Religion, Culture And Death Essay

1243 words - 5 pages

Religion, Culture, and Death


The five religions discussed during this week’s seminar have many similarities, and just as many differences, in relation to their specific views on death, dying, bereavement and grieving. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism all contain their own system of beliefs and traditions that members use in order to deal with impending death.
Judaism is the oldest of the three monotheistic religions that stems from the Middle East and follows the teachings of Abraham and Moses. Judaism believes that death was a direct consequence of Adam and Eve eating from the forbidden “Tree of Conscience” (Leming, 2011). There are ...view middle of the document...

In regard to the afterlife, many Jews believe that they will go to a place called Sheol and wait for what is known as “the world to come”.
Christianity, which follows the teachings of Jesus Christ, is the second oldest of the three monotheistic religions that stems from the Middle East. Christians believe that with death comes true life with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. There are an abundance of sects within Christianity itself: Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, Armenian, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptists, to name just a few (Wilkinson, 2008). For most Christians, funeral practices are very similar within each sect. Funeral rites usually involve visitation of the body where the person is remembered and comfort is given to the mourning. Afterward, a prayer service or mass is celebrated (Poust, 2011), which is then followed by burial or cremation. The choice of burial or cremation is often decided per the deceased themselves via their will or per a particular tradition of their church (Pollock, 2008). Christians believe that the afterlife is either spent in heaven or hell; some sects believe in purgatory and/or limbo, as well. The most important thing to remember about the Christian view of death is that it is to be a celebration! It is believed by Christians that death is just the beginning of spending an eternity with Christ in heaven, provided you lived a good life with good intentions. It is this eternal life that He promised to us during His teachings while on the Earth.
Islam, the final of the three original monotheistic religions stemming from the Middle East, follows the teachings of Muhammad. Followers of Islam, called Muslims, believe that the overall purpose of humanity is to serve Allah, or God. Just as with Judaism and Christianity, there are several branches within the Islam faith: Sunni, Shi’I, Sufism, and Nation of Islam (Wilkinson, 2008). Different Muslim sects have the same funeral rituals. After death, the body is ritually washed and wrapped in a linen shroud (Pollock, 2008). Regardless of economic stature, all Muslims are wrapped in the same type of burial clothes: and upper shroud, a lower garment and an overall shroud. Those that are considered martyrs are allowed to be buried in the clothes that they died in without having the body or the clothes washed. As evidence of their state of glory, the blood and dirt are on view” (Pollock, 2008, p. 68). Muslims believe that Allah has predetermined their time of death for them as part of His master plan. Because of this, it is deemed as a show of mistrust in Him to mourn too much or for too long. Under Islamic teachings, on the Day of Judgment Allah will raise the dead and judge them, sending...

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