The Religious Beginnings of Cremation

Posted on Feb 8 2016 - 1:00am by Admin

Origins of CremationNot sure whether to choose burial or cremation? Religion plays a role in making the choice between cremation or a traditional burial. Recently, cremation has become the more preferred method of many because they find the long and slow decomposition process unappealing.

Cremation has many advantages, making it an ideal choice. But, learning its religious origin will give you a glimpse of how perceptions formed and later changed.

Here are some of them.

Christianity

Christians, regardless of denomination, viewed cremation as a violation of their faith because they believed that the body is an image of God and that He will resurrect the dead when the time comes. Believers preferred to bury their dead rather than cremate the remains, as was the practice of the Romans and Greeks in the past. Christians believed that the body was not only the spirit’s receptacle, but also a vital part of their personhood.

In the U.S., cremation is gaining popularity because of the changing social mores. In 1958, approximately one in 28 Americans chose cremation; now, the percentage is about 40%. Demographic and economic factors also contributed to the change because many believed that buying a burial lot is expensive and impractical.

Judaism

Judaism shares similar views with the Christians; they believed that the body will resurrect. They also disapprove of cremation because Halakha (Jewish law) strictly forbids it.

Hinduism

Aaron’s Mortuary & Crematory says cremation has a different symbolic meaning for various religions. Hinduism and other Indian religions such as Jainism and Sikhism practice cremation. Hindus believe that the soul is immortal and is the essence of life, which they release at an Antyeshti ritual. Widowed women previously practiced sati, an act of self-immolation wherein they commit suicide on their husband’s funeral pyre.

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Why Choose Cremation?

Cremation has practical benefits because it costs less than a traditional burial. There’s no need to purchase and maintain a cemetery lot and buy a casket. You only have to purchase an urn, in some cases you do not even have to, because you may wish to scatter your ashes in chosen locations.

No matter what your preference is, cremation is a viable option if you want to pre-plan your funeral.