Humanist Funerals: Saying Goodbye without God

Humanist Funerals: Saying Goodbye without God

Funerals were originally a religious affair but now in the secular age Humanist funerals are getting popular as more and more people are abandoning theism.

What is Humanism?

Humanism is a human-centered philosophy that emphasizes in the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and affirms their ability to take control of their destiny through the use of reason and ingenuity as opposed to submitting blindly to tradition and authority.
It is the belief that we can be good without the guidance of a supernatural being.

What is a Humanist Funeral?

In religious funerals, God is the center of attention. The service is full of prayer, sermons, and hymns. Religious leaders will take this time to offer words of comfort to the mourners and assure them that the deceased person is now in God’s hands and that they will be reunited in the afterlife. In other words, religious funerals are more like a sending off ceremony from this world to the next.

In humanist funerals, the focus is entirely on the deceased person; his life, achievements, and legacy. Humanist funerals tend to be more challenging, especially when a religious person is in attendance because there is no God with whom the dead person can be committed to and no promise of meeting again in the afterlife. But this is what makes Humanist funerals, human. It is more down to earth, honest, and final. You are not sending someone off to the next world; you are saying goodbye for good. Instead of committing a loved one to a supernatural being in another world, you are committing to keep them in your heart forever.

Planning a Humanist Funeral
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There is really no set rules in arranging a Humanist funeral but it might be helpful to have an outline of what you would like to happen and discuss it with your funeral director or whoever is in charge of the event.

Some common elements in a Humanist funeral that you might want to consider incorporating to your own are:

  •  Themed services
  • Memorial videos showcasing the milestones and highlights of the dead person’s life
  • Memorial stones or cards containing messages for the deceased
  • Playing songs that were significant to your loved one
  • Open mic hour for sharing of memories
  • Balloon, Butterfly, Dove, or Lantern releases
  • Eco-friendly burials


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