Discussion by: Paul SousekThe main world religions have existed for hundreds or thousands of years. In that time they have developed a whole series of ceremonies with which to celebrate or commemorate various life stages, such as death, marriage, birth, naming of a child, passing to adulthood, periodical celebrations, such as the 5 prayers/day in Islam or the Mass in Christianity, reinforcing the faith and a sense of common purpose..
Atheists have equivalent ceremonies for some of these events, but atheism not being a ‘unified’ movement does not have much of an agreed culture for such occasions. That means people are often unsure whether such ceremonies even exist and if invited do not necessarily know how to behave there, what to wear, or what the customs are.
As an example: my son and his wife mentioned that they would like to have their 5 months old baby christened. They felt it would be nice to in some way publicly acknowledge the naming of the child and also use that event to meetup up with a lot of their friends and more distant relatives. But there is no ceremony known to me for the naming of a child in the atheist world. So we discussed having a humanist christening – not entirely satisfactory solution.
Would it be a good idea to have a list of organisations involved in such event, perhaps a list of the best liked atheists ceremonies or perhaps even use this forum to develop something along these lines?
What do you think?