Religious Reasons for Cremation

by Nicole Seaton
Hindus believe cremation frees the soul from the body.

Hindus believe cremation frees the soul from the body.

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Cremation has been used as a method of honoring the dead and disposing of corpses for thousands of years. Throughout the world, humans have practiced cremation as a component of their religious beliefs. In the Hindu religion, the act of cremation is believed to release the spirit from its earthly body. The last rite, antyesti, is based on the belief that an individual is composed of five elements of nature, or prakriti, which must eventually return to their source.

Religious Reasons for a Buddhist Cremation

Many, but not all, Buddhists practice cremation. Some Buddhists practice cremation as a way of honoring the dead in the last of life's rites of passage. It is believed that the soul has departed from its bodily form and is thus free from the constraints of the material world. In a Buddhist cremation, a monk will officiate with prayers at the ceremony. If no monk is available, the male patriarch of the family will say the necessary prayers and incantations.

Cremation Beliefs in the Sikh Religion

In the Sikh religion, the deceased's body is said to still carry the essence of the soul. Cremation facilitates the soul's journey from the body, and it is the Sikh belief that the body holds no purpose after the soul has departed. Although cremation is the preferred norm for Sikhs, the religion does not prohibit burial or releasing the corpse into a body of water as long as it is done in a respectful manner.

Seventh-Day Adventist Views on Cremation

. In the Seventh-Day Adventist religion, it is believed that Jesus will resurrect the dead whether they were interred or cremated. Since God made Adam from the dust, He would be able to bring the dead back to life, even in the cremated form. If the ashes of the deceased are scattered respectfully, Seventh-Day Adventists view cremation as a pious act. Although many Seventh-Day Adventists opt for burial, others see cremation as a Bible-sanctioned and cost-effective way to conduct funerary rites.

The Quaker Church Sanction Cremation

The Protestants were the first among Christian faiths to accept cremation as an acceptible form of funeral rite under the reigious grounds that "God can resurrect a bowl of ashes just as conveniently as He can resurrect a bowl of dust". Although some Protestants choose to be interred, many Protestants prefer to be cremated, and some Protestant churches even have "scattering grounds" where the family of the deceased may scatter the ashes of their loved one.

About the Author

Nicole Seaton has been a freelance writer since 2001. Her work has appeared in "The Reno News and Review" and "The Flow," a trade publication for the flame-working community. Seaton earned a Bachelor of Arts in international relations and Spanish, and has studied in Argentina and Spain.

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