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Would Being An Athiest Funeral Director Pose Any Problems?

  I am an Atheist and would like to go into the funeral proffession as a Funeral Director/Embalmer. Should this be a problem as long as I am accepting, and respectful of all the people who come through my door? Do you think that going to church and essentially being a hypocrite would be a good idea to get ahead in this business?

I don't think there is a really clear-cut answer but I can certainly give you my opinion.

Your success as an Atheist funeral director depends largely on where you are located. If you worked for a large firm in a big city, I doubt that your personal beliefs would ever be called into question. However, in a small town setting, the fact that you are Atheist
could have an impact on your business. Interpersonal relationships are key in smaller towns and people seem to know everything about their local funeral director, including religious preference. In the town where I live, I don't think an Atheist funeral director would go over very well.

About 99 percent of the families I serve have some sort of religious belief. I think I would have a hard time relating to them (and vice versa) if I were not a believer myself. You could probably fool people for a few years, but I think that after a time you might
experience some inner conflict from working so closely with people whose view on the afterlife is so much different than your own.

I don't think going to church and being a "hypocrite" is the answer either. If you're in this business for the long haul, you've got to be in a work environment that is comfortable for you. Putting on a front or pretending to be something that you are not is going to get
tiresome and difficult after a while. I don't want to discourage you from pursuing a career in the funeral profession in any way, but I think it would be to your benefit to look at finding a position at a larger firm.

You might want to focus primarily on just the embalming aspect of the business. Your interaction with the public would be minimal, thereby lessening your exposure to religious ceremony and ritual.

If you like to serve people and are a caring person, I have no doubt that you can succeed in the funeral profession. Good luck to you as you pursue your career. -- Kevin Stockham

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