One of life’s greatest mysteries is whether or not a soul or spirit exists within each of us, and if so, what happens to the spirit when the physical form dies. Even people who consider themselves agnostic often believe that souls and spirits exist. A recent Pew Research study found that the vast majority of American adults believe in some sort of afterlife, which is where the spirit lives on after death.
Traditionally, it’s been believed that the spirit remains with the body if a person is buried. But what about cremation? Does a person’s spirit remain in the cremains? We don’t know for sure, but we do know what influences whether or not a person believes that cremains contain spirits.
Belief in Spirited Cremains Comes Down to Religious Beliefs
One of the advantages of cremation is you have options for choosing a final resting place. Cremains can be buried in a cemetery, but the family could also choose to scatter the cremains, use them to create physical objects or keep the cremains an urn. For some people the decision comes down to if they believe the cremains contain their loved one’s spirit.
Whether or not you think a person’s spirit remains in their cremains is an individual belief. However, that belief is largely rooted in religious practices. Religion is highly influential in cremation, which is part of the reason the rate of cremation is increasing.
Today, more religions are showing acceptance for cremation. Part of the acceptance is determining that cremation doesn’t alter or destroy a person’s spirit.
The destruction of a person’s soul or spirit has been a driving force behind the preference for burial. For a long time Christian religions and other faiths promoted the idea that burial was the only acceptable type of disposition since the body is somewhat preserved. Now Christians are more likely to view the spirit as separate from the body.
If you are a Jehovah’s Witness you’ll probably take great care of a family member’s cremains since there’s a belief that cremation doesn’t destroy the spirit. The Watchtower Bible teaches that the body isn’t resurrected at all, which is why Jehovah’s Witnesses allow cremation. The person’s spirit is still intact after cremation and that is what will be resurrected. Therefore, it’s reasonable for Jehovah’s Witnesses to believe that the cremains contain a person’s spirit.
But if you’re part of the Hindu religion you probably don’t think the cremains contain a person’s spirit. The whole reason Hinduism mandates cremation is because the religion teaches that burning the body releases the spirit from the physical form so it can find its rightful place in the afterlife. It’s also believed that the fire purifies the process so that the spirit isn’t disrupted.
Ultimately, whether or not cremains can contain a person’s spirit is a question we can never definitively answer. Because there’s no way to prove the existence of a soul, there’s no way to prove the spirit remains in the cremains. However, the idea does affect what happens after a cremation. Not surprisingly, families that believe cremains could contain a person’s spirit often choose to keep the cremains in an urn at home.
Want to know more about the direct cremation process? Give us a call or text any time of day to discuss your needs and get your questions answered.