Today, religious beliefs are playing a smaller role in body disposition decisions, but it’s still a major factor. A recent survey from Choice Mutual found that religious beliefs had the biggest influence on disposition plans for 11% of people. It was the fourth most commonly cited factor for choosing a form of body disposition.
But religion is actually more influential than that. An additional 24% of respondents said their disposition decision was largely based on family tradition. And family traditions that revolve around funeral services are often rooted in the family’s religious beliefs.
Religions across the world hold similar beliefs and very different beliefs at the same time. One matter that has a lot of differentiation from religion to religion is cremation. Below is a brief overview of how major religious groups view cremation as a part of funeral rites.
Chistian Faiths and Cremation
A number of churches belong to the Christian religious group, and they have varying views on cremation. For the most part, in many Christian religions cremation is allowed within certain parameters, but burial is preferred. Below are a few examples of how Christian churches approach cremation.
It was only rather recently that the Catholic church gave the okay for cremations. However, there are certain guidelines that have to be followed. If a Catholic is cremated, their remains must be kept at a “sacred place” such as a church cemetery, not stored at a family member’s home, infused into a physical item or scattered.
While the Mormon faith favors burial, cremation isn’t prohibited. A Mormon can be cremated and still receive full funeral rites through the church.
Baptists can choose burial or cremation. Both are fully accepted within the church as forms of body disposition.
Hinduism: The Most Cremation-Friendly Religion
Hinduism is probably the most cremation-friendly religion in the world. Cremation is by far the preferred method of disposition because Hindus believe the body must be burned so that the soul will be purified and released after death. However, one hang up has been modern cremation techniques that make the process more eco-friendly. Many Hindus favor the traditional funeral pyre that is out in the open and requires a significant amount of wood that causes a lot of air pollution.
Buddhism Preference for Cremation
Buddhism is another very cremation-friendly religion for the same reason that it is popular in Hinduism. Buddist also believe the soul needs to leave the physical form after death, and cremation aids in that process. Buddha himself was cremated, so it is only natural that many followers of Buddhism do the same even though burial is allowed.
Judaism and Cremation
People of the Jewish faith take a very different stance on the body-soul relationship. Judaism doesn’t allow for cremation because it is believed that the soul remains with the body and is slowly released as the body decomposes. Jewish people actually believe cremation to be destruction of property and that it can cause the body pain even after death.
More importantly, in the Jewish faith the body must be buried in some form or fashion. That is why the Torah bans cremation. Even above ground crypts go against traditional Jewish beliefs. Despite the religious views, in recent years some Jewish people outside of Israel have opted for cremation.
Islamic: The Least Cremation-Friendly Religion
Muslims of the Islamic faith believe that cremation is “unclean” and a form of bodily mutilation. Because of this, cremation is expressly forbidden for Muslims. People of the Islamic faith are always buried as per religious customs that are laid out very clearly. Cremation is so strictly forbidden that Muslims aren’t supposed to take part in any way, including just witnessing a cremation.
At Direct Cremation we work with families of many faiths to provide straightforward services on their terms. If you’d like to know more about the direct cremation process you can contact our team by phone or text seven days a week.