Consider the words of “forestboar” (Rev. Lincoln Winter):
Embalming has its origins in customs every bit as pagan as cremation. Yet for some reason, these customs have been adopted almost uncritically by Christians, while cremation is still seen as a problem.
Is embalming bad? I suppose the one advantage is that, if you aren’t dead before, you are certainly dead after – no chance of being buried alive. But the idea of draining the blood, filling the body with chemicals designed to interfere with the word of God itself (to dust you shall return), along with viewing a dead body made up to look alive – you don’t want to know the things they have to sew in place for that to happen – is all quite goulish when you think about it.
Which is, of course, why the Christian tradition is that the casket be closed. No one really needs to see the dead body “for closure”. (Whatever that means) That’s pop-psychobabble foolishness. We may as well say it is to help our self-esteem. It makes just as much sense and has just as much scientific evidence behind it.
So, should the church fight against the current funeral customs and say, “go naturally – buried without embalming or exhibitionism.” The embalming only serves to protect the body for a viewing, which is not a Christian rite in any way. how much money could be saved, how much false doctrine avoided is we let the people see death as it is.
All of this talk of death reminds me of the Woody Allen quote : I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work… I want to achieve it through not dying.
Surely our Porcher friends would agree: Go naturally, without embalming or exhibitionism. Nobody needs to see that dead body for “closure.” So maybe Carl is right in the thread: pine box, wooden marker, unpreserved death body, dignified and pious funeral, quick burial, time for family, friends, and memories.
On the creepometer, I really do think embalming might score higher than cremation.
And that Woody Allen quote is always funny and in its strange way a piece of Christian psychology, if properly understood.