Philosophy Synoptic Paper - Death&Beyond


Jehovah's Witnesses

Life After Death

  • The dead are in an unconscious sleep-like condition.
  • Jesus Christ's death has sacrificial value that provides deliverance from death
  • The majority of those who have died will be resurrected to life on earth, joining those who survive the armageddon. Death will be destroyed at the end of Christ's 1,000 year reign
  • For a smaller group of humans, Christ's death provides opportunity of immortal life in heaven as one of the 144,000 they will serve as co-rulers with Christ.
  • The wicked and unrepentant will be destroyed eternally at Armageddon. Those not resurrected will simply remain dead.
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  • Martyr = Somebody who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, refusing to renounce or refusing to advocate a belief, usually a religious one.
  • In the original meaning it means witness
  • Often believe death is a duty
  • Believe their actions are in the name of God
  • Be rewarded in heaven
  • Example - 9/11 extremists
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Non-Religious Funerals (Humanist)

  • Remembers the life of the person who has died, and reflects on their contribution to the world.
  • Share the sadness and create bond of support
  • Likely to music, readings of poetry and prose, a eulogy, ritual actions like silences of reflection, formal words of goodbye
  • A Humanist officiant is a person familiar with procedures of cremation and burial who understands the experience of bereavement.
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Sky Burials

  • Funeral practice in which a human corpse is placed on a mountain top to decompose while being exposed to the elements.
  • Practiced in Chinese provinces of Tibet etc.
  • The majority of Tibetan people adhere to Vajrayana Buddhism which teaches transmigration of spirits. No need to preserve body as it is now an empty vessel.
  • Function is to dispose of the remains in as generous way as possible
  • Act of generosity as they are providing living things with food (Jhator)
  • Only people who directly know the deceased usually observe it, when the excarnation happens at night.
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  • Storing bodies at extremely low temperatures with the hope of one day reviving them
  • A person preserved this way is said to be in cryonic suspension
  • Must first be pronounced legally dead. According to scientists 'legally dead' is not the same as 'totally dead'. Some cellular brain functions remain and cryonics preserves the little cell function that remains
  • Body is packed in ice and injected with heparin to prevent your bloodl from clotting during the trip.
  • Water is first removed from your cells and replaced with cryoprotectant.
  • Body is stored head down, so if there were ever a leak in the take, your brain would stay immersed.
  • Don't believe in an afterlife? They want to prolong life
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Freud on death

  • Death is 'the great unknown'. and 'the aim of all life'.
  • Since we haven't gone through the experience of death we cannot actually fear it. We are fearing something else like abandonment
  • Sometimes we treat dead people with more consideration than the living
  • We accept the death of strangers and enemies, and sentence them to death 'quite as readily and unhesitatingly' as primitive man did.
  • The conception of life after death was created due to our persisting memory of the dead
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  • Part of the cycle of rebirth. It is important to die well, but also to live every moment as if it was your last. Tibetan Monk = 'Death is a great adventure'.
  • Death is the event in a chain of cause and effect
  • Need to accept and learn from the inevitable results of karma
  • Usual for a Monk to recite appropriate scriptures to the person dying. It is important for the dying person to know that the state of mind in which they die will influecne their rebirth.
  • The ceremony dwells on the qualities of the dead person.
  • Usual way of dispensing the body is by cremation
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