Sunday, 27 January 2013

Morals, Conscience and Hypocrisy - where do we draw the line ?

A discussion on a writer's forum has me thinking. A comment I  made appears to be at odds with a number of views, so here I state my case.

 I think that attending a religious funeral, singing hymns and praying whilst having no religious beliefs yourself, is acting hypocritically. I would feel a hypocrite by attending a religious funeral where my own beliefs were different to the general belief of the deceased and the other attenders - whether that was Christian, Muslim, Humanist, Creationist, Hindu or any other religion that has a name to it.

I was brought up within the beliefs and attitudes of the Methodist Church. My father was a local preacher and played  the organ for weddings, funerals, christenings and Sunday services from around the age of twenty. He wrote and illustrated books on Methodism and the history of his local circuit. My mother

I was brought up within the beliefs and attitudes of the Methodist Church. My father was a local preacher and played the organ for weddings, funerals, christenings and weekly services from around the age of 20 yrs old. He wrote and illustrated books on Methodism and the history of his local circuit. My mother is 87 and religion and the church has been and still is a major part of her life. My own faith has grown, changed and been challenged (by me !) throughout my life. I have been a Sunday School teacher, church youth group leader, Brown Owl - when Brownies made promises to a god - and have tried to bring up my own children to know about and understand the beliefs of others and to be tolerant and sympathetic to all. I have also been a primary school teacher where I had to teach about many religions, their history and their customs and practices. 
I think of myself as being fortunate that at that time I had decided for myself my own views on religion and did not believe in a god as generally described, or Jesus as a divine being. It was more difficult for my truly Christian friends NOT to teach about their personal belief - as they felt it was their duty to their faith to do so. 
My father died aged 64 in 1988. At his funeral in the chapel where he had preached so many times and along with the organ that he had played so many times, I sang the hymns he loved along with my children aged 4, 9 and 11 and many others and prayed - or rather thought deeply about my father. But I felt hypocritical. By my age, there are more family and friends who have died and I send flowers and letters and visit the bereaved.
My mother, at 87 yrs old says often that she won't be here much longer, or it's time she wasn't here. We discuss things quite openly, and when I say what about me at your funeral when I don't class myself as a Christian ? Don't bother about a funeral then she, says - you can think of me just as well anywhere else.
None of us know when we or our loved ones are going to die - I might be dead before her and then the dilemma will be on my own children as to what to do about me ! Maybe we just have to wait and see how we feel at the time, and go with our conscience.

(This is solely my own opinion and thoughts and is not meant to sound "holier than thou" )

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