What is a Humanist Service?

image of celebrating the joy of human life Click image to view full size
image of celebrating the joy of human life

Climate change is real. With increased awareness, we all want to make more of a difference and reduce the lasting effects for future generations. One way to make a difference long after you have died is through having a green burial

At green burials, it is becoming increasingly popular to also have a humanist service, instead of the previously traditional religious service. A humanist funeral is ideal for families who want a sincere and personal reflection on the life of their loved one.

What is a Humanist Funeral Service?

A humanist funeral service is a service that celebrates the life of someone who has died without mentioning religion or God. This type of funeral service is often led by a fellow humanist celebrant who guides the attendees through the service.

What Happens at a Humanist Service?

This is a non-religious ceremony that focuses on celebrating the life the deceased person led, rather than focusing on a particular faith they had.

A humanist service follows a similar structure to a religious funeral service in the sense that it has readings, music and eulogies – the difference between them is in one there is a mention of God and faith, and the other there is not.

Every humanist ceremony is unique, and there are no strict rules to rule regarding what should (or shouldn’t) be included, or in what order. But, if you are planning a humanist funeral or memorial, it is sometimes helpful to have a typical structure or guide, whilst acknowledging that the content of your service will be unique.

Humanist Ceremony Structure – Example:

  • Introductory music
  • Welcome speech and words
  • Thoughts on life and death from a non-religious perspective
  • The tribute – the life story of the deceased person and their personality, or a collection of different memorable stories which captures their life and personality
  • Readings of poetry and prose
  • Moment of reflection – a chance for private thoughts to be had about the person who has died. This can be in silence or accompanied by music
  • The committal – where the curtains are closed or coffin lowered
  • Closing words and final music

Does a Humanist Believe in God?

No – Humanists don’t believe in the idea or belief in a supernatural being such a God. They would class themselves as agnostic or atheist. Humanists also don’t believe in an afterlife, instead, they focus on seeking happiness in this life.

What’s the Difference Between an Atheist and a Humanist?

Atheism is the absence of belief. In comparison, humanism is a positive attitude towards the world and is centred around the human experience.

Humanists believe that the human experience and rational thinking provide the only source of knowledge and moral code needed for humans to live by. They reject ideas that knowledge is revealed to humans by Gods or found in special books.

Contact Cope Memorials

If you are interested in learning more about green burials or humanist services, or perhaps you have a question about the services we offer here at Cope Memorials, please feel free to get in touch with one of our friendly members of staff, by filling out an online enquiry form, or give us a call on 01773 602 187 today.

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