A Civil funeral differs from a “traditional” funeral in that it can include religious elements of a particular faith or have no religious content at all, and generally there is an address, reading of poetry or a prayer and a dedication to the deceased. A Civil funeral is a ceremony that reflects the beliefs and values of the deceased rather than those of the minister, officiant or Celebrant, and it is both a dignified tribute and a highly personal memoir, created by a professional Celebrant in consultation with the family. A civil funeral can have as much or as little religious content as the family may wish. There may be special music or a hymn or song to be played. You can include any readings or poetry you would like. You may or may not want a prayer or two. At the heart of the ceremony will be a tribute or eulogy which reflects the life of the person who has died.
Humanism is the view that we can make sense of the world using reason, experience and shared human values and that we can live good lives without religious or superstitious beliefs. Humanists seek to make the best of the one life we have by creating meaning and purpose for ourselves. Humanists do not believe in a God or gods, or any other supernatural or divine entities. Humanists do not think that the universe needs a divine power outside of itself in order to have value.
Humanism is an approach to life based on humanity and reason – humanists recognise that moral values are properly founded on human nature and experience alone and that the aims of morality should be human welfare, happiness and fulfillment. Our decisions are based on the available evidence and our assessment of the outcomes of our actions, not on any dogma or sacred text. Humanism is a naturalistic view, encompassing atheism and agnosticism as responses to theistic claims, but is an active and ethical philosophy greater than these reactions to religion.
A Civil Funeral is similar to a Humanist funeral with one difference – a Humanist ceremony will not have any religious content whatsoever. Humanist Funerals mark the passing of a loved one by balancing the sadness and the sense of loss with a celebration of the life that was lived and is now ended. This is achieved with thoughtful reflections from family and friends interspersed with music and appropriate, well-chosen words from the celebrant.