Christian teaching reflects on what they believe - views on death and the after life are always defined

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RE Coursework ~ By Alice Sutcliffe

        Christian teaching reflects on what they believe. Different groups of the Christian religion believe slightly different things, yet their views on death and the afterlife are always defined. It is clear from the teaching of the Bible that Christians believe death is not the end. Evidence of this is depicted in the Christian hymn title; “It is not death to die.”

        After the death of a much~loved friend or relation, Christians will always hold a funeral ceremony. A funeral is an event to celebrate the life, and to mourn the death of a close friend or relative who has recently passed away.

At a funeral, the body can either be buried or cremated, and this choice varies from person to person. A Christian’s beliefs may strongly influence their particular decision.

The service at funeral can either be simple with prayers, hymns and a short address, or longer with Holy Communion as well. A Christian funeral can take place at a church or a special crematorium. However, many people argue that the money spent on funerals would be better spent on the living.

         There are two main Christian beliefs as to what happens when a person dies. These are known as “Separate Soul” and “Bodily Resurrection.” Christians who believe in “Separate Soul,” feel that after death, the soul leaves the body and goes to Heaven, Hell or Purgatory. Christians who believe in “Bodily Resurrection” think that after death, the whole body will be raised, just as Jesus was.

“I am the resurrection and the life, whoever believes in me will live even thought he dies.” This Bible quotation from John 11:25 supports the idea that traditionally, Christians assumed that the resurrection would be physical.

However, now most Christians believe that their soul will be raised from the dead, as their body will rot. This idea can be supported with the quotation from the First Corinthians 15:20 in the Bible; “When the body is buried it is mortal. When it is raised it is immortal.”

Christians believe that God will judge them when they die as to whether they have lived a good, honest life. They believe that they will either go to Heaven, Hell or Purgatory. Apostle’s Creed says; “He will come again to judge the living and the dead.”

From the Bible, Luke 14:15 describes Heaven as a party. Revelation 21:3~4 says; “He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared.” This suggests to Christians that heaven is a place of peace and pleasure, where there is no pain or trouble. It is also depicted as a place to get away from the bad things in life, as in heaven, they do not exist. Different Christians will have slightly different views on what they think heaven is like, but these ideas will generally all be along the same lines.    

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Many Christian Hymns and Painting are on the subject of Heaven as it is a very positive thought. Some of these Christian Hymns include; “When we all go to heaven,” and “There is a land of pure delight.” The first verse of “There is a land of pure delight” demonstrates a typical Christian view of heaven. Its reads; “There is a land of pure delight, Where saints immortal reign, Infinite day excludes the night, And pleasures banish pain.” This implies that in heaven, there is nothing dark or painful, as it is a land of pleasure and “pure delight.”


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