13 Different Religious Perspectives on Cremation

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gray urn red band religious creamtion perspectives

While the practice of cremation is becoming more widespread in the United States, many religions and cultures have strict opinions on cremation—while some religions forbid cremation, others mandate it, while others are flexible.

Below are some major religions' perspectives on cremation.

Anglican/Episcopalian

Cremation is acceptable for Episcopalians and will not interfere with holding a traditional Episcopal funeral.

Related Article: Anglican/Episcopalian Funeral Traditions

Baptist

There is no ban on cremation for members of the Baptist faith, and cremation may take place either before or after the funeral service.

Related Article: Baptist Funeral Traditions

Buddhist

Cremation is acceptable in Buddhism. If the body is to be cremated, monks may be present at the crematorium and lead chanting. If no monks are present, family members may lead chanting. Cremated remains may be collected by the family the following day, and may be kept by the family, enshrined in a columbarium or urn garden, or scattered at sea.

Related Article: Buddhist Funeral Traditions

Catholic

Historically, the Catholic Church has not supported cremation. However, these days it is acceptable for a Catholic to be cremated. That said, most churches prefer that the body be present for the Funeral Mass, meaning that cremation should occur after the Funeral Mass. Remains should be buried in the ground or at sea or entombed in a columbarium, and should not be scattered.

Related Article: Catholic Funeral Traditions

Eastern Orthodox

Cremation is prohibited in the Eastern Orthodox Church. 

Related Article: Eastern Orthodox Funeral Traditions

Hindu

Traditionally, all Hindus—except babies, children, and saints—are cremated.

Related Article: Hindu Funeral Traditions

Jewish

Depending on the degree of orthodoxy of the deceased, the rules around cremation may vary. For Orthodox Jews, cremation is not acceptable and the body should be buried, intact, in the ground. While cremation is opposed by Conservative Jews, a Conservative rabbi may still perform a funeral for a person who has been cremated. However, in most Conservative communities, the rabbi will not be present for the interment of the ashes. For Reform Jews, however, cremation is becoming an increasingly common practice, and most Reform rabbis will willingly perform a funeral and interment for someone who has been cremated.

Related Article: Jewish Funeral Traditions

Lutheran

Cremation is acceptable for Lutherans and will not interfere with holding a traditional Lutheran funeral. 

Related Article: Lutheran Funeral Traditions

Methodist

Cremation is acceptable for Methodists, and will not interfere with holding a traditional Methodist funeral.

Related Article: Methodist Funeral Traditions

Mormon

While cremation is not prohibited for Mormons, it is not encouraged, and the Church prefers that bodies be buried rather than cremated.

Related Article: Latter-day Saints/Mormon Funeral Traditions

Muslim

Cremation is forbidden for Muslims.

Related Article: Muslim Funeral Traditions

Presbyterian

Though there is no clear commandment against cremation, Presbyterians generally do not support cremation, and instead prefer that the body remain intact and be buried in the ground.

Related Article: Presbyterian Funeral Traditions

Quaker

There are no religious criteria for interment, and thus Quakers may be buried or cremated.

Related Article: Quaker Funeral Traditions

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