You might say, "Howdy, stranger!", as I haven't been here in years. Something has come up that makes me want some input and discussion on the topic of cremation. I've come across various bits and pieces as far as religious views, and would welcome more in depth ideas from those who might have strong beliefs or knowledge, religiously or otherwise.
I know that many people choose cremation, and there are appealing arguments in favor of it that some people agree with. I do not agree, and believe that it is wrong and an act against nature and any idea of God. In addition, I believe that the majority of people who choose it do so solely because of money, and in fact, they believe they have no choice. Many do not care and don't have religious beliefs against cremation. In reading a bit about the Jewish position at chabad.org, I noted that even when a person claims ahead of time that it is his wish to be cremated, if Jews are in charge, they do not honor that wish. The belief is that the person stating his future wish is not in the position to make that choice, because he is not fully informed or in the position he will be in when he has died. This is interesting to me because I also don't believe in "do not resuscitate" orders. Suppose a couple of weeks on a ventilator allows the person to go on to live 20 years? One with a DNR order won't have that chance, and none of us knows what such a circumstance would be ahead of time. Some choices just can't be made ahead of time.
Apart from spiritual reasons, I find the idea of cremation repugnant because of its connotation involving Jews, witches and poor people. People who die in our county without resources get cremated. It seems like a punishment, to me. When I think of the question of how Hitler managed to accomplish his aims and have the support of the people in doing so, I can't help but think the reason is the same as why people would go along with cremation.
Things I've come across -
1) Neptune Society has a coral reef in Florida that looks oh so beautiful, decorated with cremated remains - Neptune Memorial Reef. Of course, it ignores that incineration of a human being is anything but beautiful. This disposition is supposed to be "green", but the informed position is that burial is actually more green than cremation, under ordinary circumstances.
2) Muslims don't dismiss the possibility that the person being cremated can feel it.
3) Gehenna, spoken of by Jesus in the bible, means the garbage dump where bodies of dead people could be found, when these people did not have family to bury them. To me this means that cremation is the hell that Jesus was speaking of, though nowadays through modern "improvements", it isn't quite the same.
4) Some Hindu or Indian religions mandate cremation. I think I could go along with it if I were of those religions, since they have some kind of goal that comes out of a real way of thinking. The idea seems to be that fire offers some elemental completion, and because the spirit of the person tends to cling to the body that it is associated with, it rips the two apart so that the spirit can be free, rather than trapped with/near the body. To me, this also lends credence to the notion that the one being cremated knows it and feels it. It is a violent and abrupt destruction, rather than the natural process that comes with burial.
5) Cremation has been going on in the USA for 125+ years. The number of people choosing it has grown and continues to grow.
We are talking about incinerating a human body. I have seen ads that claim that cremation is carried out in a dignified way, and is a respectful way to dispose of a loved one. This is not how I define dignity or respect, but it does make me think of how some people react to the burning of inanimate objects, such as American flags, bibles, qur'ans and such. I wonder if it would be uber-respectful to cremate someone wrapped in an American flag, holding a bible, with a dollar bill with the words "In God We Trust" as the bookmarker? Or are those inanimate objects just too sacred to burn?