Funeral frustrations October 11, 2016Posted by Ubi Dubium in Events, Rants.
Tags: atheism, christianity, funerals, religion
Most of the time, I can arrange my life so I don’t have to have much contact with religion. Sure I sing with a chorus that sings music with religious texts, but I can appreciate the artistic quality, and try to ignore the words as much as possible. But other than that, I’ve managed to exclude the religious practices and expectations of others pretty well from my day-to-day existence.
Earlier this month, a good friend from my chorus died in a pointless accident. You know how, in most organizations, 10% of the people do 90% of the work? He was one of those 10% and then some. He was a stalwart member of the chorus, not only singing, but taking on more responsibilities than anybody else, and holding a really important position in the organization. He always went above and beyond, was always positive and cheerful, and I will miss him terribly.
The funeral is Friday.
It’s Methodist. His wife is the pastor.
AAARGH. I’m already hearing the religious platitudes about “He’s looking down at us” and such being thrown about. Going to listen to an extended session of “he’s in a better place” and “god has a plan” and all the other religious tripe that people say is not how I want to be spending an afternoon. That’s not how I cope with loss. Instead of grieving, at the funeral I would be trying to keep my mouth shut, and finding a way not to be rude or roll my eyes when the crowd around me is playing their pretendy-game that he’s in heaven and they will see him again. My friend is gone, really gone, when he should have had at least another twenty years ahead of him. This completely sucks. They get to be honest, but I don’t, because if I say what I really think I’ll offend someone, and a funeral is not the appropriate time to be doing that. If I go I have to be fake and polite. Sheesh.
There’s no point in my going for my own benefit. There’s no point in my going for my friend’s benefit, he’s dead and so has no opinion on this. There’s no point in my going for his family’s benefit, because I don’t know them and they don’t know me.
As someone who has also held major positions in the chorus in the past, there’s an expectation that I’ll be there. The director, the other past and present officers, and the chorus members are expecting me to be there. It’s part of the solidarity needed to keep the chorus functioning through this. I don’t need to be there for me, but they need me to be there for them, so I can’t not go.
The chorus has been invited to sing. If I go, I can’t not sing.
So there I’ll be, the atheist in the choir loft. Crap.