Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Understanding death

As it will be Remembrance Day for us Canadians tomorrow, I would like to take just a moment to remember the lives of the people who bravely fought and died in service to our country. And to those who survived the war, I thank you for your service.

Today I would like to write about something that is a very difficult subject for many of us: Death. I think it's fairly safe to say that most of us know someone who's died, and  all of us will live through a funeral for a friend or a family member. It's a terrible thing to watch someone close to us die, but do we really know what happens after that? Lets take a look.

In ancient Egyptian culture it was believed that you really could take it all with you. The Pharaohs were buried with gold, jewels, tools and sometimes servants, that were all there to help them in the afterlife. The people wanted their kings to have the best possible 'lives' when they got where they were going. The people who were not worthy of the afterlife had their hearts eaten and were not given the privilege of walking with Ra in the afterlife.

The Greeks and the Romans had very similar views of what the afterlife was like. They believed that when we die, we all go to hell. Of course there are three different categories in this version of the afterlife. The first was the fields of punishment, which was for the damned, the criminals who were to be punished. The there was Asphodel, where the souls of the people who led neutral lives were found. These people were neither punished or rewarded, they simply existed. And finally the 'heaven' of Greek and Roman mythology, Elysium. Elysium was where heroes were sent for their aftterlife, where they were eternally rewarded.

In Mexico, death is celebrated. Every year there Los Dia De Las Meros, or the day of the dead. The people celebrate the lives of their loved ones, trying to communicate with their spirits. I honestly don't know much about this so I'll leave it at that, but if you can help me out, comment below.

As a Christian, I believe that there is two ways I can go after we die. Heaven or Hell. Those who serve Christ, obey Him  and repent of their sins are forgiven are allowed to enter Heaven. Those who deny the name of Christ and turn their backs on Him, unrepentant of their sin, are giving the afterlife they themselves have asked for, one without Christ. They are punished for their sins in Hell forever.

Buddhism on the other hand, presents the idea that when you die, you are continually reincarnated until you reach a  state of neutral karma. Those who live a good life are reincarnated as higher beings, and those who live a life of sin are reincarnated as lesser creatures as punishment. What happens after the cycle of reincarnation and the reaching a perfect state, I do not know.

The final viewpoint I  want to present you with is the one that scares me most. This is the atheistic viewpoint. As atheists do not believe in God, they also do not believe in an afterlife.  They believe that when you die, you simply stop existing. You simply decompose and become part of the earth. You have no soul, and so there is nowhere for it to go. You cannot be punished or rewarded, and  your entire life is lived for nothing.

As you can see there are a number of different views of death, each  with their own ideas  to present. I cannot say for certain what happens when we leave this world, but I can tell you that there is something. I know what I believe. I hope this post has given you something to think about. Comment or tweet me your thoughts!


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