Practical life offers more wisdom, sometimes, than rational theories. So we have atheists - who consider the notions like 'sacred', 'holy', 'the holy bible', etc as if they are sentimental tools that the 'reasonless' - or more precisely speaking - the 'de-reasoned' folks apply to hide themselves from the wonderful reality that science has presented before us...
How do - a genuine - who is not a hypocrite - atheist think his/her funeral should be like, when it really happens (considering that we are all mortal)?
Would they prefer a scientist, instead of a preacher? Will they prefer the 'Principia Mathematica', over the 'Holy Bible'? And should it be held around a university science lab, instead of a church?
I'm interested in these questions because if the answers are positive, then that means the birth of a new culture, an entirely new way to approach the death of a human being, or an animal, where there is no concept of a soul. What kind of a funeral would that be? How would an atheist explain the passing away of a fellow atheist, publicly?
As far as I know, there is no culture like that (atheistic funeral). Which also means that atheists do not (or, can not) walk the talk as thoroughly as they should.
I don't think the atheist will be able to choose once he is dead!
"You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.
"And at one point you'd hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.
"And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.
"And you'll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they'll be comforted to know your energy's still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you're just less orderly. Amen."
Absolutely I would be honored to have a scientist or mathematician speak at my funeral. He can talk about the conservation of energy, about how interconnected we all are, dead or alive, and about how in the end we and everything in the universe are stardust. I find that the most poignant and beautiful thing.
"How do - a genuine - who is not a hypocrite - atheist think his/her funeral should be like, when it really happens (considering that we are all mortal)?"
Feed me to a starving animal. Put me in the trash where a lot of hungry animals can get to me. Burn my body if feeding me to something is illegal. Bury me in the back yard to save on funeral costs. I don't care.
"Would they prefer a scientist, instead of a preacher? Will they prefer the 'Principia Mathematica', over the 'Holy Bible'? And should it be held around a university science lab, instead of a church?"
I prefer nothing at all, thanks. What ever my family wants to say if anything is fine. Say nothing is fine with me. What ever they want is good. They are the ones who have to dispose of my rotting corps. I don't even care if they call a priest or a medium or an astrologist. Why would I care? I'll be dead.
"I'm interested in these questions because if the answers are positive, then that means the birth of a new culture, an entirely new way to approach the death of a human being, or an animal, where there is no concept of a soul. What kind of a funeral would that be? How would an atheist explain the passing away of a fellow atheist, publicly?"
Same way anyone explains it. Those who care about you say they are sad you are gone, because you are, and they are genuinely sad about it.
What I wonder about is why a Christian is sad at someones passing? Who cares? They are in a better place than the christian is, with their god supposedly, a place all Christians wish they were. What do they have to mourn about? They should be happy for the dead guy; throw him or her a party., with a toast at the end: See ya soon ya lucky stiff.
I tend to think Christians, for all their faith, have doubts. Otherwise, who cares what we do to an empty envelope? If life is forever its cheep. But if when you die its really over then life has value. Its precious. You only live once.
Then showing respect for the lost makes sense, for those still living..
"As far as I know, there is no culture like that (atheistic funeral). Which also means that atheists do not (or, can not) walk the talk as thoroughly as they should."
There are plenty of private nonreligious funerals. I guess you've never been to one. The family and friends speak, then you're put in the ground or cremated. Plenty of all faith/no faith cemeteries. The funeral directors don't care who's money they take.
Every atheist is different. The word tells you what we don't hold as a belief. It tells you nothing about what an atheist might or might not believe. I know an atheist who doesn't believe science either.
I always admired the old Inuit way. If you knew you were past it and becoming a burden, you just took a long walk. Or the Buddha who walked up a mountain and offered himself to a lioness for her starving babies. I might take a walk like that myself some day. I eat meat, only fitting I give back.
Personally, I like the idea of a wake - a celebration of the life that was lived. Remembered stories and events, the actions of the deceased. A party atmosphere rather than a somber, sad group. An acceptance of death, a refreshing of happy memories and times instead of a tear filled group of unhappy people pretending that death doesn't happen.
I hate funerals; the insincere words of the typical preacher, the assurance that no one died or that they are happier now in heaven (odd how no one thinks the dead are being tortured in hell). No one laughs, no one really smiles - it is an interlude of tears and sadness that should never happen.
A funeral is to comfort the people left behind, not for the deceased to pontificate about their beliefs.
That is why, as an atheist, I am happy for my family to do whatever they like with my carcass.
I've been to plenty of funerals that didn't have preachers and had no mention of God. It was people talking about how much they loved/will miss the person, telling their favourite stories about the person, etc. I didn't think that was a weird concept? It's pretty easy to make a funeral about the person that's died instead of about God or about science. In my opinion it should be about the person.
So it appears that every atheist (here) accept (though it be a 'subconscious' acceptance) that 'soul' exists - and that 'it' continues to exist after death.
That's why they appear so confident to make death an occassion for celebration and merriment.
Err... no. What in my post made led you to assume that I believe in a "soul"? Soul can't be defined, let alone quantified. I do not believe in some sort of special permanent life force that is unique in humans, absolutely not. I believe we all are made up of energy - well, by believe, I mean, I know we are, it's science - and that energy cannot be created nor destroyed. It can be reassembled, so if you want to get really philosophical, "we" never really disappear, we just go back to being dust in the universe where we can become something new and "live" on for eternity.
As for "amen", why not? Why shouldn't a mathematician or scientist end a prayer (and by that I mean words of solace, nothing that's worshiping something supernatural) with the word "amen"? It's traditional and sounds formal, it's a word people are used to hearing at the end of prayers. I mean, I don't even know what the heck it actually means, and I bet most people don't. I would love a physicist, etc to speak at my funeral and give a speech of the sort I posted, it's incredibly beautiful and does not rely on any faith.
As for "That's why they appear so confident to make death an occassion for celebration and merriment" ... I mean, what's the purpose of a funeral? It's for the people left behind to celebrate your memory. Of course funerals are sad. But the idea is to give tribute to someone's life, and in that, people can celebrate even amidst the sorrow. That has nothing to do with believing in something like a "soul".
No one would have the courage to deliver, in real life, that Aaron Freeman speech at the death of a fellow human being, even if he/she is alone at that funeral. Let alone deceiving with 'Amen'.
I would if It were appropriate. I won't do it at yours though, promise.
"Well sometimes their reading comprehension skills are somewhat lacking, it seems. And some seriously don't don't get spirituality at all and think we're joking when we say we know God indeed exists. Must be hard for them."
Sorry, been there dun that. You can't know your god exists any more than I can know for a fact it doesn't. To say otherwise is a lie. You have faith your god exists which makes you feel as if you know. But you can't.
"There are plenty of private nonreligious funerals. I guess you've never been to one. The family and friends speak, then you're put in the ground or cremated. Plenty of all faith/no faith cemeteries. The funeral directors don't care who's money they take."
I guess they don't have it organised around a science lab or around a nuclear facility, and listening to Shakira - they still need a 'suitable environment' to house the remaining ashes (clean surroundings, nature, flowers, and peace).
"So we have atheists - who consider the notions like 'sacred', 'holy', 'the holy bible', etc as if they are sentimental tools that the 'reasonless' - or more precisely speaking - the 'de-reasoned' folks apply to hide themselves from the wonderful reality that science has presented before us..."
The point is that 'scaredness', like 'beauty' ~ is a physical, tangible condition - rather than a sentimental trick (arising as a result of an absence of rationality), as atheists commonly describe it to be.
and every atheist is attracted to this element ('sacredness') ~ though they may not be aware of it. Just as they are attracted to beauty but can't explain why.
Gosh Anders...God Shet, I don't have time to read all the posts but if this is your real retirement thread then you'll be missed, really.
No, We are not secretly attracted to sacredness. Must have confused with Christians. But beauty, no mystery why all humans are attracted to that, what ever it may be to the individual. Humans share a lot of basic traits.
Maybe I misinterpreted that title, oh well, apologize if so.
The Universe is uniform, not chaos. Why would you and I be conversing on this internet with our insight, intelligence...and yes, goodness, if we're to only go back to cosmic dust. Observe the nature under your very senses and you'll come close to the truth.
I'm not into politics - past life or present, too much. I like you, Anders, when my small brain can understand your thinking on some things...your definitely a cool Norwegian.
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