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Death In Different Religions Essay

3806 words - 15 pages

Thesis: Examine how the beliefs of religious or cultural groups are significant to each individual and how they are reflected in the traditions associated with death.Death is an inevitable part of life that all human beings are forced to come to terms with. The amount of opinions, theories and philosophies concerning what happens after death is immeasurable among the seven billion people coexisting on earth. For many people, death is an element of life that can be explained by the core beliefs developed over time through belonging to a religious or cultural group. These distinct principles are reflected in how death is dealt with as it approaches, and also in the way the deceased are put to rest. Across the globe, Christianity dominates the conventional attitudes, rituals and traditions concerning death. Often overlooked or misunderstood are the perceptions and customs unique to the three foremost minority religions: Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam; as well as other religions and cultural groups unique to each country. Although the views associated with death vary greatly, the treatment of such a profound area of life is typically linked to the beliefs derived from the teachings of a particular faith.Prior to European colonisation, Indigenous Aboriginal people were the sole inhabitants of Australia's main land. During the many generations preceding 1788, Aborigines formed distinct traditions that closely reflect their cultural beliefs (Mooney, 2013). Aboriginal spirituality is based on the key belief that the land is sacred and all beings form a deep spiritual connection with the land. In Indigenous culture the Dreamtime marks the period in which the ancestor beings created landforms on earth; which was once a flat, barren and unoccupied land. Once complete, the ancestors eternally became part of the land themselves. As a result, Aborigines have a profound belief that the Dreamtime is not an event in the past, rather, a continuous experience called the Dreaming (Arthur & Morphy, 2005). It is this belief that determines the way Aboriginal people interpret death and the afterlife.Following child birth the mother buries the placenta in the ground as a way of expressing where the newborn will return after their life as a human. After death, the spirit of the deceased becomes an ancestral being in the spirit world; incessantly guiding their loved ones whom are still living in bodily form (Minniecon, 2001).The nature of the spirit world is not limited to non living landforms such as Uluru, but is also inclusive of living organisms such as plants and animals. In some areas it is believed that Aborigines reincarnate in animal form (Rose, 2014).A study by Pam McGrath and Emma Phillips (2008) found that some Aborigines in Australia share both traditional Aboriginal spiritual and Christian beliefs due to the increase in Christian missionary presence in Aboriginal communities."A lot of people too have a bit of both, bit of Western and a bit of Aboriginal....

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