Friday, October 14, 2016
In the same way that burning books is bad, burning people is bad also. Put another way, cremation is not a part of our Christian Tradition. Asserting this flies in the face of much modern North American culture, where cremation is rapidly becoming the preferred method of dealing with the bodies of the dead, but Orthodoxy continues to make this assertion nonetheless. As far as the historic practice of the Church is concerned, cremation involves the burning of people.
Modern secular culture denies this. It says that people—human persons—are to be sharply differentiated from their bodies, so that cremation burns not the person, but the body of the person. The person—the real person—is identified with the soul, and this soul resides in the body in the same sort of way that a letter resides in an envelope. In the case of letters and envelopes, the envelope has no real and lasting function apart from the safe delivery of the letter, and after the letter is received, the envelope may be thrown away. After all, it is the letter which is of value, and it is the letter which we keep. In the same way, modern secularism holds that the soul is the real person, and the body only the temporary container or vehicle for the soul. When the soul departs from the body at death, the body has no more lasting value than the envelope has after the letter is removed. Both may be thrown away, or burned.
Read the rest here.