7/16/2010 10:52:00 pm

Burn or Bury

Posted by Tom French |

flag grave.jpg

I just read this blog post from Justin Taylor about finding a Christian ethic of cremation and burial. The post talks about the need for Christians to consider the ethics for cremation, because it's something that more people are interested in. From what I can tell from the article it seems like it's generally a given in the States that Christians get buried. I assume this is because Christians have a hope for bodily resurrection, so burning a body is not really demonstrating that hope.

It was interesting to read, mainly because it's an issue I haven't really thought about before. The only time I've thought about the ethics of cremation vs burial is environmentally. I saw a video once about it (which I can't find now) saying that cremation is way more environmentally friendly than burial. So I've always just thought, "Hey, cremation sounds fine." But this article suggests that burial is the most Christian way to deal with a body.

I actually don't feel like it's a big deal. But what I do find interesting is that it's an issue where the assumption is made that most people will be buried. In Australia the majority of bodies seem to be cremated, and no one really talks about the biblical ethics of cremation. It's just not on our radar. It's one of the cultural things which has never really occurred to me, except perhaps when I've noticed in American movies that almost everyone is buried, but I figured it was just because grave-side funerals, in the rain with black umbrellas, are a whole lot more visually striking than a coffin going behind a curtain by some mechanical magic.

Anyway, I was just intrigued by just one more way we are culturally different from the US, which no one really talks about.

Then again, I'm basing all this on one blog post and a handful of scenes in movies, so I could be way off. Any American readers (if there are any) care to comment?

One thing I can say about the ethics of cremation vs burial, if there is a zombie outbreak, Australia will be totally safer to live in, because I'm pretty sure cremated bodies don't get infected by the zombie virus.

Photo by: Drewwh

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