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Death And Afterlife : Christianity, Buddhism And Atheism

3067 words - 13 pages

1.0 Introduction
“No one knows whether death is really the greatest blessing a man can have, but they fear it is the greatest curse, as if they knew well” (Plato). This quote emphasizes that death is an aspect in life that all mankind have to deal with in their lives and for some people; it is considered as an uncomfortable subject and they try to avoid the subject in every possible way simply because they are afraid of what lies after death. The definitions of death have been one of the most debated issues for thousands of years as different individuals have different views on death depending on religions, culture, personal belief and medical profession. Basically, in medical terms death ...view middle of the document...

The status of life that one will attain in the next life depends on their action in the previous body. “Good” actions lead to a higher status in the hierarchy, and “bad” actions lead to a lower status in the hierarchy (Reincarnation – the truth n.d.). However, over the centuries, there have been numerous ideas by some individuals particularly Atheism, that life after death is simply a natural reincarnation where all living beings die and all the components of which they are made up of will unite with the air and the earth and recycled in a new living organism (Cornish n.d.).

2.0 Christianity
Christians’ teachings conform to the Holy Bible and their view on death relates to a place called Heaven and Hell. Death is accepted as something that is permanent and they strongly believe that individuals who have showed repentance over their sins and lived according to the laws of God will gain entrance to Heaven. Those who have sinned and have not asked for forgiveness from the Lord will suffer in Hell forever (Arguilevich 2003, 33). Throughout the centuries, Christianity has gone through multiple changes as different individuals have different perceptions over the teachings of God and thus this religion is divided into many branches. These branches of Christianity do not have the same views on death and afterlife but they accept the concept of immortality of the soul.
2.1 Christian Funerals
Although Christian funeral customs vary across the world, they share some similarities in some aspects. Normally, when a person dies, a short service is held for friends and family to mourn for the deceased and giving thanks for their life. Scriptures from the bible are read and hymns are sung throughout the service emphasizing the resurrection of God and the hope of eternal life. The priest will also include a sermon to give a sense of comfort for friends and family. In Christian funerals, the deceased may have two options which is burial or cremation. In burials, they may have the option of being buried in a coffin six feet under the ground or be placed in a mausoleum. Normally in burials, after the church service is held, friends and family will gather around the grave for the Committal. Committal is the moment when a coffin is lowered slowly into the grave and the priest will usually include some prayers for the deceased. In the cremation process, the body is taken to a crematorium for the body to be cremated in a proper cremation process. The body is burned and the ashes are placed inside a case called the urn and are given to the family of the deceased. The Committal process in cremations is the closing of the curtains around the coffin (Christian funerals 2009).
2.2 Heaven and Hell
As mentioned previously, Christians believe that when they die, their soul will either be sent to Heaven or Hell by the judgment of God. Over the years, people have tried to explain these supernatural places and these places can be viewed in two different ways. In...

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