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The Great Ambiguity Of The Afterlife

2396 words - 10 pages

One of the greatest and oldest human mysteries on Earth is death, and the fate that lies beyond it. The curious minds of human beings constantly wonder about the events that occur after death. No person truly knows what happens after a person ceases to live in the world, except for the people themselves who have passed away. As a result, over the course of history, people of various backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions have speculated and believed in numerous different possibilities for the destiny that awaits them beyond the world of the living. The great ambiguity of the afterlife is extremely ancient that many different beliefs about it have been dated back to several centuries ago. These beliefs go as far back to the beliefs of Ancient Egyptians, which outline the journey that the dead travels to the land of Osiris; and the belief of Ancient Greeks that all souls eventually find themselves in Hades’ realm, the Underworld. Throughout history, views and beliefs from emerging religions continue to develop as the human conscience persists in finding answers to this ancient, unresolved mystery. Prime examples of the various and separate beliefs regarding death and the afterlife are found in the diverse faiths of Roman Catholicism, Islam, and Buddhism.
The religion of Roman Catholicism draws a prominent image of life after death. To begin, the Roman Catholic Church believes in the grant of eternal life among their believers. The death of a person simply puts an end to their mortal life; the soul itself is eternal. Everlasting life is determined by the person, through their acceptance or refusal of the Lord’s divine grace (Catholic Church 1021). Although the Church mainly speaks of the Final Judgment, Christ’s second coming, the undying soul still immediately receives judgment upon their death; this decides their perpetual consequence in the afterlife. During this judgment, the soul is either approved entrance into Heaven—immediately, or after purification in the Purgatory—or appointed direct and endless confinement in the fires of Hell (Catholic Church 1022). According to the teachings of the Catholic Church, individuals who die fully cleansed of their sins live with Christ eternally in Heaven. It is stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “[Souls in Heaven] are like God for ever, for they “see him as he is,” face to face.” (Catholic Church 1023). Heaven is a paradise to those who love the Lord, and is defined as a life lived in love and unity with the Holy Trinity, the Virgin Mary, the angels, and the blessed. In Heaven, complete and utmost happiness with Christ is achieved (Catholic Church 1024). In another case, when a person who has died is not entirely purified of their sins, they must undertake purification to acquire the sacredness needed to enter the Kingdom of God (Catholic Church 1030); this ultimate cleansing of one’s sin is called the Purgatory. According to the Church, sinners of lesser offences, such as dishonesty, are...

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