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No matter what an individual’s religion, everyone wants their deceased loved ones to pass on safely to the next life, whatever they may believe that to be. Every religion has a different view of the afterlife. That is what makes different religions different and unique. Hindus and Christians seem to have a pretty different view of death, funerals, how to dispose of bodies, and the afterlife.
Even though cremation was frowned upon in the early Christian church, more and more people are considering it acceptable. But, for the most part, when someone of the Christian faith dies they are buried. The reason cremation was not acceptable is because Christians believe the body is a temple, and is therefore sacred. Some also believe that upon Jesus Christ’s second returning, they dead will rise up out of their graves to join him in Heaven. These Christians believe that the dead are merely resting until their god’s second return. Others believe that at the moment of death, a soul is either present with the Lord in Heaven or in hell and when Jesus Christ does return again, they will have new, glorified bodies.
At a Hindu funeral ceremony, it is expected that the attendees wear white and dress rather casually. White is associated with spirituality, truth, and purity. Friend visit the family at the home of the deceased and can sent flowers along with their condolences, but bringing food to the family is not one of their customs. There is usually an open casket (obviously, the ceremony takes place before the cremation). The people conducting the ceremony would be the Hindu priest and the senior family members. Ten days after the funeral, another ceremony is held to liberate the soul for its ascent to Heaven. Guests are expected to bring fruit.
On the other end of the spectrum, Christians would normally wear dark, somber colors to a funeral. This is simply to show sadness and that a person would be in a period of mourning. This practice isn’t quite as common as it used to be. More and more people are beginning to wear brighter colors to a funeral. Most of the time, the service would be held either at a funeral home or a church. The service is generally conducted by a Christian priest/preacher and sometimes friends or family members of the deceased are encouraged to say a few good words about the person. Bringing food and flowers to the grieving family are both Christian customs. Unless the person died in an unfortunate manner, the casket would be open. After the funeral service, attendees are encouraged to attend the family at the cemetery, unless it has been announced that the graveside service is privately for the family only.
As stated before, Hindus believe that the soul has no beginning and no end. They believe that after a person dies, their soul lives on and becomes someone or something else. This all depends on the individual’s karma, which are the effects of a person’s actions that determine his or her destiny in the next incarnation.
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Christians believe that right after death, a person has no second chances. If they have accepted Christ and have lived the way they should, then they will reside in Heaven with God. If not, they will be sent to hell to suffer eternally.
Hindus and Christians have very different views of death. All the things mentioned here don’t even make a dent in all the customs and rituals each religion has. No matter the faith, every religion has some customs that deal with death and everyone wonders about the afterlife, but no matter how hard they try to explain how it will be, no one will really know until it is their time.
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