Christian services are not for everyone
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.