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Re synoptic essay.

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Introduction

Re synoptic essay. The initial problem with studying the belief in life after death is that there are a vast number of theories stating what they believe 'life after death' actually is. Therefore in order to effectively ascertain arguments for and against this idea, it is necessary to deal with each individual theory separately. Within this essay I will be discussing and assessing the views of Buddhists and looking at 'life after death' from an ethical point of view. In the teaching of the Buddha, all of us will pass away eventually as a part in the natural process of birth, old-age and death and that we should always keep in mind the impermanence of life. To Buddhism, however, death is not the end of life, it is merely the end of the body we inhabit in this life, but our spirit will be reborn. Where they will be born is a result of the past and the accumulation of positive and negative action, and the resultant karma (cause and effect) is a result of ones past actions. According to Buddhism, our lives and all that occurs in our lives is a result of Karma. Every action creates a new karma, this karma or action is created within our body, our speech or our mind and this action leaves a subtle imprint on our mind which has the potential to ripen as future happiness or future suffering, depending on whether the action was positive or negative. If we bring happiness to people, we will be happy. ...read more.

Middle

Christians say life is a gift from God and life is "priceless". And also that we must respect our lives and not cause unnecessary pain or suffering. In this argument there are a number of other questions which can only be answered by personal opinion. Do we have a right to die? Do we own our own bodies and our lives? If we do own our own bodies, does that give us the right to do whatever we want with them? Isn't it cruel to let people suffer pointlessly? Ethically we can look at this from two main model points of view, a utilitarian model, which emphasizes consequences or a Kantian model, which emphasizes autonomy, rights and respect. If looking from a utilitarian point of view there are four main points brought up. Morality is a matter of consequence, we must count the consequences for everyone, everyone's suffering counts equally and we must always act in a way that produces the greatest overall good consequences and least overall bad consequences. If we go back to the question what is a good death? Jeremy Bentham is a hedonic utilitarian and answers this by saying a good death is a painless death. John Stuart Mill on the other hand is a eudaimonistic utilitarian and says a good death is a happy death. A Kantian model states that people cannot be treated like mere things and the key notions lie in autonomy and dignity, respect and rights. Kant felt that human beings were distinctive, they have the ability to reason and the ability to decide on the basis of that reasoning and autonomy for Kant it is the ability to impose reason freely on oneself. ...read more.

Conclusion

The general Buddhist belief about rebirth is that at conception three things come together - the sperm, the egg, and the karmic force that is the effect of a previous life. human life begins at the moment of conception. Human life begins at the moment of conception. If a human foetus is terminated or otherwise dies, this might mean in Buddhist terms that bad karma carried over from the previous life has been 'paid', and so the next life will be more fortunate. However at the same time the people concerned with causing the abortion (say the woman, doctors etc.) will be generating bad karma themselves for this act of violence. In Buddhist terms whether an action is good or bad largely depends on one's intention. If a woman was to reflect deeply on her proposed act and felt that in her heart a decision to have an abortion is not based on selfishness then maybe the act would not generate bad karma. The whole Buddhist approach to ethics can be summed up in one word - compassion. This is more important than any rules or doctrines. Compassion for the unborn foetus is necessary, but other conditions need to be considered, and compassion for the pregnant woman is vital too So to conclude, very generally it might be fair to say that most Buddhists would feel that in principle abortion is wrong, or at least very regrettable, but one should always examine the circumstances and allow for exceptions, and not be condemning of those who arrive at a different conclusion. ...read more.

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