Cremation is the practice of burning the remains of the dead to memorialize them. While it has become more prevalent in later years as a whole, there are varying traditions and viewpoints across the world with regards to cremation. This article will discuss the different ideas about cremation in the view of various world religions.
Many sects of Christianity have historically been against cremation, but over the years have become more tolerant and accepting of it. This is in part due to the frame of mind shifting about death, but may also been due to the increasing cost of burial, as well as the lack of space in some cities, making cremation a more viable option.
In general, most Catholics are against cremation, as it goes against their views of the human body as a temple of God. Burning a human body can be considered as concerning as burning a church, and so is generally not considered an option. However, when the rare occasion occurs when a catholic is cremated, the Holy See forbids scattering the ashes, and requires them to stay in the urn that they were placed in.
In these eastern religions, cremation is very much accepted. For adult Hindus, it is the first choice of burial, as it signifies the return to the universe, which is a very important belief in Hinduism. While doctrine does not require Jains, Sikhs, or Buddhists to be cremated like in Hinduism, it is still the preferred method as compared to burial.
In Islam, cremation is expressly forbidden. Muslims have very specific death rites which do not allow for cremation, including being buried on their right side facing the Qibla in Mecca.
Most Jews generally disapprove of cremation, as through history it has been used to dispose of the bodies of those deemed of a lower class. Orthodox Jews refuse cremation, as the Halakha, or Jewish law, forbids it. However, many other Jews have embraced cremation, in part due to the lack of space in many Jewish cemeteries.
The Baha'i faith forbids cremation due to their religions law, stating that Baha'i burial is beautiful and dignified, and no Baha'i should deprive themselves of that.
There you have it, a quick overview of cremation in the various world religions. Of course there are many different traditions and viewpoints within these large groups, but this gives a general overview. For further assistance on arrangements, contact professionals, such as those from Ahlgrim & Sons Funeral And Cremation Services LTD.