Why are some of us so afraid of cremation? It is fascinating to think about society’s opposing thoughts on cremation, which mainly stems from differing traditions, cultures and religious beliefs.
In the previous article, we have mentioned the rising cremation rates in the USA, which according to the annual NFDA Cremation and Burial Report for 2018 predicted a rise with 30 % in incineration practices in approximately 20 years. Although there is a gradual increase in the cremation practices, most of the people around the world still seems to opt for burial, neglecting the idea of cremation.
While searching for some information we have found some suggestions why the human mind simply rejects the idea of cremation.
There are several reasons why some people may fear or be uncomfortable with the idea of cremation.
What are the reasons for not choosing cremation?
The socio-economic reality shows that in some countries funeral practices still stay on the top of the charts every year.
One common reason is that cremation involves the destruction of the physical body, which some people may find disturbing or disrespectful to the deceased. For many cultures and religions, the body is considered sacred, and cremation may go against their beliefs or traditions.
For example, a study among students in Eastern Europe, large parts of which is orthodox shows the main motives against cremation are:
- The Church’s blaming of cremation (including denial of religious service) - 348 cases (46.71%);
- Tradition (customs) must be respected - 200 cases (26.85%);
- Other religious considerations (the fear that there would be no possibility of resurrection on Judgment Day) - 106 cases (14.23%)
And the research presents some psychological reasons like: fear of fire - 93 cases (12.48%); due respect of the human body (3 cases);
What religion's opinion on cremation ?
As mentioned, religion is one of the reasons for cremation to be less preferable.
Religions like Orthodox Christianity, Islam and Judaism follow traditions that frown upon cremation, even prohibiting it. Traditionally, their culture believes that the idea of turning human body into cremation ashes might interfere with God’s ability to resurrect the dead and bring it to heaven.
The Hindu culture, however, approves cremation; they believe that cremating the body induces a feeling of detachment into the freshly disembodied spirit, which will help to its passing on to its next life.
Natural fear of cremation
For others the rejection stems from an innate fear of fire. It is in our nature to fight and avoid anything that may cause us suffering or pain. If we saw a flame on a hob, we would not touch it. Fire often equals pain and this is what cremation is often associated with.
Even though most of us are aware that their loved one is no longer living, we would often have some comfort to know that they are still there physically. Burial gives you the option to visit their physical body wherever they are buried.
For some people, the idea of their body being consumed by flames can be unsettling or even terrifying. This fear may be exacerbated by media depictions of fire and the potential for accidents.
Not Understanding the Process of Cremation
For some, the fear of cremation may simply stem from a lack of understanding about the process and what happens to the body during and after cremation.
However, if you think of the body as just an empty vessel after death, which many people do, the idea of cremation can be very appealing. One of the pros is that cremation is far cheaper than the traditional burial. Once you overcome the initial procedure of lots of fire, what to do with the ashes of you, your loved one or your pet, gives you a chance to be creative. Scattering the ashes is the preferred option, however many people opt for keeping the ashes of a loved in a cremation urn at home or columbarium.
These include turning the ashes into a shiny diamond, planting them as a maple tree, or even turn them into a vinyl record - plus many more unusual processes.
Choosing a modern art urn that fits a certain interior is also more and more preferred option.
Considering all of these options, even though you may still believe burial wins the battle against cremation, it's always good to learn more about the process of cremation in case a friend or family member adds it as part of their final wishes.
It's important to remember that cremation is a very personal choice, and there is no right or wrong decision. It's okay to have concerns about the process, and it's important to talk to loved ones and funeral professionals to better understand the options available and make an informed decision.