Religious Views On Cremation: Evangelical Christians
Death remains a taboo subject in modern society. This means that many people shy away from talking about death and avoid speaking about their wishes for their funeral. For the loved ones that are left behind, it can be confusing to know how to organize a funeral when you are unsure what the deceased would have wanted. However, a person’s religion can often determine the type of funeral they will receive.
A person’s views on death and what happens after they die will likely be strongly influenced by their religious views. This means that someone that follows the Southern Baptist faith is likely to have different opinions on what should happen after death compared with a Jehovah’s Witness.
As well as holding different views, different religions also have varying traditions and customs to follow when a person passes. These beliefs will dictate the type of funeral service the person has and what happens to their body after they have passed. So, being aware of these religious factors when planning a funeral is essential.
One of the most significant decisions that need to be made when planning a funeral is to choose the appropriate option for the body. Donating the body to medical science is one option, but it is more common for people to choose either a burial or a cremation.
Are Cremations More Popular Than Burials?
While religious beliefs have a strong influence over a person’s plans for their funeral, there is no doubt that funeral trends have changed over the years. In the past, burials were the most common choice and far outnumbered cremations. However, in 2016, things began to change. For the first time, the number of cremations was larger than the number of burials. Interestingly, the same pattern emerged the following year and has been repeated ever since.
The National Funeral Directors Association believes that this preference for cremations over burials is set to continue and remain the preferred end-of-life option.
What do Evangelical Christians Believe About Death?
Evangelical Christians make up a significant portion of the Christian population. According to research, 55 percent of protestants in the United States are Evangelical Christians. Evangelicals believe in Jesus Christ and worship him as the Savior. The belief in a ‘born-again’ experience and encouraging others to trust in Jesus Christ are central concepts within the Evangelical faith.
The word ‘evangelical’ is derived from the Greek word for ‘good news.’ Evangelical Christians seek to spread the Christian message of ‘good news’ in recognition of Jesus Christ providing salvation for sinners.
Like the other members of the Christian faith, Evangelical Christians believe that upon death, people will either go to heaven or hell. Whether they go to heaven or hell is a decision that God will make on the Day of Judgement. Those that have been good throughout life and have lived in a way that practices the teachings of Jesus will go to heaven. Those people that have not lived their lives in a way that follows the teachings of Jesus will be sent to hell on the Day of Judgement.
Do Evangelical Christians Choose Cremations or Burials?
Research conducted by the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) shows that 64 percent of Evangelical leaders surveyed had not made written plans for their funeral or memorial service. However, most of the leaders surveyed stated they believed that making a written plan would be helpful for their loved ones that are left behind.
When making plans for their funerals, it is only natural that Evangelicals will consider their faith carefully. As with other Christian believers, Evangelicals typically choose to make their own decisions regarding cremations and burials as their preferred end-of-life choice. This is because there is no direct reference that indicates that cremations are not allowed. Cremations are only briefly mentioned in the bible. However, as the bible does not state that cremations are forbidden, most Christians believe that being cremated is not a sin. For many Christians, the fact that cremations are not generally considered a sin is enough to make it an acceptable end-of-life choice.
Further research conducted by the NAE shines some light on what Evangelicals think about cremation and burials. While there is no mention of cremation being forbidden in the bible, many Evangelicals would still rather be buried. NAE study shows that 64 percent of Evangelical leaders surveyed would prefer a whole body burial. Just eight percent of those surveyed would prefer a cremation. At the same time, nine percent of the Evangelical leaders would accept either option. Just two percent of those surveyed were undecided or did not know which option they would choose.
These results are interesting, as despite there being no specific theological objection to cremation, Evangelicals would still prefer a whole body burial. Only time will tell if Evangelicals will start following the national trend and opting for cremations over burials.
Cremation or Burial? Which One Should You Choose?
Many different factors contribute to a person’s choice for selecting a burial or a cremation. While cremations are often viewed as less traditional than a burial, the popularity of cremations continues to rise. Which option you choose is very much a personal decision and can be based on your religious views or simply your individual preferences.
One reason that cremations may continue to increase in popularity is due to the options they provide. For loved ones, a cremation provides them with an increased number of choices when compared with a burial. Some people may decide to keep the ashes in an urn and to keep the urn close to them inside their homes. Others may choose to scatter the ashes in a place where their loved one enjoyed spending time. Alternatively, the ashes can be used to create a lasting keepsake, such as a piece of cremation jewelry. Being able to keep the ashes close can provide a lot of comfort at this sad time and bring reassurance that the bereaved have a reminder of their loved one that can be treasured forever.