By John Casey
Some of the most profound, deeply affecting questions we are facing as people is the problem of our mortality--and its connection to immorality. old animist ghost cultures, Egyptian mummification, past due Jewish hopes of resurrection, Christian everlasting salvation, Muslim trust in hell and paradise all spring from a remarkably constant impulse to tether a conquer demise to our behavior in life.In After Lives, British student John Casey offers a wealthy ancient and philosophical exploration of the area past, from the traditional Egyptians to St. Thomas Aquinas, from Martin Luther to fashionable Mormons. In a full of life, wide-ranging dialogue, he examines such themes as predestination, purgatory, Spiritualism, the Rapture, Armageddon and present Muslim apocalyptics, in addition to the impression of such affects because the New testomony, St. Augustine, Dante, and the second one Vatican Council. rules of heaven and hell, Casey argues, remove darkness from how we comprehend the final word nature of sin, justice, punishment, and our conscience itself. The options of everlasting bliss and everlasting punishment express--and test--our principles of excellent and evil. for instance, the traditional Egyptians observed the afterlife as flowing from ma'at, a feeling of being in concord with lifestyles, an idea that incorporates fact, order, justice, and the elemental legislations of the universe. "It is an positive view of life," he writes. "It is an ethic that connects knowledge with ethical goodness." maybe simply as revealing, Casey reveals, are smooth secular interpretations of heaven and hell, as he probes where of goodness, advantage, and happiness within the age of psychology and medical investigation.With based writing, a magisterial snatch of an unlimited literary and spiritual background, and moments of humor and irony, After Lives sheds new mild at the query of lifestyles, demise, and morality in human tradition.
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Additional resources for After Lives: A Guide to Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory
To live off the water and grain that the god brings forth. ”80 The whole of the Egyptian delta was created from the Nile silt. Even the Egyptian account of creation draws on the picture of the Nile waters receding after the inundation. In the same way, the creator-god made land rise out of the aboriginal waters and the world came into being. Clearly all food is the gift of the divine river, and Osiris comes to preside over sowing and the harvest. Therefore all forms of food that grow from the Nile inundation, and by extension the cattle and sheep that graze upon it are divine gifts.
Yet the Egyptians, in the cult of Osiris, and the Greeks and Romans with the mystery religions, came to allow the possibility that there might be personal immortality for many, even all. But the stronger the belief in personal immortality—among the Egyptians, for instance, the Christians, and Muslims—the stronger also became the terror of judgment after death. The Mesopotamian, Greek, and Roman conviction that after death we become shades in a dark underworld may have been pessimistic—but at least it never led to the fear of eternal damnation that weighed so heavily on Jews of the time of Jesus, and on the other two Abrahamic religions.
The sayings of Jesus about everlasting punishment seem to go with his urgent conviction that the spiritual has primacy over all else, and that hardness of heart and all uncharity, the corruption of the innocent, attachment to riches and power, make a life worthless: “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell ﬁre” (Mark 9:47). In developed Christian thought, the doctrine of hell (to a greater extent than that of heaven) becomes a means of evolving a richly detailed moral psychology, which culminates in the Inferno of Dante.