Reverend says humanist funerals about money, then pop “in the oven with no hope of resurrection”

October 27, 2009

Apparently secular humanists - rather than Christians - are seeking to make money by promoting a cult of the dead!  At least that's the conclusion reached by Reverend Ed Tomlinson, a Church of England vicar. According to the report in a London Times article Vicar fed up with Tina Turner songs and 'nan's poetry' at funerals:

Mourners who chose a non-religious ceremony were conned by “humanists” making money from death. “I am not the one who suffers,” he [Tomlinson] said. “Along with my fellow Christians, I will still have the gorgeous liturgy of the Requiem Mass to look forward to. Whereas the best our secularist friends (and those they dupe) can hope for is a poem from nan combined with a saccharine message from a pop star before being popped in the oven with no hope of resurrection.”

It's rather amazing that a man who spends each working day underneath the watchful eye of a dead crucified messiah would charge humanists with making a business out of death.  His (pardon the pun) inflammatory rhetoric betrays a seething frustration with the reams of people that are leaving organized religion and its hierarchical and inflexible rituals for something more meaningful and individualistic.  Is a humanist life without meaning? Hardly.  We create our own, just like we create our own funeral ceremonies.

At least he's right about one thing:

He feared that his presence at funerals was “pointless” and said he had a hundred better things to do with his time.

When this issue was brought up recently on the Michael Coren TV Show where I appear monthly on a panel called "Faith Matters," the Muslim and Christian guests were puzzled as to why atheists would celebrate funerals at all, apparently buying into the simple minded notion that our materialistic worldview implies the death of a loved one is no different from tossing away left over food.  They also seemed to imagine that it was impossible to host a solemn and respectful ceremony while also engaging in a meaningful and personalized (which sometimes translates as loud) tribute to the dead.  I'm not one for tradition or ritual, but as it goes, secular humanist ceremonies are some of the most beautiful events I've attended.  Such funerals honour the life of the deceased, and do not simply serve as another witness to Christ Jesus.

The Rev Ed Tomlinson, 35, said he wondered why he bothered as mourners listen to ear-splitting songs and bad poetry during cremations.

Well there's an obvious solution that would leave everyone happier.  More of the personally meaningful ear-splitting songs and bad poetry.  Less of the crabby, costly, insulting and in his own admission useless reverend.