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Death, funeral and humanism

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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Compassionist
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Death, funeral and humanism

#1 Post by Compassionist » October 25th, 2014, 9:06 pm

A Christian acquaintance of mine told me that he went to a humanist funeral. He said that it was empty and hopeless. He said that for humanists, death is the end and for Christians, death is the beginning of a joyful eternity in heaven with God and other Christians. I told him that his beliefs may bring him comfort but that didn't make them true. He said that it was better to be a Christian than a huanist as Christians enjoy the comfort derived from their beliefs while alive. When they are dead, if Christianity is false, then they are dead and unable to be disappointed. I accepted his point and asked him what if Hinduism was true or what if Islam was true or what if Humanism was true. He said that he believed that only Christianity was true even though he couldn't prove it. What do you think about all that?

Fia
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Re: Death, funeral and humanism

#2 Post by Fia » October 25th, 2014, 9:59 pm

Does your sad friend miss the word hope after the sure and certain afterlife that is part of the xtian ceremony? That word is usually mumbled right enough :)

I think it's far healthier to live as if this is the only life we have. To take care of our fellow human beings and the wonderful planet we share with so many other species. To have respect for all. To try to leave as little damage as possible. To rejoice and share in the now. To be and do good simply because it's the right thing to do, not having a celestial tickbox which inevitably involves money, strict control of my behaviour - of course as a woman I'm damned before I start :wink:

I guess there is an irrational possibility I may be disappointed when I die because most of us are wrong and I may get sent back as an insect to try better. But at least I can hold my head high knowing I've lived an ethically good life because it's the right thing to do. That feels far more comfortable to me.

Your friend, Compo, perhaps needs to understand that it's ok to not believe. That a funeral should reflect the deceased. That respect should be given to whatever way that person chose to live their life.

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Alan H
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Re: Death, funeral and humanism

#3 Post by Alan H » October 25th, 2014, 10:00 pm

Compassionist wrote:A Christian acquaintance of mine told me that he went to a humanist funeral. He said that it was empty and hopeless. He said that for humanists, death is the end and for Christians, death is the beginning of a joyful eternity in heaven with God and other Christians. I told him that his beliefs may bring him comfort but that didn't make them true. He said that it was better to be a Christian than a huanist as Christians enjoy the comfort derived from their beliefs while alive. When they are dead, if Christianity is false, then they are dead and unable to be disappointed. I accepted his point and asked him what if Hinduism was true or what if Islam was true or what if Humanism was true. He said that he believed that only Christianity was true even though he couldn't prove it. What do you think about all that?
I've never seen a christian giving a joyful send off for their loved one heading off for this 'joyful eternity in heaven with God and other Christians'. They always seem to mourn every bit as much as everyone else.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Dave B
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Re: Death, funeral and humanism

#4 Post by Dave B » October 25th, 2014, 10:17 pm

We have a local undertaker who will arrange any kind of, legal, secular funeral celebration you ask for. Recent ones have featured Star Trek and The Wild West but discos, balls, snooker tournaments and others have also happened IIRC.

Usually the deceased has set the theme and arranged for funding it.

He, Jan Tury, also wrote, "Who put the Fun in Funeral?" (available from Amazon.) Last thing I heard he had not collected his royalties for a year and was being nagged into donating them to a charity.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Altfish
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Re: Death, funeral and humanism

#5 Post by Altfish » October 25th, 2014, 10:48 pm

Compassionist wrote:A Christian acquaintance of mine told me that he went to a humanist funeral. He said that it was empty and hopeless. He said that for humanists, death is the end and for Christians, death is the beginning of a joyful eternity in heaven with God and other Christians. I told him that his beliefs may bring him comfort but that didn't make them true. He said that it was better to be a Christian than a huanist as Christians enjoy the comfort derived from their beliefs while alive. When they are dead, if Christianity is false, then they are dead and unable to be disappointed. I accepted his point and asked him what if Hinduism was true or what if Islam was true or what if Humanism was true. He said that he believed that only Christianity was true even though he couldn't prove it. What do you think about all that?
My experience has been the opposite, most religious people attending humanist funerals say how much they enjoyed it (They could just be being polite of course). The funeral is ALL about the deceased and not about a god.
If a belief in the afterlife gives them comfort, I wouldn't want to take that away from them. I have been asked, where do I think I will "go". I usually answer along the lines of, "Where were you in 1900? OK so you weren't born; well when you are dead it will be similar but your friends and family will have memories of you".
"When they are dead, if Christianity is false, then they are dead and unable to be disappointed." is of course Pascal's Wager and the answer you gave was the correct debunking of it.

lewist
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Re: Death, funeral and humanism

#6 Post by lewist » October 25th, 2014, 11:48 pm

Compassionist! This is a brilliant idea for a thread.

As others have said, we live life as if it is the only one we have, striving to do things because they are right rather than out of fear of some supernatural being. We take pleasure in the good things in life, family, friends, our choice of the myriad that makes up human experience. It strikes me that your friend is in a waiting room, a bit miserable because he is only waiting for something he believes is to come, and which we have severe doubts about.
Carpe diem. Savour every moment.

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Dave B
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Re: Death, funeral and humanism

#7 Post by Dave B » October 26th, 2014, 11:34 am

your friend is in a waiting room
Interesting new concept, Lewis, "Life is merely a holy waiting room."!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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animist
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Re: Death, funeral and humanism

#8 Post by animist » October 26th, 2014, 11:51 am

has anyone chosen their preferred music, if any, for their funeral? I have done so, but I keep changing it. :laughter: A more serious question: if one is a humanist but one's nearest and dearest are more religious, should one opt for a ceremony which comforts them, rather than insisting on a humanist affair? My answer is - yes

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Dave B
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Re: Death, funeral and humanism

#9 Post by Dave B » October 26th, 2014, 12:14 pm

animist wrote:has anyone chosen their preferred music, if any, for their funeral? I have done so, but I keep changing it. :laughter: A more serious question: if one is a humanist but one's nearest and dearest are more religious, should one opt for a ceremony which comforts them, rather than insisting on a humanist affair? My answer is - yes
Agreed, animist, all that will be left of us is our works (if any) and memories in the minds of others. Better that they come to terms and rest in whatever way suits them best.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Altfish
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Re: Death, funeral and humanism

#10 Post by Altfish » October 26th, 2014, 12:45 pm

animist wrote:has anyone chosen their preferred music, if any, for their funeral? I have done so, but I keep changing it. :laughter: A more serious question: if one is a humanist but one's nearest and dearest are more religious, should one opt for a ceremony which comforts them, rather than insisting on a humanist affair? My answer is - yes
Yes for me too...

The Fall ~ Fit & Working Again (That should get a laugh!)
Kristen Hersh - Your Ghost

...other tracks change regularly

Fia
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Re: Death, funeral and humanism

#11 Post by Fia » October 26th, 2014, 1:17 pm

Alan H wrote:I've never seen a christian giving a joyful send off for their loved one heading off for this 'joyful eternity in heaven with God and other Christians'. They always seem to mourn every bit as much as everyone else.
True, Alan.
animist wrote:has anyone chosen their preferred music, if any, for their funeral? I have done so, but I keep changing it. :laughter: A more serious question: if one is a humanist but one's nearest and dearest are more religious, should one opt for a ceremony which comforts them, rather than insisting on a humanist affair? My answer is - yes
For the former, yes, sort of, as I have 3 which is too may:
Eric Burdon: "Mother Earth"
- spine-tingling sax but rather long so probably just:

Fairport Convention with Sandy Denny: "Who knows where the time goes?"
and everyone going out to "The Bright Side of Life", hopefully lustily joining in :D

For the latter, although funerals are for the living, I think they should be done on the wishes of the deceased. It's a last token of respect if you like.

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Altfish
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Re: Death, funeral and humanism

#12 Post by Altfish » October 26th, 2014, 1:45 pm

Fia wrote: Fairport Convention with Sandy Denny: "Who knows where the time goes?"
and everyone going out to "The Bright Side of Life", hopefully lustily joining in :D
My brother does lots of humanist funerals and "The Bright Side of Life" is one of the most popular, "Who knows where the time goes?" is not as popular but not uncommon.

My wife wants "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane - mind you that is now a car advert for Citreon(?)

Fia
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Re: Death, funeral and humanism

#13 Post by Fia » October 26th, 2014, 2:11 pm

With my Humanist Celebrant hat on, Altfish, I envy your brother's family's choices.

I have learnt to not let my heart-sinking show in my face when asked for 'My Way' yet again. It's still the most popular, closely followed by "Over the Rainbow".

I'd rather enjoy "I got de paper, who's got de match?" at the crem but no-one's yet been brave enough :D

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Altfish
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Re: Death, funeral and humanism

#14 Post by Altfish » October 26th, 2014, 2:15 pm

Fia wrote:With my Humanist Celebrant hat on, Altfish, I envy your brother's family's choices.

I have learnt to not let my heart-sinking show in my face when asked for 'My Way' yet again. It's still the most popular, closely followed by "Over the Rainbow".

I'd rather enjoy "I got de paper, who's got de match?" at the crem but no-one's yet been brave enough :D
Yes, there's also a Queen one, is it "We Are the Champions", Tina Turner "Simply the Best" :deadhorse: , The Doors "Light My Fire" was funny the first time but the 51st time??

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Dave B
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Re: Death, funeral and humanism

#15 Post by Dave B » October 26th, 2014, 2:35 pm

I sometimes feel that, "Always look..." is a bit cliche but it still keeps coming back to being my choice as well.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Ron Webb
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Re: Death, funeral and humanism

#16 Post by Ron Webb » October 26th, 2014, 3:33 pm

Compassionist wrote:A Christian acquaintance of mine told me that he went to a humanist funeral. He said that it was empty and hopeless. He said that for humanists, death is the end and for Christians, death is the beginning of a joyful eternity in heaven with God and other Christians. I told him that his beliefs may bring him comfort but that didn't make them true.
Exactly. Whatever it may be, death is the same for all of us. You can't make something true merely by believing it.
He said that it was better to be a Christian than a huanist as Christians enjoy the comfort derived from their beliefs while alive. When they are dead, if Christianity is false, then they are dead and unable to be disappointed.
I think at that point I would have agreed with him: Christians believe because they want to believe, not because it's true.
P.S.: Actually, if Christianity is false, he may find himself cast in the eternal fire of the Muslim hell. Belief in Christ (or any man) as God is the ultimate sin in Islam. Frankly, as an agnostic I think I stand a better chance of Allah's mercy than he does.
I accepted his point and asked him what if Hinduism was true or what if Islam was true or what if Humanism was true. He said that he believed that only Christianity was true even though he couldn't prove it. What do you think about all that?
I wonder if he also believes in Santa Claus? :wink:

Compassionist
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Re: Death, funeral and humanism

#17 Post by Compassionist » October 26th, 2014, 4:17 pm

Thank you to all who replied. It is great to read your responses. Your posts made me think about my death and funeral. My parents, uncles, aunts, cousins are all Muslims. My wife is a practising Christian (Protestant). Everyone from her side of the family are also Christians. Our son is undecided. All of my humanist friends are people from this forum. Who is going to come to my funeral? What kind of funeral would please all my relatives? As an ex-Muslim ex-Christian Humanist I am hell-bound according to both Islam and Christianity! I am a source of shame and sadness for my relatives. Really hard to know whether I should leave any funeral instructions. Anyone else here with such funeral dilemma? Any advice is welcome.

Compassionist
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Re: Death, funeral and humanism

#18 Post by Compassionist » October 26th, 2014, 4:19 pm

I just noticed a typo in my original post:
Compassionist wrote:A Christian acquaintance of mine told me that he went to a humanist funeral. He said that it was empty and hopeless. He said that for humanists, death is the end and for Christians, death is the beginning of a joyful eternity in heaven with God and other Christians. I told him that his beliefs may bring him comfort but that didn't make them true. He said that it was better to be a Christian than a humanist (sorry, I unintentionally missed out the 'm') as Christians enjoy the comfort derived from their beliefs while alive. When they are dead, if Christianity is false, then they are dead and unable to be disappointed. I accepted his point and asked him what if Hinduism was true or what if Islam was true or what if Humanism was true. He said that he believed that only Christianity was true even though he couldn't prove it. What do you think about all that?

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animist
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Re: Death, funeral and humanism

#19 Post by animist » October 26th, 2014, 7:27 pm

Compassionist wrote:Thank you to all who replied. It is great to read your responses. Your posts made me think about my death and funeral. My parents, uncles, aunts, cousins are all Muslims. My wife is a practising Christian (Protestant). Everyone from her side of the family are also Christians. Our son is undecided. All of my humanist friends are people from this forum. Who is going to come to my funeral? What kind of funeral would please all my relatives? As an ex-Muslim ex-Christian Humanist I am hell-bound according to both Islam and Christianity! I am a source of shame and sadness for my relatives. Really hard to know whether I should leave any funeral instructions. Anyone else here with such funeral dilemma? Any advice is welcome.
this is pretty glib, but if you have one lot of religious nuts on one side and another on the other, maybe that is a bit of comfort, however perversely? You will never please all of them because they must think that the other lot are as damned as you! So why bother? In your case I would recommend demanding a humanist funeral, and if they care about you they will comply. BTW, saw your message about Skype, so I will try to get round to downloading it :smile:

Compassionist
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Re: Death, funeral and humanism

#20 Post by Compassionist » October 26th, 2014, 7:37 pm

animist wrote:
Compassionist wrote:Thank you to all who replied. It is great to read your responses. Your posts made me think about my death and funeral. My parents, uncles, aunts, cousins are all Muslims. My wife is a practising Christian (Protestant). Everyone from her side of the family are also Christians. Our son is undecided. All of my humanist friends are people from this forum. Who is going to come to my funeral? What kind of funeral would please all my relatives? As an ex-Muslim ex-Christian Humanist I am hell-bound according to both Islam and Christianity! I am a source of shame and sadness for my relatives. Really hard to know whether I should leave any funeral instructions. Anyone else here with such funeral dilemma? Any advice is welcome.
this is pretty glib, but if you have one lot of religious nuts on one side and another on the other, maybe that is a bit of comfort, however perversely? You will never please all of them because they must think that the other lot are as damned as you! So why bother? In your case I would recommend demanding a humanist funeral, and if they care about you they will comply. BTW, saw your message about Skype, so I will try to get round to downloading it :smile:
Thanks animist. I like the point you are making. Would I need to make a formal statement in a Will regarding wanting a Humanist funeral or is telling my wife enough? Who would come to my funeral as all the humanists I am friends with are on this forum and none of them live in Northern Ireland? Of course, I am hoping that I won't be needing a funeral for at least 50 years. :D

(I would be happy to chat on Skype with you.)

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