Cremation is on the rise in the United States, especially during the present economic downturn. Cremating the remains of a loved one is generally much cheaper than have them embalmed and buried in a casket. But there may be more to this trend than simple economics.
The New York Times has a long article (linked below) that reports on the trend, and the way that even groups in American society like African Americans, who have long found cremation to be unacceptable, are beginning to consider it as an option. Apparently it’s not just economics driving this change. According to the article, there’s been a shift in popular religiosity as well.
““America is becoming Hinduized in this way,” said Stephen Prothero, a professor of religion at Boston University and the author of “Purified by Fire: A History of Cremation in America.” “We’re increasingly seeing the human as essentially spiritual and gradually giving up on the Judeo-Christian idea of the person in the afterlife.”
Still, Lorice L. Ottenbacher of Virginia Beach explained that her husband’s choice to be cremated, while largely motivated by his beliefs, also had an economic component.”
For a long time Jews, Christians and Muslims have resisted cremation as an option because of the hope of the bodily resurrection expected when God remakes the world. So is it really a shift in belief or simple economics driving the change noted in the article? Do Christians still emphasize the bodily resurrection, or has it become more spiritualized in your experience?