Funerals for atheists

A little while ago, Jeff and I attended a funeral because Julio reminded us that you should always go to the funeral and on the way back we talked about how the one thing religions really do well is funerals and that it was a pity that atheists didn’t have anything as good.

The discussion led to all kinds of ideas and eventually a business plan for Kev and Jeff’s House of Death. A big part of the funeral experience comes, I think, from the comforting traditions. Traditions are always difficult things to get going of course but, if enough of us put our heads together, maybe we could come up with a few.

Coincidently, Scott Adams is planning his funeral today, too. One of his readers suggested a sad clown for his funeral. Just sitting up front, moping, not saying anything. One idiot poster was surprised that an atheist would want a funeral at all as though atheists don’t believe in death or something. I had always hoped for one of those Tibetan jobbies with the long sticks and the vultures but Georgina is against it. Most likely I’ll end up with one of those gatherings where my best friends sit around and laugh and get drunk and tell stories like at the best funerals that I have attended.

Religious funerals have a built-in advantage over atheist funerals because they help explain the whole what-happens-next issue in a way that is comforting to children. I know what happens afterwards, but it would be nice to have a story to tell my five year old daughter – something that weaves in the Circle of Life with a generous helping of how extraordinarily lucky we are to experience life in the first place.

Julio, Fabienne and Morgane, our thoughts are with you.

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Ragged Clown

Based in San Jose, California

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