Displaying the Dead?

Does anyone else have a problem with this new Body Works display that is such the rage? For those who don’t know, it is a display of cadavers whose tissues have been preserved by infusion of a polymer, making the tissues appear life-like and not subject to deterioration. The bodies are posed as in action, such as running a football and riding a skateboard. Various layers of skin, muscle and bone are exposed so the parts of the body can be seen “in action.”

There is a story in the news of one of these “specimens”, a pregnant woman that exposes the baby in the womb, from which the “preserved” baby was stolen. That was a real living baby at one time (probably killed in an abortion).

Anyway, this is no different than having cadavers on display in large jars of formaldehyde like some kind of rare animal collection. Maybe I’m not “with it” but this seems disrepectful of the persons who used to live and breath in those bodies and it’s kinda creepy.

I’m with you! I saw layers of a sliced up woman preserved in panels of glass you could view from both sides. It made me feel sick–not because I could see everything the poor woman had but because she never got a decent Christian burial.

It is disrespectful to display human bodies like that or any other way that doesn’t take into account that we are made in the image of God. When the uncorrupted body of a saint is displayed the body is always in a casket with kneelers for those who wish to pray in honor of the saint and ask for his/her intercession. It isn’t done just so people can gock at them.

I think these displays are good for educational purposes, not gawking purposes. If no one ever saw what’s inside us, we wouldn’t have very good medical doctors now would we. Even our understanding of fetal development, which is currently helping the pro life side, has been furthered by being able to see what’s inside of us. I think people who’ve donated their bodies to further the understanding of science and medicine are to be commended. If it’s being done to thumb a nose at the Church, I think it stinks but that’s between the person and God. I don’t think God will have any problem fixing them up at the end of time.

I’m not sure what I think about it, but I’ll share a factoid about my childhood.

I used to go to a museum that had an entire wall with a long display of preserved babies at various stages of life, from near conception to near time to be born. They were each in a rectangular container and lined up by age, so size comparison was easy.

Even as a child, the ineluctable result of the display was that they were *all *human babies. Secular little terror that I was, I didn’t miss the point.

I think the manner in which it is done is disrespectful. Displaying dead bodies is not worng though. I mean, there are saints with incorruptible bodies in glass coffins.

These bodies were donated. They are volunteers. It does not surprise me that this offends many of you, but it still seems illogical to me. These people are furthering science, a very noble cause.

On my 19th birthday, DH and I visited the pathology bldg of the Smithsonian. There was a display there of quintuplets that had died shortly after birth in 1898. Also babies from 4 weeks to 9 months gestation floating in formaldehyde. I was horror stricken and remember the experience as though it was yesterday; down to what I was wearing. This was 39 years ago.
I thought ‘why had the parents of these children allowed such a display?’

So that others can learn how to avoid such deaths in the future?
Is it possible that some parents are far more “Christian” than some christians?

I think it’s a great idea. Body Works came through London while I was living there and generated a lot of press.

One reason I think it’s good is b/c it teaches people about science… people who would probably never venture back to a biology class have the opportunity to see how the human body works and learn about diseases etc.

I heard on the news the other day that 2 women stole a baby from the exhibit. My immediate assumption was that they were offended by the display or they assumed the baby had been aborted. I don’t know how the baby died (I assume it wasn’t abortion though, but I could be wrong) but stealing it was really a dis-service to the pro-life cause. Can you imagine how many thousands of people looked at that baby every single day? After seeing a perfectly formed little human I’m sure it makes people think twice about having an abortion. Now… the baby is gone and that opportunity to win people’s hearts and minds through seeing the child is gone. Shame on them for stealing it, no matter what their intentions were!

I understand the benefit to science and the benefit to the pro-life cause as well; however, we have the technology to create essentially the same displays with artificial materials. I recently saw a display at a pro-life rally of babies at various stages of gestation in cut-out wombs that were made of plastic. They looked pretty real.

I am concerned that using real human bodies somehow de-humanizes the person. There is a reason that we don’t have regular public discections of the human body and that victims at the scenes of accidents or crimes are covered. The nature of the Body Works “specimens” crosses the line of discretion, in my opinion, and it’s just another small wave eroding our view of human life as sacred.

Here’s a link guardian.co.uk/arts/critic/feature/0,1169,728531,00.html

[quote=JimO]I understand the benefit to science and the benefit to the pro-life cause as well; however, we have the technology to create essentially the same displays with artificial materials. I recently saw a display at a pro-life rally of babies at various stages of gestation in cut-out wombs that were made of plastic. They looked pretty real.

I am concerned that using real human bodies somehow de-humanizes the person. There is a reason that we don’t have regular public discections of the human body and that victims at the scenes of accidents or crimes are covered. The nature of the Body Works “specimens” crosses the line of discretion, in my opinion, and it’s just another small wave eroding our view of human life as sacred.
[/quote]

While the plastic replicas are indeed quite good, there is no substitute for reality. An unborn baby is not a doll in the womb, it is a real child, and I think people will appreciate it more when they realize that it is real. Self-deception is so easy for so many today.

Originall posted by Norwich
Is it possible that some parents are far more “Christian” than some christians?

I, sir, am a parent also and I do NOT believe that my Christianity should be called into question because I do not want my precious babies bodies floating in a jar!
You are far too presumptous amd quick to judge. :mad:

[quote=catsrus]I, sir, am a parent also and I do NOT believe that my Christianity should be called into question because I do not want my precious babies bodies floating in a jar!
You are far too presumptous amd quick to judge. :mad:
[/quote]

You are judging those that donated to these displays. So, to quote an early 90’s rapper, “Check yourself, lest you wreck yourself”. Or a more common phrase, “those who live in glass houses”…

Here it’s called Body Worlds

koerperwelten.com/en/pages/home.asp

Somewhat graphic

[quote=catsrus]I, sir, am a parent also and I do NOT believe that my Christianity should be called into question because I do not want my precious babies bodies floating in a jar!
You are far too presumptous amd quick to judge. :mad:
[/quote]

So you would prefer other peoples precious babies to die because the medical profession couldn’t learn from one childs death and therefore was not able to help others? Would you donate your childs body to research? or possibly donate organs for transplant? would you donate your own organs for transplant?
If you are a parent you better start making those decisions now because, God forbid, if the day ever comes when you have to make them, and you haven’t already discussed it or even thought about it, there’s a good chance somebody else will die, because making those sorts of decisions at that time, is almost impossible. And remember, Christianity is all about helping others.

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