There’s been a radical shift in society when it comes to funerals. The shift goes much deeper than cheaper, more economical funerals but includes an attitudinal change regarding how we choose to mourn the dead.
This process of mourning now has a decidedly secular cast.
It is now commonplace for people to be cremated instantly after death, and then to have a memorial or Celebration of Life ceremony “down the line.” This form of “mourning” generally occurs among secularists or non-religious people who have a tendency to believe that when you die, you die. There is no Heaven or Hell; there is only sublime forgetfulness and nothingness, an eternity of blackness and unawareness.
Prayers for the dead are useless among this group because they have no belief in a soul, making it much easier to dispose of the deceased as quickly as possible. This is done by scattering the ashes of the deceased around a neighborhood tree or keeping them on the mantle beside Fido, the family dog. As for the memorial service that is held weeks or months after a death, they almost always lack the pathos of a funeral service that is held immediately after a death.
These late memorials often have the feel of a Chamber of Commerce meeting, or they morph into beer/buffet bashes where the “mourners” tell jokes about the deceased while paying homage to Bacchus. Immortality, if it is mentioned at all during these non-religious gatherings, is only mentioned in the context of the deceased’s earthly life—“Her contributions to Democratic Socialism and Choice will live on forever!”—or, as in the case of the very wealthy, in the renaming of a building on a university campus.
It should be mentioned that in the Catholic world, the acceptance of cremation as an alternative to ground burial (for centuries the Catholic Church forbade cremation under pain of mortal sin) has caused a great deal of confusion among Catholics. The popular concept of cremation includes the freewheeling scattering of ashes afterwards, whether in a river, on a golf course, or in the ocean.
Many Catholics who have had their loved ones cremated are shocked to learn that the Church does not permit the scattering of ashes but mandates that human ashes be boxed and buried in the ground. This has caused the cancellation of many international Ash Disposal Trips, given the will of the deceased to dump his or her ashes off the shores of Tahiti or in the Danube outside Vienna.
The reverse is true among most religious believers. Within Christianity, a Divine Liturgy or Mass is celebrated and serious prayers are said, and continue to be said (for 40 days in the Orthodox Church) for the soul of the departed. Even after 40 days, prayers for the dead never stop in the Eastern Church but continue for decades.
The growth of the secular disposal of the dead can be traced to the influence or fallout from progressive political movements, given that “religion is the opiate of the people,” or given that religion is pure superstition based on the twisted dictates of “the Patriarchy.”
It should come as no surprise then that radical Democrats tend to suck up this philosophy as if through a straw. Most radical Democrats, in fact, are not affiliated with a church or synagogue and have a dim view of religion in general, although some Dems manage to squeak by as Unitarians or liberal Episcopalians
While other factors, namely the inflated cost of funerals, may have contributed to the popularity of the super secular funeral, this does not explain the atmosphere of spiritual sterility one can feel during these “Fido-the-dog systems” of body disposal.
Death is a twenty billion dollar industry, where the average funeral costs $9,000. The selling of caskets, for instance, has become as slick as car dealerships. Undertakers are often reluctant to show mourners simple wooden caskets, or inform them that it is not legally necessary to embalm a body. Undertakers are also reluctant to inform mourners that one can even transport a deceased family member or friend in their vehicle to the funeral home.
In Orthodox Christianity, priests and lay people have been known to buy wooden Orthodox caskets (engraved with three bar crosses) and use them as closet space or coffee tables until their death. There is also a thriving wooden casket industry among Catholics who purchase coffins from woodworking Trappist monks at New Melleroy Abbey. A widescale secular version of wooden coffins exists throughout much of Europe where wooden caskets are purchased and utilized as home accoutrements until they are needed.
There’s no question that the advent of Celebration of Life ceremonies has affected the religious observance of death. With no thought of the fate of the soul of the departed, and no concept of how prayer can actually aid in the transport of that soul into the afterlife, many of these secular ceremonies ultimately become parties for the living.
The (Left-leaning) Freedom from Religion Foundation has a lot to say when it comes to religious funerals.
While the Foundation might be correct when it states, “We often hear horror stories about what happens when religious relatives put on godly funerals for people who were ‘devoutly unreligious,’” what about religious people who die and whose family or relatives do not honor that but have them cremated with a secular memorial weeks or months afterwards?
A friend of mine, a devout Mormon, had always expressed to me and to other friends that he did not wish to be cremated when he died. He even mentioned this to family and had it stated in his will. Yet when he died his family did not follow those wishes but had him cremated because it was more convenient to do so, despite the fact that my friend had left an adequate amount of money set aside to pay for a ground burial.
When the Protestant sister of a good friend died—after years of making her evangelical faith known to everyone in the most stalwart way—she was cremated hours within her death, while her Celebration of Life ceremony occurred months later but without a single scripture reading or reference. Here was a woman who spent her entire life “in church” and yet her “celebration” might as well have been a service for an atheist.
The secular “no God” funeral is now pretty much the norm.
As the left progressive Guardian observed, “The point about funerals is that you are there to commemorate a life not indulge in metaphysical speculation. Life, not the afterlife!”
“Life, not the afterlife” sums up the “spiritual philosophy” of the left. If this life is all we have, then we had better hurry up and reform it to its highest potential and make it as “woke” as possible, since this is all there is.
In 2020, the Pew Research Center found that “Religiously unaffiliated people are more likely than those with a religion to lean Left.”
This poll also included that 76 per cent of Democrats believe in God, compared to 90 percent of Republicans. Not only that, but the Democrats have been on a downhill slide when it comes to any mention of God or God-related topics like abortion. As far back as 2012, the Democrats removed “God” from the party platform, and in 2016 when a pastor dared to mention “God” during the convention, he got heckled.
“The secular age is snowballing in America, as in other Western democracies. Year after year, reports show church membership and attendance slipping away,” The Freedom From Religion Foundation proclaimed (with glee) in 2018. The Foundation also proclaims, “Let’s dispense with Christian funerals” and (free up) resources on ‘dogma free funerals.’”
A 2019 Washington Post story, “The Funeral as we know it is becoming a relic,” cited that today at least one half of American deaths result in cremation as compared to 28% in 2002. The article went on to say that as a result, funeral homes have adopted to the shift, adding dance floors, lounge areas and even bars, while the business of cremation has led to ashes being transformed into diamonds, jewelry and even tattoos.
This, of course, is an entirely pagan practice but it blends hand-in-hand with the new Green Left Religion, which has options for turning human remains into what is called “legalized human composting.”
In Washington State, for instance—rated by “The Hill” as the most Democrat state in the nation, and by Zippia as the second most “woke” state in the U.S. where in 2020 6.4% of the population participated in Black Lives Matter protests and riots–—human composting became legal in 2021. Human composting, or the natural organic reduction (NOR) of human corpses, made headlines when The Seattle Times reported that,
“… The entrance to Recompose looks like most of its neighbors — just another unit in a tall, almost block-sized building with plain metal siding and big, roll-up warehouse doors. But inside, it feels like an environmentalist’s version of a sleek, futuristic spaceship: spare, calm, utilitarian, with silvery ductwork above, a few soil-working tools (shovels, rakes, pitchforks) on racks, bags of tightly packaged straw neatly stacked on shelves, fern-green walls, potted plants of various sizes….”
Here we have the woke version of Heaven, complete with wood chips, alfalfa, and straw that turns bodies into cubic yards of topsoil in a month’s time.
It’s like illegal immigration where thousands of migrants are permitted to stream across the southern border because they are the perfect human compost for votes down the line.