In the event of my funeral

Not planning to die any time soon, but a combination of talking to condescending Christians and finding out I need to seriously work on my health has me thinking about the subject more than I have in years. So I’m writing this post as a record of my wishes for those who would be tasked with the arrangements.

Regarding the ceremony, please have one. Ceremonies are good. Hold it wherever you want, run it as you see fit, as casual or as formal as you deem appropriate, invite whoever you like.

- but -

If the ceremony is presided over by a priest (or any religious officer), or if any speaker prays, or says anything about God, or the Bible, or Heaven, or any kind of afterlife (excepting the most figurative sense ie “live on in our memories, through his great deeds etc”), then the following disclaimer must be read at the end of the service on my behalf:

Hello! If you’re hearing this it means I’m no longer alive, and religion has been invoked on the occasion of my funeral. This is fine, perhaps to be expected, but now I will have the last word on the subject, because I am the guest of honour.

For the record, I want it to be known that I do not endorse any attempt to turn the occasion of my death into a religious one. I don’t believe in God, or the afterlife, or any of that nonsense. I am quite sure my existence has come to an end. And if somehow on some vanishingly small off-chance it hasn’t, please know that it’s still far more likely that I live on in a parallel universe, or that we’ve all been living in the Matrix, than that I’m flouncing about in Heaven or roasting in eternal Hellfire. Does anyone still believe in Hell? I think even most Christians have let that one go by now haven’t they? No need to answer that, it’s a rhetorical question.

So anyway… be as happy as you can for as long as you can, because this life is all you’re going to get. Learn more about science and the natural world, and try to appreciate your good fortune to be alive at such an incredible time.

Savour it while it lasts.


NB If the ceremony is as utterly without religious reference and iconography as it would be were I organizing it myself, feel free to quote or paraphrase from that as you see fit, but leave off the first paragraph and maybe start at “I don’t believe in God…”

3 Responses:

  1. Jed says:

    To encourage you not to die :)
    If you die before your 90th birthday, I will do my best to ensure you have a truly blessed event. i.e. with a priest, under the roof of God. Perhaps even a Mormon ceremony just to make it special.
    So get healthy buddy and stay fit!!

    PS naturally a statue of you will be made with a halo and some written in stone misquotes.

  2. Ross says:

    A record of your “current wishes”; subject to revision. ;-)

  3. paul says:

    I was at a funeral yesterday for a 96 year old Chinese woman who had converted to Christianity (mostly I guess to appease her enthusiastic grandchildren). It was so sad to stay with my wife and the handful of old Buddhists who had to wait for all the Christians to depart so they could complete their rituals at the grave without offending anyone. I think it is highly likely that your funeral could be hijacked by an overzealous friend or family member, in their quest to save your soul.

    It really does raise the question about how non-religious ceremonies are undertaken though. Religions definitely know how to do these things well, especially the big ones. The little non-denominational chapels that churn out funerals all day at the big cemeteries just don’t cut it. Apparently yesterday’s little shindig cost around 40k for a modest affair. There has to be a market in heathen funerals.