.. it mattered not for him, but the living who it did matter for, needed their way of closure.

it may not have been my way, but it did not hurt me to understand, feel compassion and let her deal with it in the way she needed.

roys girlfriend (we were separated so i had no issues) was like him in beliefs, and wanted a bit of his ashes for a necklace, and i gave permission for this, then gave his ashes to his mother and sister to do with them what they needed to do.

i think it was the fairest thing to do, for the living left behind.

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I agree!

If friends and relatives want some kind of religious aspect to the funeral, they should do it afterwards and at a different location such as in a church or a family members home.

As an atheist, I would hate to have a religious ceremony at my grave site.......even though I wouldn't be around to see it.

Just saying lightly - it cracks me up how people can say they would "hate" this or that at their funeral. Fact is: they wouldn't feel that hatred at all, cos they wouldn't be there and never know it occurred.

Yeah, it doesn't really honour the memory of who we were when friends and family go off on a tangent and do their own thing.

My experience has been though that funerals are about a fullbodied opportunity to grieve. For some, that grief is manifested best in ceremony. A rosary, for example, can't occur in the absence of the coffin - not really, yet even as a non practicing catholic it is of more value to me in releasing grief than attending the funeral itself.

Funerals in and of themselves can be quite ridiculous - not to be callous but as stated previously what bugs me most is the issues of expense the family are left with. I have made it abundantly clear that providing an exlusively appointed five star hotel environment for a bunch of worms to chow down on my dead meat is just gonna be proof I'm surrounded by idiots :w00t: and I would be glad not to be around to see that. I think they get the point but in the emotion of the moment the grieving are the vulnerable and can't always be held accountable for how they manifest that grief I think.

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I am of the opinion that the wishes of the deceased be adhered to no matter what. Therefore, if the person was an atheist, then a civil ceremony or similar would be better. I am aware that certain family members may well be religous, but I dont think that enters into the equation where the deceased's wishes are concerned. Any religous family member can always say their own prayers quietly to themselves if that is what they wish to do.

As for my own funeral, i would like my family and friends to have a big party and remember me for the good times we had :)

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Just saying lightly - it cracks me up how people can say they would "hate" this or that at their funeral. Fact is: they wouldn't feel that hatred at all, cos they wouldn't be there and never know it occurred.

*Snip*

I'm not thinking about this from an "I'm already dead stance". I'm still living and breathing....... and still capable of hating something that may happen in the future.

Think about what people are really saying! :unsure:

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I'm not sure how I feel about this so I'm just fielding for some opinions from others.

When a person dies, whose religious beliefs do you think should rightfully dictate the religious leanings of the ceremonies held at their funeral, the deceased's or their loved ones? I mean, is it disrespectful or improper for family and friends to commit a known atheist to an afterlife they did not believe in, perhaps even one belonging to a religion they condemned in life? On the other hand, is it unfair or unrealistic to ask loved ones to put aside their own religious beliefs out of respect for the deceased?

Any and all opinions welcome, thanks for your input.

I think it ultimately should be left to the deceased (unless they left no wishes in that regard). If they want something specific done for there funeral or want to be buried somewhere specific/have there ashes spead in a certain place thhan those wishes should be respected. When it comes to loved ones making the decision... well, which loved one is best qualified to make that decision? If the person's spouse believed one thing, their parents believed another and their children believed something else which belief ends up being the right one to use? Personally that can all get very messy.

I have been to funerals of non-religious people and when the family shoehorns their faith into it... well it just seems disrespectful. Much like those people that baptise you after death.

If someone wants to honor a person in a way befitting their faith, they can still do that. I just don't think hijacking the funeral is the way to do it, especially since the purpose of a uneral is to cememorate a person's life. Doing so in a way that's not true to them (ie having a christian uneral for someone who was atheist) just seems very wrong to me.

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When my mom died,I followed her ideals ,which are similar to my families.

When I die,I have some very specific requests.The people who loved me in life ,will respect them,as they respected me .

I am the only practicing pagan amongst my nearest and dearest.

If it offends anyone ,dont come to my funeral.

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I think it ultimately should be left to the deceased (unless they left no wishes in that regard). If they want something specific done for there funeral or want to be buried somewhere specific/have there ashes spead in a certain place thhan those wishes should be respected. When it comes to loved ones making the decision... well, which loved one is best qualified to make that decision? If the person's spouse believed one thing, their parents believed another and their children believed something else which belief ends up being the right one to use? Personally that can all get very messy.

I think legally (if the deceased made no request), the spouse gets to choose. If there's no spouse then it could get messy.

I have been to funerals of non-religious people and when the family shoehorns their faith into it... well it just seems disrespectful. Much like those people that baptise you after death.

If someone wants to honor a person in a way befitting their faith, they can still do that. I just don't think hijacking the funeral is the way to do it, especially since the purpose of a uneral is to cememorate a person's life. Doing so in a way that's not true to them (ie having a christian uneral for someone who was atheist) just seems very wrong to me.

Agreed! :tu:

By the way......is your F key broken? :P

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I think legally (if the deceased made no request), the spouse gets to choose. If there's no spouse then it could get messy.

Yeah and messy is not good.

Agreed! :tu:

By the way......is your F key broken? :P

As it happens, yeah. :blush: Stupid thing has decided not to work half the time. Maybe I should poke it with something?

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Funerals in and of themselves can be quite ridiculous - not to be callous but as stated previously what bugs me most is the issues of expense the family are left with. I have made it abundantly clear that providing an exlusively appointed five star hotel environment for a bunch of worms to chow down on my dead meat is just gonna be proof I'm surrounded by idiots :w00t: and I would be glad not to be around to see that. I think they get the point but in the emotion of the moment the grieving are the vulnerable and can't always be held accountable for how they manifest that grief I think.

Yeah, they got us really bad when our mom died. My brother and I didn't know what in the world we were doing and we just had this policy and they're asking if you want stainless steel this and that, and this is our mom, you know? You don't want to be cheap, this is the last thing you ever do for her, and we find out later, we went to the most expensive funeral home, but you are not in a position to shop around, that's just awful to even think of, but it also does put you in a very vulnerable position. They got every dime of her burial policy and then some from us and we had to come up with money for a headstone and stuff on our own when it should have been plenty. I'm just getting cremated. I never want anyone to have to go through that we did. Maybe we would have done better if we were older, but they knew we were young and dumb.

As for the OP question, a funeral should be a celebration of a life and that should set how the funeral is conducted, including the religious beliefs. If the family is of a different faith and seeking strength and comfort for the loss, the funeral is not the place for that. And trust me, at the funeral you are numb; it's after it's over that's awful. They could reach out to their faiths then for strength and support. And I don't know any religion that would say they could save a heathen person by any kind of religious ritual or ceremony after they've already died, so it would be pointless to dishonor the person for that.

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I do not impose my faith on anyone while I am living so there is absolutely no need to do so in death. I wish to be cremated to spare them the expense of the silliness to do with embalming and boxing me up - a large box indeed ;) But if it makes those who survive me take more comfort in going through such a ritual then they are welcome to. Most of the "wakes" I've attended in my life have had far more laughter and fellowship than tears and their usually has to be a body there for a "wake". Bottom line is that I think the least selfish way to handle the situation is to allow the family to choose. But if the individual was Atheist I also think the family should allow the non religious service to be the primary memorial. The religious observance could just as easily be graveside and it would allow the person's Atheist friends to absent themselves gracefully.

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I am of the opinion that the wishes of the deceased be adhered to no matter what. Therefore, if the person was an atheist, then a civil ceremony or similar would be better. I am aware that certain family members may well be religous, but I dont think that enters into the equation where the deceased's wishes are concerned. Any religous family member can always say their own prayers quietly to themselves if that is what they wish to do.

As for my own funeral, i would like my family and friends to have a big party and remember me for the good times we had :)

I agree completely. At my death, I don't want people to mourn my death, but to celebrate the life I had(even though my life is horrid). Not just to celebrate the life I had, but hopefully to have learned something from it to better themselves. Many people cope with death in their own ways. That's why there is usually a dinner and such, because the act of eating is in itself a portayal of living life. I want people to have a feast, a party, dance, an orgy of sex, and feel alive.

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I am not atheist, but I am not religious.. I just follow God.. But I expect to be buried in a Non Religious burial ground and it must be a Non Religious ceremony...

I would do the same for anyone out of respect it would depend on their beliefs ... I wouldn't deliberately do it my way ..That is selfish and arrogant.. mean and well you get he picture !!

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Thanks for the responses, everyone. It looks like there are some varying opinions out there (which I suppose is to be expected given the personal nature of the problem), which makes me think it's just something best treated on a case-by-case basis.

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When you die you've said your last farewells, the funeral is your whole extended crew's last chance.

So, I believe the choice should ultimately be made by your next of kin or whoever you've assigned the task in your will, with thought for the whole family of course.

:)

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I'm not sure how I feel about this so I'm just fielding for some opinions from others.

When a person dies, whose religious beliefs do you think should rightfully dictate the religious leanings of the ceremonies held at their funeral, the deceased's or their loved ones? I mean, is it disrespectful or improper for family and friends to commit a known atheist to an afterlife they did not believe in, perhaps even one belonging to a religion they condemned in life? On the other hand, is it unfair or unrealistic to ask loved ones to put aside their own religious beliefs out of respect for the deceased?

Any and all opinions welcome, thanks for your input.

I believe funerals are for the family, to help them grieve. It would be good if the wishes of the deceased could be honored, but if becasue of family situations, I think the needs of the living should be given first place. I doubt anyone would want their funeral to be a place of building up contention in the family.

What about in atheist families, when just one member was a Christian, it may not be good to have a Christian memorial if it would cause friction.

I myself would honor any wishes, but I have a very large family, so the the decision would not be just mine.

Good question.

peace

mark

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When my mom died,I followed her ideals ,which are similar to my families.

When I die,I have some very specific requests.The people who loved me in life ,will respect them,as they respected me .

I am the only practicing pagan amongst my nearest and dearest.

If it offends anyone ,dont come to my funeral.

Good answer. It should be clearly worked out before death if it is imminent and everyone should be told before hand. If not, if death is sudden, then again, I think the funeral is for the living and not for the dead. Well in my faith, we pray for the dead.

If I had a brother who was a pagan, I would tell him to let the family know before hand, that way no one would be surprised or hurt. As a Catholic I can pray for loved ones anytime.

Peace

mark

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Yeah, they got us really bad when our mom died. My brother and I didn't know what in the world we were doing and we just had this policy and they're asking if you want stainless steel this and that, and this is our mom, you know? You don't want to be cheap, this is the last thing you ever do for her, and we find out later, we went to the most expensive funeral home, but you are not in a position to shop around, that's just awful to even think of, but it also does put you in a very vulnerable position. They got every dime of her burial policy and then some from us and we had to come up with money for a headstone and stuff on our own when it should have been plenty. I'm just getting cremated. I never want anyone to have to go through that we did. Maybe we would have done better if we were older, but they knew we were young and dumb.

As for the OP question, a funeral should be a celebration of a life and that should set how the funeral is conducted, including the religious beliefs. If the family is of a different faith and seeking strength and comfort for the loss, the funeral is not the place for that. And trust me, at the funeral you are numb; it's after it's over that's awful. They could reach out to their faiths then for strength and support. And I don't know any religion that would say they could save a heathen person by any kind of religious ritual or ceremony after they've already died, so it would be pointless to dishonor the person for that.

They have green cemetaries now http://www.greenburials.org/

Peace

mark

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Posted (edited)

Good answer. It should be clearly worked out before death if it is imminent and everyone should be told before hand. If not, if death is sudden, then again, I think the funeral is for the living and not for the dead. Well in my faith, we pray for the dead.

If I had a brother who was a pagan, I would tell him to let the family know before hand, that way no one would be surprised or hurt. As a Catholic I can pray for loved ones anytime.

Peace

mark

Well I have very little family left.My entire immediate family is gone,and if i had gotten married,I'd be living in Japan now,but that didn't happen.Id actually want to be interred in Japan,but without family there,I cannot be.

My friends,nearest and dearest,are Jewish ,catholic ,Buddhist and wiccan.

So however I am buried,it will not be the same as most of my friends.

I am of the thought,that where ever the body is,you're loved one isn't there.You don't have to go to the cemetery to talk to them.Just talk,where ever you are,and they hear.

No one in my circle will care if i want to buried in a clown suit,or with a mass.

Edited by Simbi Laveau

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