13 Different Religious Perspectives on Cremation

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.

For more information, see our 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.

For more information, see our 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.

For more information, see our 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.

For more information, see our article Catholic Funeral Traditions.

Eastern Orthodox

Cremation is prohibited in the Eastern Orthodox Church. 

For more information, see our article Eastern Orthodox Funeral Traditions.

Hindu

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

For more information, see our 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.

For more information, see our article Jewish Funeral Traditions.

Lutheran

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

For more information, see our article Lutheran Funeral Traditions.

Methodist

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

For more information, see our 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.

For more information, see our article Latter-day Saints/Mormon Funeral Traditions.

Muslim

Cremation is forbidden for Muslims.

For more information, see our 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.

For more information, see our article Presbyterian Funeral Traditions.

Quaker

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

For more information, see our article Quaker Funeral Traditions.

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