Some have suggested that we have entered the “post-Christian era of America.” They are right. Despite the fact that millions of Americans regularly attend thousands of churches on any given Sunday, our culture has become decidedly pagan.
Only a pagan culture would tolerate the legalized killing of unborn children. Only a pagan culture would give sexual deviancy political protection. Only a pagan culture would grant depraved people superstar status. Only a pagan culture would elect and reelect known adulterers and homosexuals to high public office. Only a pagan culture would indoctrinate school children in secular humanism and atheistic evolution.
Regrettably, the fact that well over one-third of the adults in the United States claim to be born-again Christians has done little to impact an ever-deteriorating culture. Instead, it seems that culture is having an impact on the church. Sometimes it is even difficult to tell where the one begins and the other ends. A recent news article reminded me of this reality. It said that in just a few short years, there would be as many cremations as burials in the United States. Once again, a Christian tradition has succumbed to a pagan one.
Hebrews in the Old Testament distinguished themselves from their pagan neighbors by both their birth and their death. Shortly after birth, little Jewish boys were circumcised. This was in stark contrast to the myriad pagan nations that never circumcised their male children. At death, Jews were buried. This, too, was in stark contrast to the pagans who burned their dead.
The New Testament carries forward this Hebrew custom. Nowhere is a Christian seen burning his dead. Imagine an urn replacing a tomb in the resurrection story! That is not to say that God cannot resurrect a body from ashes as easily as He can from dust. It is only to say that the Judeo-Christian custom for disposing of the dead is burial, not burning. The fact that so many Christians have adopted the pagan method for disposing of their dead (burning) is further evidence that America has lost its Christian heritage.
Furthermore, the reason usually given for cremation is that it is substantially less expensive than burial is. Once again, Christians are opting for pragmatism over principle. It seems that virtually every decision we make today is predicated upon the premise that personal comfort or personal prosperity trumps every other consideration, even the consideration of how we dispose of the very people we should love and respect the most.
As with so many issues, “people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” If only we could awaken America’s pulpits; then, perhaps more people would come to see the light.
© Chuck Baldwin
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