South Africa has always been regarded as a religious country. However, it has its fair share of atheists, humanists, nonbelievers or Jedi’s. There are different names, for atheists, you see. Without the belief in the existence of a God or an afterlife, atheist funerals are quite different.

It would be important for an atheist to be clear about their desires for a funeral. And it would be equally important for family and friends who happen to be Christians to respect atheist funerals. And that’s even if they’re in conflict with what they believe in.

The deceased may well have a will where they have stipulated the type of funeral they want. An atheist funeral might be one of the requests. But if no such will or document exists, people follow the verbal wishes of the of the deceased. Some atheists might even include some typical aspects of a religious Atheist Funeralsfuneral into their funeral. These might include having a wake because they’re not sure what else to have. They may even opt for a religious ceremony. And just because they believe in having something in keeping with the beliefs of the mourners.

Atheist Funerals – An After-Party – a Celebration of Life

Sometimes the families of atheists will hold a memorial service focusing on the life of the deceased, rather than a traditional funeral. They don’t believe that they will see the loved one again in any afterlife. They simply believe that they see something of the departed in the children and grandchildren.

Atheists prefer a memorial service because it removes the focus from the death. Instead, it celebrates the life of the dead person. Many prefer cremations and to have their ashes buried or scattered. Some families of atheists wait a while after the death and then have what they call a ‘Celebration of Life’ which is a party during which people talk about the person or do something in their honour.

Any ceremony, whether a wedding or a funeral, can be made completely non-religious. The families of atheists simply plan a funeral service where there is no mention of God or religion. As far as atheist funerals go, many atheists have a memorial, and they include photos and even videos of the deceased as well as asking some people to tell some stories about the deceased. They find this kind of service more meaningful.

Atheist Funerals – Funeral Directors Cater for Atheists

It can be quite difficult for atheists to get the funeral they want, simply because burials and cremations have many religious traditions linked to them. Planning non-religious funerals is part of the job description for a funeral director, and may be quite similar to a Christian funeral, except there won’t be any prayers said or hymns sung . The atheist funeral may still have music, but any readings will not be from the Bible but the reading of a poem for instance. At atheist funerals a close family member may give a eulogy, talking about the life of the deceased and what they accomplished and contributed in their lifetime.


Funeral Directors aren’t fazed by atheist funerals because they know that living in the rainbow nation requires keeping up to date with the requirements of a diverse nation of people.


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All info was correct at time of publishing