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Question 1a: Explain what Christians believe about the death of Jesus Question 1b: Explain what Christians believe about life after death The central Christian belief is that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross means all people who follow him will have the opportunity of eternal life with God when they die. Many Christians believe they may go to heaven, hell or purgatory, depending on how well they have lived on earth. This belief is found in the Nicene Creed where it states 'We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come'. Heaven is viewed as a paradise where people will live with god. It is not clear whether people will go straight to heaven after death, or whether they will wait until the Day of Judgement. However, people who have not lived a good honest life on earth will be sent to hell. Christians teaching and opinions about hell have changed over time. At one time, hell was believed to be a place of fire and brimstone, where people would be eternally punished by the devil. Today many people think hell is simply a place where people are forever deprived from seeing God and being happy. In the same way, they see heaven as being eternally in the sight of God. Roman Catholics believe there is a place between heaven and hell called purgatory. Most Catholics are probably not good enough to go straight to heaven because of sins they had committed on earth, but they have believed in Jesus so they will not go to hell.
can literally be taken to mean that Jesus felt abandoned. However, as a quote from Psalm 22, which starts in anguish and despair but then turns to hope, Christians could also infer from his words that his death would bring hope into their faith. It should be remembered that Mark wrote his gospel at the time of the persecution of the early Christians in Rome. Letting them know that Jesus had suffered too, would have helped them come to terms with their pain. In the Old Testament Isaiah foretold, 'surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows,' (Chapt. 53) and this sense of unity through shared suffering continues to be deeply meaningful for Christians today. Mark's accounts of Jesus' anguish give strength to Christians by illustrating how good can come out of pain and suffering - the pain and joy of childbirth is a universal experience of this. The tragic events of 9/11 provides a modern day example of communities coming together through shared suffering. God's willingness to allow Jesus to suffer is seen as an expression of His love for us, for it brought about the redemption of the human race from the sins of our first parents- the tearing of the Temple Veil at the moment of Jesus' death symbolized that the barrier of sin between God and humanity was broken; (Mk 15: 21-39). The fact that Jesus suffered as a human is particularly important because it enables Christians to feel he can empathise with us and as a result our relationship with him is deepened.
Christians believe Jesus is God, we pray to him because we know he is alive and can hear us. Believing that we are forgiven makes forgiveness easier towards ourselves and to others. Everyone is seen as being made up of body and soul and that within our lives we should take both seriously, physically and spiritually just as Jesus did. Our spiritual relationship with God is based on a profound level of mental or emotional communion and to exercise our spiritual side so that it may grow and deepen, we need to take time out from the physical and material aspects of our everyday lives to reflect in solitude on this relationship. This may be through silent contemplation, praying, reading the Bible, or embarking on a period of religious retreat. These Christians beliefs about the death and resurrection of Jesus are conveyed through worship and practice; every Sunday at Mass or church service, during the celebration of Easter which means 'new life' and at funerals where priests wear white, symbolizing the belief that a death should be celebrated as it is the beginning of new life in heaven; this is mirrored in the Priest's words 'life is changed, not ended.' The suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus prove to Christians today that Jesus is God, he sacrificed himself for us but he continues to live through us and that we should pray to him to strengthen our belief and faith that one day we will be reunited. Religious Education Coursework Francesca Cox 10AG Sister Marianne Set 1
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