Discuss the Purpose(S) of Belief in Life After Death. Must We Rely on Faith Alone?

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There can be different purposes in order to believe that life after death exists. According to religious belief there are several ways in which people believe how their life after death will be. For an instance in Buddhist philosophy, the way one act in their present life will determine their life after death. It maybe in heaven or hell, it also can be reincarnation where a person will be born again in a good place as a human or in a bad place as a human or an animal. “Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely. “Lord Buddha.

Hinduism too believes in life after death more prominently, Hinduism believes in the rebirth and reincarnations of souls which clearly direct the Hindus to have faith and rely on faith to believe the life after death exist. The purpose of belief in life after death can be taken as religious as well as the personal experience. Either way there should be faith in order to believe such a thing since many people can argue that these are imagined by people who are under blind faith or people who suffers from psychological break down after a shock.

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This is why there are various studies about this phenomenon using near death experience (NDE), After Death communication (ADC), to prove that there is a life after death. According to Andrew M. Greeley and Michael Hout religion plays a major role in ones belief “Christians are more likely to believe in life after death than non Christians” (1999, p. 815) However they also point out that according to research, non Christians and atheists, too, believe that there is a life after death compared to past, and this is increasing: “Belief in life after death was higher in 1998 than previous years” (p. 15). Religion plays a major role when it comes to these beliefs. Many people tend to live a good life in order to be in a better place after death. In addition to this Buddhist always believe that there is reincarnation, and one must understand all four truths of the world in order to attain nirvana, which is the freedom from being born again and freedom from all sorrows. Not only certain religions but there are many other different reasons why people start believing in this phenomenon, such as near death experience (NDE).

Life after death is a mystery that no one could solve as no one returns to us from the death. However, there are a number of individuals who have experienced a near death situation and came back to relate their experiences (Dell’Olio, 2010). These include people such as A. J. Ayer who once believed that there will be no life after death. He was convinced other vice by his NDE and he stated that it “weakened my conviction that my genuine death, which is due fairly soon, will be the end of me” (p. 115).

After a near death experience, 100% of individuals who had previously had no belief in an afterlife start believing that it exist (Sutherland, 1989). It also reflects that these experiences are pleasant, because subjects who were scared of death are no longer scared due to these experiences that they encountered (pp. 99-100). Religious belief or faith is not the only purpose for believing, but experiences such as these are a major part when it comes to the purpose of belief. However this phenomenon is not always accepted as veridical.

There can be arguments such as NDE is a psychological condition which is not real. “NDEs are dreams or hallucinations caused by some psychological condition affecting the brain. ” (2009, p. 118) People can argue in many ways in order to prove that life after death is a hallucination, which is constructed by different subjective minds of different religious and cultural believers. Yet Dell’ Olio presents several counter arguments to support these ideas such as “NDEs are more orderly and vivid than dreams…” (p. 18) in addition to this the fact that there are subjects who had no prior belief in religion who have religious NDEs (2009, p. 119) is another proof that NDE is real, which turns it to be a reliable purpose to believe that life after death exists. In addition to NDE, there is another method which provides ample examples in order to show that life after death is not just a myth or a belief. That is the After Death Communication (ADC) which can be defined as a spontaneous experience of communication with a deceased friend or family member. (Long, 1999).

There are many who have lost their family members and have experienced ADCs. It is common all over the world among many religious and cultural backgrounds. ADC is one of the main reasons why people believe in life after death. ADC is generally a joyous, positive experience where a deceased would appear and covey a message to the mourning relatives or friends. “Alisa A ADC 5/1/12  The response came back, you wouldn’t cry for me if you knew where I was. I looked around and then I saw it. There was a ball of light floating just above the door.

It was brighter than any light I had ever seen, it was not too large, it seemed more like a ball of energy that gave off light, maybe. The light was intensely bright but did not hurt my eyes it was shimmering in a way I have never seen, vaporous? Then the voice said, here I am going to let you see where I am and then you won’t be sad for me. As soon as I heard/felt those words, the ball of light formed into a doorway shape with beams shooting out of the side of it and it opened ever so slightly. As it opened and I looked at it, I was flooded with, with EVERYTHING!

The answer to every question I ever had was right there, I felt no doubt anymore only certainty, there was no pain, or fear or sadness, an enormous sense of relief and peace and love came over me it was the best feeling I have ever had and was so full and then WHAM the door shut and turned back into a ball and the voice said, Now do you understand why you shouldn’t be sad for me? In just a moment I had known, I had glimpsed what I knew had to be heaven. Absolutely exceptional ADC/shared death experience. Remarkable glimpse of the afterlife.

Information learned during experience verified later. ” (Long, 1999)” There can be however arguments that they are just dreams or hallucinations encountered by the shocked loved ones, yet the use of induced after death communication by Botkins and the success of this is a clear example that it is not just a hallucination or imagination of people who actually experience ADC. Botkins accidently invented that ADC is useful when it comes to treating patients with post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) and so far he has treated over 3000 patients.

For instance he treated a Vietnam vet who was traumatized by death of a child who had grown very close to him during war, and after IADC he has related his experience stating that the girl who is dead appeared and forgave him for not saving her and this lessened his mental trauma (healing after the war). These experiences are evidence to show that the life after death exists. (Long, 1999) Consequently there are different believes and different purposes when it comes to life after death and it is clearly evident that phenomena such as NDE, and ADC could be considered as valid purposes of belief in life after death.

Relying on faith alone can be not as successful as it looks like since the world itself is filled with different ideas and beliefs of certain religions and philosophy. Faith however is important when it comes to believing certain Para psychological beliefs and faith alone could create many differences in ones’ comprehension about these. In order to fulfil certain religious expectations people do various kinds of things live in various kinds of ways which of course has no negative impact on each other since everyone practice these to gain s peaceful life after death.

Yet religion itself cannot erase the doubts which come up on peoples mind and this is why Personal experience is a perfect way to believe in life after death since a person could see or else a person could communicate with the deceased and see that actually there is a life awaiting after the death. However it is only fair to conclude that there can be different purposes depending on different people on their beliefs and experiences about life after death and it is in no one’s hand to decide if it should be relied only upon faith.

REFERENCES Beischel, J. & Schwartz, G. (2007) Anomalous Information Reception by Research Mediums Demonstrated Using a Novel Triple-Blind Protocol. EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing, 3(1), 23–27. doi: 10. 1016/j. bbr. 2011. 03. 031 Dell’Olio, A. j. (2009). Do Near-Death Experiences Provide a Rational Basis for Belief in Life after Death? 113-128. Greeley, A. M. , & Hout, M. (1999). Americans’ Increasing Belief in Life after Death: Religious Competition and Acculturation.

American Sociological Review , 813-835 . Greyson, B. & Liester, M (2004) Auditory Hallucinations Following Near-Death Experiences. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 44 (3), 320–336 Auditory Hallucinations Following Near-Death Experiences. doi:10. 1177/0022167804266281 Long, J. A. (1999). After Death Communication Research Foundation. Retrieved 05 25, 2012, from www. adcrf. org: http://www. adcrf. org/ Sutherland, C. (1989). Psychic Phenomena Following Near-Death Experiences:An Australian Study. Journal of Near-Death Studies , 93-102.

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Discuss the Purpose(S) of Belief in Life After Death. Must We Rely on Faith Alone?. (2016, Nov 08). Retrieved from


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