Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Ghastly "celebrations of life"

Continuing with reflections on Christian funerals occasioned by the funeral of Antonin Scalia, Carl Trueman:
.... The straightforward seriousness of the rites reflected the metaphysical depth of the Christian understanding of life and of its end. I could not help but compare the occasions with the growing penchant even among professing Christians for turning funerals into these ghastly ‘celebrations of life’. ....

‘Celebrations of life’ and funeral liturgies which choose ‘My Way’ or ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ are interesting phenomena because they reflect the metaphysical superficiality of this present age and our childish inability to face up to the seriousness of death even when it is staring us in the face. They also represent the perfect paradox of an age built on so many fundamental contradictions. If the life was worth anything, then its end must represent a painful and permanent void for those left behind. Such a thing can surely not be celebrated with any honesty? And if the life was worthless or meaningless and ended without leaving a painful void in the lives of others, is it really worth celebrating at all?

Rites surrounding the dead demonstrate how seriously we take life. For a hedonistic society like ours whose primary purpose is personal pleasure and whose first priority is entertainment, death is a rather confusing, if somewhat unavoidable, embarrassment. ‘Celebrations of life’ are one of the results, both pitiful and incoherent ..... [more]