Some public commentators define the UK as heading towards the road to becoming a Post Religious society.
A country that will have a majority population without religion or a faith. A Humanist funeral is not the only way a non faith person can have a funeral service. But in the instance that someone who has died is not of religion or doesn't believe in a God. They may wish to have an alternative funeral service.
It is worth nothing however, that unlike other countries, the UK's Church of England does not demand the person have been a church goer or regular attendee. A Church can still oversee the service and there are many parables and psalms which will be fitting for many. A person can still have a funeral in a Church and be buried in a Cemetery. Many religions also cater for non faith partners in different ways.
What Is A Humanist?
For many years, centuries, millennia, strict adherence to a religion and observation of its beliefs meant you were more likely to see an heaven and just as importantly, be able to live your life ethically. A Humanist believes in self determined ethics while incorporating science as its foundation. Having empathy and compassion, treating others as they would be expected to be treated, generally being human without the need for exterior worship.
For many centuries planning a funeral was a process of falling back on tradition. The Good Book would provide stories, hymns, psalms and a way of conveying most aspects of a person's life. These different aspects would then be matched to the deceased's personality, what they achieved in life, their creations, family - who they left behind, their effect on people around them and build up to be one great funeral service.
A Humanist funeral can be exactly the same, the only thing that differs is the entirely religious frame. As a non religious funeral you will still need someone to lead the service and plan it. While a Funeral Director can do this, ultimately it is better that you find a celebrant to guide the process. If not to be held in a Church, a Humanist Celebrant will be able to cater for your needs.
Anyone can be in this position, a family member or friend but you will most likely turn to an organisation such as the British Humanist Association to use a recommended Celebrant. A Humanist funeral service is not set in stone, quite the opposite. It can be held anywhere and probably not in the realms of a religious building. It can involve religious quotes that are perhaps favourites or have become mainstream and use popular hymns that have meaning.
On the other hand, the service itself can be planned around a football team, with football songs. Themed around a certain band or singer, with their quotes and songs played and sung. Remember, this is more about a send off for the person and a celebration of their life, rather than sticking to the ethics of a singular religious or path. The whole aim is to remember the person as they wished to be remembered.
Some may disagree but essentially funerals throughout the ages have all had the same concept in common. To offer a lasting memorial to those alive, about the person who has departed. To enable the grieving process to pursue with meaning and to look upon the loss of a loved one or friend as a collection of memories that should be cherished. A path that has seen that person meet many people, touched many lives and that as upsetting as a someone passing can be, that this is a part of natural order. In this respect, a Humanist funeral is similar to other cultures throughout thousands of years.