casketNot only do fundamentalists have strict standards for a person’s body while they are alive, they also have a rather strict view of what should happen after they die as well. Mention cremation to some fundamentalists and one might very well receive the kind of reaction that would normally only be observed after suggestions for something like ritual cannibalism.

It would seem that early Christians buried their dead rather than immolating them. Whether this was because they disliked the Greek and Roman customs or because they were living in catacombs anyway making burial there a lot more convenient is unclear. Of course if the “paganism” of a practice is the main concern then embalming should definitely be forbidden lest they they be like unto the heathen Egyptians. (ed. the previous is satire and should not be taken seriously no matter how strict a fundamentalist you are. If I hear of someone preaching against embalming based on the its history in Egypt, I will devote an entire post to your silliness. You have been warned.)

Man came from dust and to dust he shall return. Apparently it’s the speed at which he gets there that has fundamentalists in such a tizzy.

23 thoughts on “Burial”

  1. I actually DID have a professor in Bible college teach that embalming was unbiblical for that very reason, and that the biblical way should be to just bury someone in the ground (I can’t remember if he said whether or not a wooden box was ok), to allow the body to return to dust. Seriously.

    1. Well, just dumping it in the ground is environmentally friendly, if a bit yicky. 🙄

  2. I’ve actually heard that cremating your body was wrong, but I never heard or understood the reasoning behind it other than tradition.
    I personally don’t get why it’s an issue, but the debate is much older than the fundamentalist movement. Both the Catholic church and the Greek Orthodox churches have traditionally been against it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cremation#Christianity

  3. Man, that’s quite the rock and the hard place.

    On the one side you’ve got the pagans and on the other side the Roman Catholics.

    What’s a fundy to do?

    1. There is a youtube video around where John Piper cautions against cremation. I think he had two reasons. First, burial provides better closure for the family. Second, it symbolically shows confidence in the return of Christ. It’s not like he thinks it won’t decay, but pastorally he would counsel against cremation.

  4. I was raised to believe cremation is wrong. Beards, too. And, don’t ever cremate a bearded guy! Doubly pagan!

  5. the explanation my pastor growing up gave for not cremating was that on the day of the rapture when “the dead in Christ shall rise first”, how will someone who was cremated be able to be a part of the bodily resurrection of the dead. I never had the guts to tell him that God CREATED all those people…I’m sure He could find all the pieces when it came time.

    1. I heard that, too. But, that doesn’t make sense. Okay, what about our ancestors from a hundred/two hundred years ago. Even though they were buried, their bodies are practically dust by now anyway, especially before fancy vaults, when people were buried in wood boxes.

  6. Ashes (dust) is a lot cleaner starting material than a decomposed (in spit of embalming) body. Trust me, I’ve seen both. There’s a reason bodies are buried and not kept in the living room.

  7. I remember hearing it from the pulpit that Cremation was what atheists did to try and frustrate God on the day of Judgment, that is why as a good IFB we should never be cremated. The illustration used was some rock-star heathen or somone had died, was cremated, and had their ashes scattered per their last wishes so that God could’nt find them.

  8. Cremation is just doing quickly what nature is going to do slowly. Think of all the martyrs that were cremated at the stake.

  9. Not all fundies are against cremation, though I’ve certainly heard it from some people, and it’s pretty silly. There’s a new “green” method of disposal, in which the remains are basically composted, and that’s what I want to have happen to me some day. Would hard-core fundies have a problem with that, too?

  10. tewr: You bet they would! Afterall, this liberal, apostate “green” movement is all about worshippin’ trees!! Amen?

  11. I am making my way through the SFL website and just saw this post.

    Um, the Egyptians embalmed but not all cultures did. Embalming is a recent thing in our own western culture. For thousands of years, people who were buried have returned to dust all over the world. Any kind of plant life growing around the grave fed off the decomposing material. If an animal or person were to eat that plant, they would be ingesting particles of the dead person that the plant turned into food. This means that the dead person’s particles could theoretically be spread all over the world!

    So this begs the question for the anti-cremationsists… Is anything too hard for God?

  12. Embalming, as is currently practiced in the U.S. funeral business, doesn’t hold off decay by more than a few weeks at most. I’ve just been reading a book, “Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads,” about natural history museums. It goes into how to preserve specimens (plants, animals, people, and parts thereof), for long-term study and display. Without going into all the details, let’s just say that what happens at the funeral home is not nearly enough to preserve the material.

    Personally, I want my remains to be composted. We’re all going to return to the soil sooner or later. I’d rather skip the intermediate stops.

    1. I agree. Compost me and stick something in the dirt and let it grow. Preferably a dogwood tree. Pink. It’s my favorite.

    2. Read “The World Without Us” (the book upon which Life After People was based) and you’ll learn that the synthetic gaskets used to seal modern caskets will outlast not only the bodies but the caskets themselves by several thousand years!

  13. You know what warms my heart?…that no one tried to defend the ridiculous fundy position on the evils of cremation…

  14. When my dad passed away, there were people at his funeral that would otherwise never darken the door of a church, so what do they hear instead of the gospel? They get screamed at and antics and mindless drivel with a few scripture verses thrown in for good measure. All because the pastor wanted to impress some other preachers who were there.

Comments are closed.