In Charge Of A Christian Relative's Funeral? What Are Your Options?


If you've recently been placed in the sad position of planning a funeral for a loved one or close friend, you may be feeling overwhelmed with the sudden rush of responsibilities. This confusion and loss of direction can be even more profound when you're called upon to make difficult decisions (like choosing between cremation and burial or an open or closed casket) for a devoutly Christian person while you are relatively unfamiliar with this religion's beliefs surrounding death and burial. Here is how modern Christianity views many aspects of modern funeral culture. 

Can a Christian be cremated?

In many areas, cremation is becoming much more popular than burial -- whether to save money, avoid the cost of a cemetery plot in a crowded city, or help the environment, more individuals are choosing cremation than ever before. Fortunately, most sects of the Christian religion, even the more conservative ones, place few dictates on the treatment of the body before burial. Because most Christians believe that the body interred in the ground (or cremated) is not the body you'll inhabit in Heaven, the manner in which you enter your final earthly resting place matters little. If you feel as though your relative or loved one would have enjoyed the cost-saving and environmentally friendly aspects of cremation, you shouldn't need to worry that you'll be going against his or her religious beliefs by doing so.

Should a Christian have an open casket viewing?

There is a long biblical tradition toward openly viewing the dead; as a result, it's unlikely any Christians will take issue with this practice. On the other hand, exercising modesty on behalf of the dead can be admirable as well. Ultimately, the decision whether to have an open or closed casket should depend on the wishes of the closest family members and any guests who may become inordinately upset one way or the other.

Can those of other religions attend a Christian funeral?

The thought of keeping any visitors out on the basis of religion is likely to be an abhorrent thought -- however, you may have heard that certain non-Christian religions prohibit their members from attending Christian funerals. Fortunately, Jewish scholars believe that attendance at a Christian funeral, within some boundaries, only shows respect toward the family of the dead, not an affirmation of beliefs they don't happen to hold. For more information, simply ask the visitors what they believe.


6 October 2016

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