Catholic Afterlife Essays

Christian beliefs


A key topic: beliefs about life
after death, mainly in

A Quotation by Epicurus, in a Letter to Menoeceus, during the third century BCE:

"Therefore death, the most terrifying of evils, is nothing to us, since for the time when we are, death is not present; and for the time when death is present, we are not. Therefore it is nothing either to the living or the dead since it is not present for the former, and the latter are no longer."


Is there life after death? What form does it take?

Various Christian denominations and leaders have taught conflicting answers to those two questions:

We eventually land up in Heaven, Hell, Limbo, Purgatory, Sheol, or some other place, state, or condition.
We simply disappear and cease to exist in any form.
Our souls separate immediately from our body and go to Heaven or Hell while our bodies remain on Earth to decay.
We sleep for a long time after death before waking up for a final judgment. 
We are reincarnated into new bodies to live another lifetime on Earth, either as a human or animal.
We go through a number of steps after death before we end up in our final destination.
Infants who die go to Limbo, where they remain in an infant state forever.

Unfortunately, the Bible seems hopelessly ambiguous on matters related to life after death. This can be shown by the great variety of scenarios, covering the above options and more, which have been proposed by different Christian faith groups and writers over almost two millennia.

Each group has based their beliefs on what they regard as true interpretations of key biblical passages, supported by church tradition, reason and the occasional personal experience when people have claimed to have died, gone to heaven or hell, and returned to lilfe on Earth.

Most faith groups teach that their beliefs are correct, while all others are wrong. It is obvious that most or all of the tens of thousands of faith groups around the world are mistaken in their beliefs.

To answer the original questions:

Just about every devout churchgoer is absolutely certain that there is life after death and that they know what form it takes. Generally, these beliefs match the teachings of their faith group.
Any priest, priestess, pastor, minister, etc. would probably be happy to fill you in with the details of what their particular faith group teaches.
One might try to determine the truth via prayer to God. However, a pilot study that we conducted some years ago indicated that getting such answers from God througy prayer is unreliable.
No human may really know where the truth lies. If life after death exists, it might be necessary to die first before we learn the truth. Even worse: if there is no afterlife to experience, then we will never know, because -- after death -- we will not have a functioning brain to realize that there is no afterlife.

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Topics in this section:


Beliefs about the afterlife: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Limbo

Christianity and Life After Death Essay

647 Words3 Pages

Christianity and Life After Death

Life after death is an essential part of the Christian religion. Jesus, the son of god, died on the cross and three days later he rose again from the dead, the resurrection. Hundreds of people saw him. This has given Christians the hope that when they die, they will live on in another place. Christians believe in heaven and hell. If a person lives a good moral life they can expect to get to heaven, when they die. If they live an immoral life then perhaps hell will be an alternative.

Luke 23:42

Then he said, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Jesus was crucified…show more content…

Faith is very important to Christians. No one living today has seen god, and no one has seen heaven or hell. However, Christians still believe that they will be resurrected. This is faith, belief in something that cannot be seen.

In Anglican, orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions smearing the sick are a ceremonial action which can be requested for very ill people. When it is performed on a dying person it is often referred to as the “last rites”. It involves rubbing oil on the person’s forehead and in the Roman Catholic tradition, the feet and the hands too. It symbolizes the healing of the mind and the strengthening of spirit and is accompanied by special prayers.

At the death candles are often placed near the coffin as a symbol for the future life and a reminder of the ‘light of Christ’ who is the means of redemption. In Roman Catholic and orthodox services incense, with its smoke rising upwards as a symbol of prayer, is sprinkled over the coffin

After death the place of burial is marked with a stone, often in the shape of a cross as a reminder of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Some churches have a memorial garden where the ashes of cremated people are placed with plaques, often with Christian symbols and words.

In many towns and villages there is a stone memorial cross to commemorate those who have dies in the two world wars. Special services

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