In accordance with his wishes, Christopher Hitchens’ body was donated to medical research following his death less than two weeks ago; many of his followers have applauded his decision…
“Body donation makes absolute sense,” 5ecular4umanist penned. “Why waste a body in burial or cremation when it can be used to teach medical students or for scientific study for the benefit of others? Even in death we can do good.”
“There’s no better way to ‘live on’ than helping people learn and live even after your passing,” responded Hemant Mehta, chair of Foundation Beyond Belief, on his Friendly Atheist blog.
-Christian Post, Christopher Hitchens’ Body Donated to Medical Research
Actually, I think this makes perfect sense. I don’t understand this whole idea of burials or having a special place to put your ashes in an urn, etc.
Just as we are to be good stewards of our goods, likewise we are to be good stewards of our bodies, and if we as Christians make proper provisions in our wills upon our death to ensure that our wealth is distributed properly, should we not likewise make proper provisions to ensure that our bodies after death are put to good use and have it donated to a lab for study and research?
And I don’t see how “reverencing” the body, as they call it, is somehow a confession of faith in the resurrection, if anything, it is precisely a denial of the resurrection power of God, which can create ex nihilo our bodies as a wholly “new creation” after it has completely rotted and decomposed. Do we pretend to aid God in his resurrection miracle by preserving as much of our bodies in tact to make the job “easier” for him? Or shall we not instead grasp our resurrection by a pure act of faith in the invisible God, denying the necessity of empirical or visual support for our faith by an artificially preserved rotting corpse?
Besides, I don’t see how it is more reverent to subject one’s body to be eaten by worms and other insects and bacteria than properly and clinically having your body blended and sliced up by scientists. Does having your body get consumed by insects and worms and bacteria somehow elevate it? I don’t see how.
If I were living in the medieval times, I would probably scandalously suggest that they don’t waste my body with a burial but use it to fertilise the crops instead…