Question is - What are we made of and what survives after death of the body. If anything survives how much of the original identity of that person survives and in what form? People try to answer this by:
Believing in a superior being who has communicated a promise Gathering data about LAD - near death experiences, past life memories that suggest reincarnation, the para-normal Accepting no 'life 'after death - we are matter and return to matter and become part of the wider world again Exploring ideas about the nature of body and soul
Some Christians believe death is the event that makes sense of our previous lives and the meaning of death itself is changed in the promise of eternal life. John Hick, ' it should not evoke the sickening fear with which we face what we know to be evil... It is a fuller stage in the outworking of the Creator's loving purpose for his children.
Revealed Knowledge - The Bible, Qur'an, Torah etc which tell us of the events others have experienced and what they claim and to those who accept them as revealed knowledge this gives certainty. Christians believe that Jesus was and is God Incarnate, so if he promises eternal life to his followers, he must be trusted. Similarly Muslims trust the Prophet Mohammed as Allah's chosen messenger - and as he has spoken of paradise, then there must be such a place. Inferential Knowledge - Reasoning that the ideas expressed explain so much that they must be true even if there's no proof = a belief. Hindus do not have any promise in scripture, but they trust their God loves them and so will e god to them upon death.
In neither case is there absolute proof - the believer trusts that it is true.
Old Testament - good and bad alike to go to Sheol as ghostlike individuals - Job 14.7-12 There's hope is a tree is cut down as buds can grow from the trunk but 'man lies down and does not rise again'. However he also believes that if he has a personal relationship with God which is beyond the trials of this life he will be with God at the end.
New Testament - the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is at the heart of the belief in LAD,. Jesus's promise to the good thief crucified with him 'This day you will be with me in paradise' only appears in the Gospel of Luke - indicates that he believes in the possibility of paradise for the righteous and the repentant. However the translation of 'paradise' could also refer to a pleasant place. Jesus referred to heaven as the place where God lived 'Our Father which art in heaven...'
Book of Revelations contains visions of Saints whose bloody robes have been washed clean in the blood of the lamb (Christ) in a heavenly city, the new Jerusalem. It is clear there is a heaven after death, which is separate from the last judgment, also known as the second coming, which will happen at the end of time.
The term eschatalogical gap refers to the gap between what's in the bible and the precise details of the afterlife Purgatory - Roman Catholics only - people have to atone for sin before they can enter heaven - no scriptural evidence for this idea Limbo - not in current use, but Catholics used to believe the unbaptised or good people who'd never heard of Jesus would go here. Protestants believed such people would go straight to hell as God would have called those to be saved. One reference in Peter's letters 'The spirits who are in prison' Reincarnation - some Christians have accepted this in the past - but not currently in use.
Catholics in particular value appearances by Mary (Lourdes, Fatima etc) and other saints after their death as confirming an after life.
Quakers - religious body without creeds and so base beliefs on experience, life experience varies and therefore so do views on LAD. Three main views - bit these are not fixed, all beliefs are personal. 1. The good we have done (and possibly the evil) lives on after we have gone in the lives of those affected - this...
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