By Barry Klassel
Ceremonies are organized celebrations. They are parties with a purpose. Humanists are right to question traditions that may come from religious custom because we have a legitimate fear of enforced conformity. But it would be a mistake to unthinkingly refuse to look for the possible benefits of events that bring people together and strengthen community. There are no ceremonies required if one wishes to be considered a “good” humanist. And there are no set of formulas for humanist ceremonies, the features of which can always be adapted to serve individual needs. Each of us can choose to partake in those ceremonies that we decide enhance our lives.
It must be noted that ceremonies can be thought of as having rational ends. They promote self-reflection and so can bring clarity to our thinking. They give us insights into our own and others’ lives. They allow us to see our role in the history of humankind. They show us how our life-cycles fit into the wider cycles of nature. (more…)