Chris­tian ser­vices are not for ev­ery­one

The Oban Times - - Letters -

Sir, Don­ald J Mor­ri­son (Let­ters, April 20) claims he met ‘Chris­tians and nonChris­tians’ who at­tended a hu­man­ist fu­neral and were ap­palled.

He adds that ‘no men­tion was made of God, Je­sus Christ, sin or the af­ter­life’ and be­moans the Bible not be­ing read, no prayer heard, nor psalms sung.

I fail to see why non-Chris­tians should have a prob­lem with any of that. And if one of the mourn­ers called it the ‘worst fu­neral I have ever at­tended’, then that speaks vol­umes for his mind­set. Did he go ex­pect­ing to be en­ter­tained?

My own fa­ther be­lieved in God but was not a Chris­tian. My sis­ter and I ar­ranged for a hu­man­ist cel­e­brant at his fu­neral, and I could not have asked for a bet­ter send-off for the old man. Yes, we cried and we laughed, we re­mem­bered dad for the lov­ing fa­ther and won­der­ful hu­man be­ing he was. It was a cel­e­bra­tion of my fa­ther’s life.

The cel­e­brant read the mov­ing poem by Mary El­iz­a­beth Frye, Do Not Stand At

My Grave And Weep, which asks us not to mourn, but rather to re­mem­ber our loved ones in all we see and do. That is surely a bet­ter way to cel­e­brate the lives of those we love.

When I com­pare that to my mother’s fu­neral, of­fi­ci­ated over by a Kirk min­is­ter who talked non­sense about a wo­man he had never met and knew noth­ing about, the dif­fer­ence could not have been more marked.

This is where Mr Mor­ri­son makes his most de­risory com­ment, by call­ing hu­man­ist funer­als ‘idol­a­try’. Ex­cuse me? With an ordained min­is­ter of­fi­ci­at­ing over a fu­neral, full of the pomp and cir­cum­stance of Chris­tian­ity, say­ing how won­der­ful the per­son was even if they were not all that won­der­ful, and he has the gall to call hu­man­ism idol­a­try?

I shall bor­row a Chris­tian line in re­sponse to Mr Mor­ri­son’s claims of idol­a­try, and sug­gest he re­moves the beam from his own eye be­fore he at­tempts to re­move the mote from a brother’s.

And, no, hu­man­ists do not avoid the ques­tion of death, and some do not even ig­nore the pos­si­bil­ity of an af­ter­life, as not all hu­man­ists are athe­ists.

It may sur­prise Mr Mor­ri­son to learn we do not all fol­low or want his faith.

We have free­dom of re­li­gion, and en­forc­ing the faith of some upon oth­ers is a breach of hu­man rights, even if the in­di­vid­ual hap­pens to be dead.

Fi­nally, I will agree with Mr Mor­ri­son that Ni­et­zsche was wrong in say­ing that ‘God is dead’ – for the sim­ple fact that no god ever ex­isted in the first place. Leslie Thom­son, 2 More­dun­vale Green, Ed­in­burgh.

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