You don’t have to be a humanist to have a humanist funeral. But if you want a funeral which is non-religious and is focused entirely on the life and qualities of the person who has died, then a humanist funeral is what you’re looking for.
The funerals I conduct are focused entirely on the person whose life we are celebrating. They include discussion of atheism or humanism only if that feels right. And as every gathering includes people of various faiths and beliefs, I ensure that everyone feels welcome and included. For example we could allow a moment of silence when those who wish to can say a silent prayer. And if there’s a family favourite hymn or prayer, we can consider including that, too.
So what is Humanism, any way? Well, humanists don’t believe in god. But Humanism isn’t just about the absence of belief. It is a moral framework based on the simple notion that we should think for ourselves whilst acting in the best interests of everyone.
Roughly speaking, the word humanist has come to mean someone who:
- seeks a factually-based understanding of how the universe works, and rejects the idea of the supernatural (and is therefore an atheist or agnostic)
- makes their ethical decisions based on reason, empathy, and a concern for human beings and other sentient animals
- believes that, in the absence of an afterlife and any discernible purpose to the universe, human beings can act to give their own lives meaning by seeking happiness in this life and helping others to do the same.
If you’d like to know more, why not explore the Humanists UK website? https://humanism.org.uk/