Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Friday, November 20, 2015

civil confirmation

Did you know that there is a viable and thriving secular alternative to the "Christian confirmation" for adolescents? It's called "civil confirmation" or "secular coming-of-age ceremony" and it's very common throughout Western Europe. 

The purpose is to prepare adolescents for their life as adults.

For example,


Prometheus medallion
The first Prometheus-leiri (Prometheus Camp) was held in 1989 by the Finnish Philosophy and Life Stance teachers' coalition. The following year Prometheus-leirin tuki ry (Prometheus Camp Association) was founded for organising the week-long summer camps. The ideology of the association is based on a Humanist world view, but it is politically and religiously non-aligned. One of the main principles of the activity is tolerance towards other peoples' life stances.[6]


Borgaraleg ferming (civil confirmations) are organised by Siðmennt, a Humanist association, as an alternative to the Christian Confirmation for the 13-year-old. Before the civil confirmation the youngsters take a preparation course about ethics, personal relationships, human rights, equality, critical thinking, relations between the sexes, prevention ofsubstance abuseskepticism, protecting the environment, getting along with parents, being a teenager in a consumer society, and what it means to be an adult and take responsibility for one's views and behavior. The course consists of 12 weekly group meetings, each lasting 1,5 hours. Youngsters living outside Reykjavík can take the course as a concentrated version during two weekends. The teachers of the course are usually philosophers. In the end of the course there is a formal graduation ceremony in which the participants receive diplomas, and some of them perform musicpoetry and speeches. There are also prominent members of Icelandic society giving speeches. An increasing number of youngsters have taken the course every year with 300 taking the course for the confirmation in 2014.[8]


The association Humanisterna (The Humanists) started secular coming-of-age courses in Sweden in the 1990s in the form of study circles, but they were soon replaced by a week-long camp where the subjects are dealt with through discussions, games, group works and other activities. During the last years there has been approximately 100 participants annually in the Humanistisk konfirmation (Humanist confirmation) camps. The themes in the camp concern one's life stance, for example human rights, equality, racism, gender roles, love, sexuality and lifestyles, but the topics under discussion depend on the participating youngsters' own choices. In the end of the camp there is a festive ceremony in which the participants demonstrate to their families and relatives what they did during the week, through e.g. plays and songs. There are also speeches held by the organisators of the camp, the youngsters themselves, and invited speakers.[9]


Modern non-religious coming-of-age ceremonies originate in Germany, where Jugendweihe ("youth consecration", today occasionally known as Jugendfeier"youth ceremony") began in the 19th century. The activity was arranged by independent freethinker organizations until 1954, when the Communist party of East Germany banned it in its old form and changed it to promote Communist ideology. In the GDR Jugendweihe became, with the support of the state, the most popular form of coming-of-age ceremonies for the adolescents, replacing the Christian Confirmation. After the reunification of Germany the Jugendweihe-activity regained its independence from Communism, but the non-religious rite of passage had become atradition, and thus approximately 60-70% of youngsters in the eastern states still participate in it. The age for participating in the Jugendweihe is 13–14 years.
Before the ceremony the youngsters attend specially arranged events or a course, in which they work on topics like history and multiculturism, culture and creativity, civil rights and duties, nature and technology, professions and getting a job, as well as lifestyles and human relations. Nowadays there are many different groups organising Jugendweihes.
and yes, it is finally coming to America:

United States and Canada

Edifices of the Ethical movement in the United States perform secular coming of age ceremonies for 14-year-old members, in which, after spending a year performing community service activities and attending workshops regarding various topics concerning adulthood, the honoree and one's parent(s) speak before the congregation about their growth over the year. Similar ceremonies are performed by congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association and Canadian Unitarian Council.

You don't need religion to be a good person.

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