Navigation Links
Humanist funerals
Date:5/16/2012

Funeral directors need to be aware of the needs of non-religious people. A unique investigation into the subject funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) provides a snapshot of a defining aspect of life - or indeed death.

"The issue of death is one of the most important incidents that all societies deal with," says Dr Matthew Engelke, at the London School of Economics. "I wanted to look at how, in contemporary society, people who do not believe in an afterlife are commemorated at a funeral."

To carry out the research, Dr Engelke focused on funerals provided by the British Humanist Association (BHA). "It was clear that the people who chose these funeral services were not necessarily humanists or atheists. They generally described themselves as 'non-religious', which covered the entire spectrum from absolute atheist to a more general lack of commitment or belief, especially when it comes to organised religion."

One of the most striking aspects of BHA funeral ceremonies is that they strive to be true to the individual, to reflect as best as possible the character, world views and the sensibilities of the person who has died. "The focus is almost exclusively on the person, which is often not the case with the more traditional religious ceremonies" says Dr Engelke.

This emphasis on the individual is an increasingly important phenomenon in modern Western life, suggests Dr Engelke. In many societies, and in ritual ceremonies down the ages, the place of the individual in the ritual is often the least important consideration.

In humanist ceremonies, being true to the individual is most central. Dr Engelke commonly came across family members and friends who said: "We told the funeral director John did not go to church so we did not want a vicar to take the funeral".

"This gives an intriguing glimpse into the extent to which modern citizens feel it important to express their uniqueness and individuality", says Dr Engelke.

"It is important for social scientists to look at these key moments in life, as it is through these that we get a sense of the most significant issues that matter to people and understand what it means to be non-religious in a modern British society," continues Dr Engelke. "And I think one of the best places to start is ritual services such as funerals."


'/>"/>

Contact: Press Office
Pressoffice@esrc.ac.uk
Economic & Social Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Information about the ... to develop to enable prevention of a major side effect of chemotherapy in ... in pediatric patients. For cisplatin, hearing loss is FDA listed on-label as a ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... HMP , a leader in healthcare events and education, today ... Digital Award for ‘Best B-to-B Healthcare Website.’ Winners were announced during the Eddie & ... award competition recognizes editorial and design excellence across a range of sectors. This year’s ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... Chapel, FL (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... is holding a treadmill relay – Miles by Moonlight to raise money for the ... donating $300 or more. , Teams will work together to keep their treadmills ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... ... Health Literacy Innovations (HLI), creator of the Health Literacy ... Patient Education Network (CPEN), an independent professional organization that shares best practices in ... , As CPEN’s strategic partner, HLI will help support CPEN members by sharing ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Vohra Chief Medical Officer Dr. ... colleagues, skilled nursing facility medical directors and other clinicians at various events in ... , "At many of these conferences we get to educate other physicians, facility ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... , Oct. 11, 2017  True Health, a ... amplified its effort during National Breast Cancer Awareness ... cancer risks. ... Oncology calculated that more than 10 million American ... mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 and have not had ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... --  Provista, a proven leader in the supply ... power, today announced a new resource area on Provistaco.com ... is the online home for case studies, articles on ... releases, slideshows and events. ... at their fingertips, viewers can also watch short videos ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... Mass. , Oct. 4, 2017 ... of single-use, self-contained, illuminating medical devices, today announced ... National Health Surveillance Agency (or Agência Nacional de ... The first single-use, cordless surgical retractor with integrated ... provides optimal access, illumination and exposure of a ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: