How Religions/Belief of Afterlife Affect People

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How Religions/Belief of Afterlife Affect People

The religious belief of after life is common belief in all religion worldwide. Christian in their holy doctrines that is the bible are convinced that after life on earth there is heaven and hell. Depending on how people live on earth determines whether people end to heaven or hell. The Hindus, Muslims and other world religion have their divergent view on life after death. These religious beliefs have ranged effects on people’s daily lives.

Recalling the incident on March 1, 2014, several Muslim terrorists from Xinjiang Province attacked the Kunming railway station, causing at least twenty-eight civilian deaths and more than a hundred injuries. The religious belief of after is life is common belief in each religion of the world despite of the political messages. For Muslims religious believers; their worldview of death is different when comparing with non-religious believers? To address this question more specifically, the question turns to focus on how religions would help people develop a worldview of death. This research will discover the ways that religions belief of afterlife affects people, such as funerary ceremonies, or beliefs, which lead a way for people to consider death. In order to have a deeper research on this inquiry question, I conducted an interview with Professor Ibrahim to discuss related issues in Islam. Professor Ibrahim, who is from the Department of Religious Studies, has research interests mainly focusing on Islam in the modern world. One of his research projects is how people would become socialized into Muslims with divergent interpretations of their religion, which can be related to some points of the question. In addition, combining with my brief observance on a Tibetan Buddhist funeral ceremony, the answer will be conducted by the experiential basis as well. These specific examples of two different religions will be used as examples to help explain exactly how religions affect people on the issue of death.

According to Professor Ibrahim, Muslims believe that the present life is a trial preparing for the next realm of existence by reading Quran. After they die, their lives end and there will not be another chance of life, unlike the Buddhism. The burial, Muslims consider, is the last service they can do for the deaths and a reminder for them to remember that their own lives here on earth will be completed one day as well. The Islamic funeral, described by Professor Ibrahim, follows the instruction of Sharia (Islamic religious law). The Islamic funeral contains a simple ritual, including bathing the body and have the body wrapped in a simple white cloth, following by the process of prayer. After these steps, the body with white clothes will be buried in a grave under the ground. The white cloth represents that the shrouding should be modest and simple and the prayer is provided for the forgiveness of the dead. Since every Muslim will be treated in the same way after they die, they strongly believe the uniqueness of the individual, similar with Christian and Buddhist. Muslims believe that everyone takes his/her own responsibility to live a good life, so they can head to the heaven after death. However, everyone has his/her own consideration about the definition of a good thing. A Muslim believes keeping doing good things can create an opportunity to achieve a better result of life so he will keep doing all his life. The terrorists were taught to carry a racial burden to save their religions in a political context. As Ehrenreich says, “more traditionally minded… may see little point to survival if the survivors carry no cultural freight – religion, for example, ethnic tradition” (par. 12), she explained herself with none religious or ethnic identity so she owned tolerance (Ehrenreich par. 14). Conversely, on some aspects, these terrorists carried too much “religious baggage” so they used violence to reach their common goal of integrity. Through this example, the worldview of death here can be affected by religious beliefs or religious ceremonies directly. However, these religious beliefs of death can be different to every single person. People would have their own understandings about the contents on the Quran, as well as the Christians toward the Bible. As a result, it can be concluded that religions can offer a basic direction for believers to view death through the funerary practices. Besides, at the following, my personal experience provides another way for religions help develop a worldview of death – through actual funeral ceremonies of Tibetan Buddhism.

Last summer, I travelled to Tibet with my friends. Tibet is a place where most of the local people believe in Tibetan Buddhism. Unlike Islam, which says the end of one’s life at the end of everything, Buddhist believes in the existence of Karma, which is associated with the idea of rebirth. It is believed that all life forms go through a cycle of a series births and rebirths. Tibetan Buddhists believe that after death, the soul of the person will still be in the process of rebirth, or the Karma to live as another life but with a different body. The dead body is like useless clothes and should be abandoned. Thus, there is a local funerary practice in Tibetan Buddhism called sky burial. T.............


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