Views on cremation in different religions
Views on cremation vary between different religions. This can influence many people's decision as to whether they will cremate their body or not. Here is a resume of eight different religion's views on cremation.
Jewish law dictates that burial in the ground after death is the only option and Judaism continues to discourage cremation. However, Reform Judaism is beginning to accept it. Many Reform Jewish cemeteries permit the burial of cremains of people who choose cremation. Although some require the cremains to be in a coffin for the burial. Orthodox Judaism remains totally against cremation.
Christian views on cremation
In the past, Christians traditionally chose burial, but cremation is now accepted by most sects. The Russian and Greek Orthodox churches still oppose the practice. Since the first cremation in the UK in 1885, the Church of England has slowly changed its view on cremation. The growing population, increasing numbers of deaths, and the importance of preventing the spread of disease helped Christian attitudes in the UK to change. The doctrine of the Church of England states that "The ashes of a cremated body should be reverently disposed of by a minister in a churchyard or other burial ground, or on an area of land designated by the bishop for the purpose, or at sea." However, in practice, many members of the Church of England choose to scatter their ashes or their loved ones choose to keep them in a special urn at home.
The Catholic church finally removed its ban on cremation in 1966, although burial is still the prefered way to dispose of a body. Catholic law allows the burial of ashes in the ground, or kept in an urn in a columbarium. Alternatively, burial at sea in a sealed container is permitted. Keeping ashes at home requires permission from the bishop. The scattering or dividing up of the ashes is allowed..
Islamic jurisprudence considers cremation to be an unclean practice and for Muslims cremation is strictly forbidden. They should not attend a cremation or express their approval of the practice.
Mormon views on Cremation
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does not prohibit cremation but regards it as a hindrance in resurrection, as they believe that the soul and the body are inextricably tied together.
Members of the Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the physical body is not necessary for resurrection and so have no prohibitions against cremation.
Buddhists regard cremation as acceptable at the Buddha himself chose this option. However, followers of Buddhism are not required to adhere to any specific doctrines or practices. They can make their own decision about what they want to do with their body after death.
Hindu views on cremation
In Hinduism, the process of reincarnation is necessary to reach the state of "mukti", or union with the source. A person passes through many lives, and Hindus believe that cremation releases the soul from the dead body to allow it to pass into the next one on its journey to perfection.