Death in Christianity and Islam

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  • Death in Christianity
    • Beliefs about life after death:
      • Belief in the after life:
        • 1. helps people make sense of life when life seems unfair or in times of suffering.
      • Christian teachings
        • Christians believe there is an afterlife as their unique soul lives on and is raised to new life by God.
          • Their belief of Jesus being rising from the dead gives Christians hope that if they follow Jesus' teachings then they will be resurrected.
      • Heaven
        • Even though heaven is often mentioned in the bible, it is rarely described.
          • Some believe heaven is physical place where their body goes after death others think that it is their soul that lives on and heaven is a state of being united with God
      • Hell
        • The bible is less specific about hell.
          • Some Christians believe hell is a place of suffering and of separation from God others believe that hell is a spiritual state of being separated from God for eternity
      • Purgatory
        • This is a place where the majority of people wait for heaven - a time of cleansing of sin and prepaing for heaven
    • Funeral rites
      • Funeral rites are important as they show respect for the dead and also gives relatives and friends time to mourn
        • In some religions ceremonies are needed at funerals to ensure they go into the afterlife.
      • Christian Funeral Rites
        • Christian funerals are different depending on the denomination people belong to.
        • When a person dies their body is placed in a coffin. Sometimes the coffin is left open to let relatives to say their final goodbyes.
          • The coffin is then usually taken to a church or chapel. Here the priest will read from the bible.
            • The priest will also say a few words about the person which are designed to comfort the mourners and then say prayers, hoping that the person will now be in heaven.
              • In a roman catholic church there will be a special eucharist called a requiem mass where prayers are said for the deceased's soul.
                • Next the coffin is taken to either burial or cremation.
        • Burial or Cremation?
          • In the past people did not approve of cremation because they felt that it would mean that the person could not be resurrected on the day of judgement.
          • At a crematorium, more prayers are said and the coffin is then taken away to be cremated.
            • Later the ashes are returned to relatives to be buried or scattered.
          • At a burial the body is lowered into a hole in a cemetery and then covered with earth.
            • Later,  a gravestone may be placed there giving some details of the person's life.
          • At both services the priests or minister will say, "we commit this body to the ground, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust" In this way people are reminded that we are all human and made by god.
        • Other Traditions
          • People often send flowers to a funeral to represent the beauty of the world which the dead person is about to enter
          • Candles are also lit to remind people that jesus was the light of the world and that because of Jesus, Christians can be saved from their sins and go to heaven.


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