Tips For Planning A Funeral For An Atheist

Even if you attend church regularly, you may have family members who do not. If such a family member passes away and you find yourself helping to plan the funeral, it may be in contravention of his or her beliefs to have a funeral with religious elements. In this case, it's respectful to honor your late family member by ensuring that the funeral service steers clear of discussing religion — even if you yourself wish to turn to your church for support at this difficult time. Here are a handful of tips for planning a funeral for someone who was an atheist.

Hold The Funeral At A Funeral Home

When planning funeral services, you often have the choice of holding the event in a church, at a church hall, or at a funeral home. When you're planning the service for an atheist, the latter is the best approach. Although they can certainly host religious funerals, many funeral homes are careful to provide a neutral environment that can be used by people of all faiths or no faith, so having the funeral take place at a funeral home is important.

Plan The Remarks And Music Carefully

Hymns are common at many funerals, and while you might find comfort in hearing some of your favorite hymns at this time, you'll want to keep the music non-religious in theme. You have a number of suitable choices for music. For example, you might wish to select one or two appropriate songs that the deceased family member enjoyed in life, or you may simply wish to select a gentle piano ballad with no lyrics that can play in the background. You'll also need to decide who will provide remarks at the event and ensure that each of these people respects the atheist theme. For example, you don't want a speaker going off topic by saying that he or she wishes the deceased had gone to church.

Note The Wishes In The Program

When you're working to write up the funeral service program that will be distributed to people upon arriving at the funeral home, you may wish to make mention of the service's theme in accordance with the wishes of the deceased. For example, you could include a simple line such as, "In accordance with Dave's wishes, please note that today's service will be secular in nature. We appreciate your support of this matter," at the bottom of the program.