Funeral Memorial Services For Atheists, Agnostics, And Nature Worshippers

There is always an exception to every rule, especially when it comes to honoring the dead and what they chose to believe or did not believe. Such is the case when you have a family member that was an atheist, an agnostic, or a nature worshipper/druid. How do you go about organizing funeral memorial services for someone that is not Catholic, Protestant, or another organized and fully recognized world religion? It is complicated, but that does not mean that your funeral home cannot manage it. Here is some advice for funeral memorial services for each of these different non-religious or atypical belief systems. 

Atheists Would Appreciate No Prayers

If you want to honor an atheist in death, avoid any prayers or inviting "people of the cloth" to speak. A short and sweet service via the burial site where family members share memories is probably best. Some atheists request cremation so that there is no body to bury and their ashes can be scattered where they would most prefer them to be scattered. Most of the services related to Christian burials, including potluck dinners following the viewing of the body or the funeral, should probably be skipped as well. If the deceased did not specify cremation or voice a preference for it, you can still purchase a basic casket or coffin and bury him/her that way. 

Agnostics Encourage Worship as You Like

If your loved one proclaimed that he/she was agnostic, then prayers to whatever god you believe in would be okay, if you needed to pray. However, he/she probably would have preferred that a relative or a non-denominational leader would say a few words in memory, such as a eulogy, rather than pray for and over the deceased. This type of service is often a "come as you are, pray as you feel and believe" sort of ceremony, with everyone worshipping as they choose. Traditional burial is common, but you know your family member and their preferences best. Hopefully, you had a discussion with him/her before he/she parted in regards to how he/she wanted his/her funeral to go. 

Nature Worshippers or Druids

Many animists, pantheists, nature worshippers, and druids like the idea of returning their bodies to Mother Earth. Hence, natural burial yards are the best places to honor the wishes of these deceased. The bodies are laid to rest with minimal dirt covering them and allowed to decompose naturally above ground. If that sounds like your deceased family member's situation, you will need to hold a quiet ceremony in the natural burial yard where everyone honors the silence and sounds of nature with the deceased laying on the ground. Talk to your funeral director to see how this may be managed where you live.