Atheist eulogy

In hmolscience, atheist eulogy refers to a speech, given at the ceremony of someone who's existence, as a reactive bound state, defined individual, has ceased to exist, presented in an atheistic mode of transmission, style, and theory; a eulogy that does not invoke god, god theory, or god talk.

In 1882, Robert Ingersoll, during a burial service for his friend's child, famously gave the following retrospectively classified secular or agnostic eulogy of sorts, wherein he softly leans towards a denial of the afterlife, and of heaven and hell: [4]

“I know how vain it is to gild a grief with words, and yet I wish to take from every grave its fear. Here in this world, where life and death are equal kings, all should be brave enough to meet what all have met. The future has been filled with fear, stained and polluted by the heartless past. From the wondrous tree of life the buds and blossoms fall with ripened fruit, and in the common bed of earth patriarchs and babes sleep side by side. Why should we fear that which will come to all that is? We cannot tell. We do not know which is the greatest blessing, life or death. We cannot say that death is not good. We do not know whether the grave is the end of this life or the door of another, or whether the night here is not somewhere else a dawn. Neither can we tell which is the more fortunate, the child dying in its mother’s arms before its lips have learned to form a word, or he who journeys all the length of life’s uneven road, painfully taking the last slow steps with staff and crutch. Every cradle asks us “Whence?” and every coffin “Whither?” The poor barbarian weeping above his dead can answer the question as intelligently and satisfactorily as the robed priest of the most authentic creed. The tearful ignorance of the one is just as consoling as the learned and unmeaning words of the other.

No man standing where the horizon of a life has touched a grave has any right to prophesy a future filled with pain and tears. It may be that death gives all there is of worth to life. If those who press and strain against our hearts could never die, perhaps that love would wither from the earth. Maybe a common faith treads from out the paths between our hearts the weeds of selfishness, and I should rather live and love where death is king than have eternal life where love is not. Another life is naught, unless we know and love again the ones who love us here. They who stand with breaking hearts around this little grave need have no fear. The largest and the noblest faith in all that is, and is to be, tells us that death, even at its worst, is only perfect rest. We know that through the common wants of life, the needs and duties of each hour, their grief will lessen day by day until at last these graves will be to them a place of rest and peace, almost of joy. There is for them this consolation: The dead do not suffer. If they live again their lives will surely be as good as ours. We have no fear; we are all children of the same mother and the same fate awaits us all. We, too, have our religion, and it is this: “Help for the living, hope for the dead”.”

On 30 Mar 1892, Ingersoll gave another eulogy for his good friend Walt Whitman; a funny section of which is: [5]

“Today we give back to mother nature, to her clasp and kiss, one of the bravest, sweetest souls that ever lived in human clay.”


Ben Lindsey (Eulogy, 1926)
A video still of Ben Lindsey giving his "infidel eulogy" for his friend and fellow freethinker Luther Burbank in 1926.
Lindsay | Burbank
On 11 Apr 1926, Luther Burbank dereacted (died), four months after "going public", in newspaper interview, with his atheism, in reaction to the Scopes Monkey Trial (1925) after which he began receiving death threats and much heated public outcry; his eulogy was given, in Santa Rosa, California, by fellow freethinker Ben Lindsey (Ѻ), a Denver judge, whom Burbank had previously asked to perform this duty, which was said to a throng of ten-thousand mourners: [2]

“It is impossible to estimate the wealth he has created. It has been generously given to the world. Unlike inventors, in other fields, no patent rights were given him, nor did he seek a monopoly in what he created. Had that been the case, Luther Burbank would have been perhaps the world's richest man. But the world is richer because of him. In this he found joy that no amount of money could give.

And so we meet him here today, not in death, but in the only immortal life we positively know--his good deeds, his kindly, simple, life of constructive work and loving service to the whole wide world.

These things cannot die. They are cumulative, and the work he has done shall be as nothing to its continuation in the only immortality this brave, unselfish man ever sought, or asked to know.

As great as were his contributions to the material wealth of this planet, the ages yet to come, that shall better understand him, will give first place in judging the importance of his work to what he has done for the betterment of human plants and the strength they shall gain, through his courage, to conquer the tares, the thistles and the weeds. Then no more shall we have a mythical god that smells of brimstone and fire; that confuses hate with love; a god that binds up the minds of little children, as other heathens bind up their feet—little children equally helpless to defend their precious right to think and choose and not be chained from the dawn of childhood to the dogmas of the dead.

Luther Burbank will rank with the great leaders who have driven heathenish gods back into darkness, forever from this earth.

In the orthodox threat of eternal punishment for sin--which he knew was often synonymous with yielding up all liberty and freedom--and in its promise of an immortality, often held out for the sacrifice of all that was dear to life, the right to think, the right to one's mind, the right to choose, he saw nothing but cowardice. He shrank from such ways of thought as a flower from the icy blasts of death. As shown by his work in life, contributing billions of wealth to humanity, with no more return than the maintenance of his own breadline, he was too humble, too unselfish, to be cajoled with dogmatic promises of rewards as a sort of heavenly bribe for righteous conduct here. He knew that the man who fearlessly stands for the right, regardless of the threat of punishment or the promise of reward, was the real man.

Rather was he willing to accept eternal sleep, in returning to the elements from whence he came, for in his lexicon change was life. Here he was content to mingle as a part of the whole, as the raindrop from the sea performs its sacred service in watering the land to which it is assigned, that two blades may grow instead of one, and then, its mission ended, goes back to the ocean from whence it came. With such service, with such a life as gardener to the lilies of the field, in his return to the bosoms of infinity, he has not lost himself. There he has found himself, is a part of the cosmic sea of eternal force, eternal energy. And thus, he lived and always will live.

Thomas Edison, who believes very much as Burbank, once discussed with me immortality. He pointed to the electric light, his invention, saying: ‘There lives Tom Edison.’ So Luther Burbank lives. He lives forever in the myriad fields of strengthened grain, in the new forms of fruits and flowers, plants, vines, and trees, and above all, the newly watered gardens of the human mind, from whence shall spring human freedom that shall drive out false and brutal gods. The gods are toppling from their thrones. They go before the laughter and the joy of the new childhood of the race, unshackled and unafraid”


Aaron Freeman, Eulogy from Physicist
In 2005, physicist Aaron Freeman gave a spoken physics style eulogy on NPR radio, in reference to a reflection of his thoughts on the recent passing of his father and sister.
In Jun 2005, physicist Aaron Freeman, penned his “Eulogy from a Physicist”, in reference to a reflection of his thoughts on the recent passing of his father and sister, which aired on NPR’s “All Things Considered”, which reads as follows:

“You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you'd hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you'll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they'll be comforted to know your energy's still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you're just less orderly. Amen [see: supreme god timeline].”

In May 2005, Freeman, prior to the above, to note, published “My Inner Particle”, a reflection of his thoughts on the recent passing of his father and sister, from the point of view of knowledge of the universe, as he sees things as a physicist, using a mixture of the human particle and human wave view of things and the standard model. [2]

Thims doing Pat toast 2
Libb Thims on 25 Jan 2015 doing an atheist's eulogy-like toast to Patrick Fergus, aka "King Atheist", co-host of the YouTube channel Atheism Reviews, who ceased to exist on Jan 21st; a real-time rendition of Aaron Freeman's 2005 “Eulogy from a Physicist”, in many respects. [3]
Thims | Fergus
On 25 Jan 2015, Libb Thims, during the fire pit toast done in the wake of the Jan 21st passing of Atheism Reviews co-host Patrick Fergus, gave an impromptu physicist-like eulogy of sorts, to the man whose atheist creed was “I believe in energy”, as follows: [3]

Passion #3 is atheism. He probably tried to convert everybody here into atheism or at least half of you here? If you sat with Pat, he would start talking about atheism. That’s what I liked about Pat. He had real passion about that. [Monica: ‘He was real!] He was real. He kept it real. [Monica: ‘Always]. And about that passion, I know a lot of people posted in: ‘Pat’s in heaven right now’. Pat, however, didn’t believe in heaven. He believed in energy. And the way I understand that is when you reach your reaction existence end, you’re transformed into the force. You’re, as Thomas Edison said, in 1910, whatever we call the ‘will’, the ‘soul’, or the ‘force that moves us’, it continues, but NOT in the next life, but in this life. So Pat’s with all of us now, but in force.”

In this impromptu creed, in retrospect, to note: (a) Thims had in mind at this time the Star Wars secular eulogy talk of Yoda who speaks about people being "transformed into the force", as envisioned by George Lucas, and (b) technically, there is no such thing as conservation of force, but only conservation of energy; the former is a scientifically approximately correct forerunner to the latter, the details of which being sorted out in the late 19th century; nevertheless, when a force moves a body through a unit of distance, it becomes "work", according to the principle of the transmission of work, which is conserved in the universe.

The following are related quotes:

“When my husband died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me — it still sometimes happens — and ask me if Carl changed at the end and converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous-not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance. . . . That pure chance could be so generous and so kind. . . . That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time. . . . That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and it’s much more meaningful. . . . The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.”
— Ann Druyan (c.1996), letter (Ѻ) written after the passing of Carl Sagan

See also
Rest in power

1. (a) Freeman, Aaron. (2005). “Planning Ahead Can Make a Difference in the End” (Ѻ), NPR, All Things Considered, Jun 1.
(b) Mitchell, Deborah. (2014). Growing Up Godless: a Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Without Religion (foreword: Dale McGowan) (§: Eulogy from a Physicist, pgs. 146-48). Sterling Publishing.
2. Freeman, Aaron. (2005). “Aaron Freeman: My Inner Particle” (Ѻ)(pdf), Symmetry: Dimensions of Particle Physics, May 1.
3. Thims, Libb. (2015). “King Pat Toast” (@5:35-7:55), Atheism Reviews, Jan 25.
4. (a) Ingersoll, Robert. (1882). “Oration at a Child’s Grave” (Ѻ); in: Works, Volume 12 (pg. 400). Publisher.
(b) Jacoby, Susan. (2004). Freethinkers: a History of American Secularism (pg. 148). Henry Holt and Co.
5. Jacoby, Susan. (2004). Freethinkers: a History of American Secularism (pgs. 226, 367-70). Henry Holt and Co.
6. (a) Lindsey, Ben. (1926). “Luther Burbank’s Eulogy”; in: Freethought Today (pg. 8), Aug, 1993.
(b) Ben Lindsey (quotes) –
(c) Haught, James A. (1996). 2000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People with the Courage to Doubt (pg. 205). Prometheus.

● Fuller, Tim. (2014). “A Modern Atheist Eulogy” (Ѻ), Tim Fuller, Oct 13.
● Smith, Smith. (2016). “Atheist Eulogy Delivered by Shawn Smith” (Ѻ), Cecil Smith, Oct 25.

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