January 3, 2013
CREMATION has become much more common in recent years, and yet many people have given little thought as to why it was previously rejected in Western society. Here is an excellent and concise post at Tradition in Action on why cremation is a desecration of the human body.
One reason the burning of the dead was favored by pagans was, according to TIA, that they “disliked the sight of sepulchral monuments because they reminded them of death, which disturbs their earthly pleasures.” I think this is true today as well. People seem to find ashes cheerful and reassuring in comparison to graves and embalmed corpses. The latter are a downer and almost an impertinence. Ashes can be kept in an urn on a coffee table or a bookcase or can be scattered somewhere in a vacation spot, as if death is an eternal timeshare. An acquaintance of mine was at a memorial service a few years ago in which the ashes of a friend were thrown into the ocean. This was supposed to be an exciting tribute to the deceased man. However, the wind was blowing toward the shore and the ashes blew into the mourners’ faces.
Ashes, whether in an expensive urn or sprinkled over the sea, are trivial and even laughable remnants of a human being. They command neither respect nor horror.