What happens after death? Religious viewpoints
All religions attempt to explain what happens to human beings after death.
Of course, this is a matter of belief or non-belief, impossible to prove or disprove by science.
However, it's interesting to note that religions give very different answers about what happens to human beings at the end of their lives.
Even Judaism, Christianity and Islam, which belong to the Abrahamic branch of the monotheistic religions, have different views on the subject.
And, of course, Buddhism offers a completely different version.
According to these four religions, what awaits man after death?
Judaism has no concept of heaven and hell. It is believed that, at the end of the earthly journey, the immortal soul is somewhere in the afterlife, which the Bible and Talmud do not clearly define.
Only there, it is said, can the soul experience the closeness, goodness, and light of God. According to religion, a person will be judged on the outcome of his or her life, but nothing is said about the consequences of life after death. It is believed that at some point in the future, the souls of the righteous will rise and return to earth – for example, in the book of Daniel – and that all the people mentioned in the book will be saved and resurrected.
Judaism has a very rigid attitude to death. It forbids thinking about death or approaching it in any way. The Talmud affirms that righteous action, the observance of religious and moral rules, must not result from fear of death and punishment. It should result only from the feeling that it is the right thing to do and that it must be done.
Religious Jews point out that this is why life after death is not described in the sacred texts: so that no one builds his or her life in anticipation of future punishment or reward.
Christianity offers a completely different explanation.
John Chrysostom clarified his attitude towards death: he advised us always to remember death, but never to fear it, because, from the Christian point of view, the difficulties of earthly life are merely a test, a preparation for the present life and the life after death.
Religion defines heaven and hell as two versions of the soul's eternal existence.
Sinners and unbelievers go to hell. Christian tradition tends to describe hell in detail, including tortures and punishments. Different branches of Christianity have different visions of what awaits people after death.
For example, Catholicism describes purgatory as a temporary punishment for sinners who have not yet completely fallen. Heaven is described in less detail. Elysium, where souls rest, clouds, fields of flowers and gardens: these fragmentary descriptions make up the Christian conception of paradise.
Islam, like Christianity, sees heaven and hell as two paths for the soul after death.
The religion describes hell in the same way as Christianity, but places greater emphasis on the story of paradise. Four eternal gardens and four rivers. Colours of gold, silver, and marble.
Each has a corner according to his merits. All share the same age, and everywhere peace and abundance reign. At seated tables, the wise, dressed in green robes of precious fabrics, savor wine and food without consequence.
But even the best of the best had the opportunity to meet Allah. Asked about the colour of Paradise, Ibn Abbas, the father of Islam, replied that Paradise was like the sky before dawn.
Buddhists believe that the soul is continually reborn. For them, therefore, there's no reason to fear death: it's merely the beginning of a new life. On the other hand, Buddhists believe that the end of physical existence is a good thing: the breaking of the chains of reincarnation and the transcendence of matter, known as nirvana.