Lesson 11 ~ Comparative Religion ~ Suffering and Death ~ Essay
By: Rev. Trent Murman
What are your beliefs about "sin"? How do your beliefs connect to or differ from those of your religious background? I suppose most of us believe what was taught to us during our formative years about "sin". I believe "sin" did start with the original sinning by Adam and Eve when Adam was tempted by Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. From this sin I believe was born the penance of suffering in order to atone for the sin/any sin. Which sin can, in my opinion, be one on one or a mass punishment such as the Bible depicts in many instances where individuals or the multitudes. When I evaluate my personal beliefs regarding "sin" vs. what the church teaches, they are consistently parallel to each other. However, I do not discount others view regarding this topic nor do I attempt to pursued them to my view.
What do you believe happens when a person dies? Why? Again, this is a very personal matter to most people. My personal beliefs are that when we die many things happen, once the physical vessel ceases to function I believe it is necessary for the soul to be allowed to leave the body as soon as possible. It is then necessary to open a door to the room or open a window to allow a smooth transition from this place world to the heavens. There are some that believe once the physical vessel ceases to function that is it, there is no further activity for the soul to perform. Which brings up the topic of "Life after Death". This is not to say there is no "life after death" or there is. Again this is a personal thing between the person and his/her belief system, which has a great impact on the way they were brought up.
Do you feel any of the belief systems discussed satisfactorily answer the basic questions of:
"Why do bad things happen?
What can I do to mitigate circumstances so that I don't suffer?
What happens after death?"
I personally do not feel they satisfactorily answer these few but very important questions. Because, they appear to me to be very personal to each individual and not necessarily the masses. I feel "bad" things may happen to remind us there is a higher power and we need to continue to put our trust in that higher power. I feel the "suffering" comes when we fail to "keep our faith" in check. I feel we need to continue to believe in our higher powers, whatever they may be and this may diminish the feeling of suffering. However, we must remember suffering can be penance for "sins" and we must/should atone for them prior to our deaths by absolution and/or confession. As for the original question: There appear to be, in my opinion, parts that cover different aspects of "why do bad things happen" in each of the belief systems, however not entirely. I believe death is rather simple in terms of what happens: when the physical vessel terminates to function the soul or conscious being departs and goes into limbo, then when it is acceptable to the higher powers of the person the soul proceeds to the heavens or where ever the soul is said to rest permanently according to their teachings. In the case of a violent death the soul remains in limbo until the higher power accepts it and can "rest in peace". There are some in my own family that believe there is nothing after death, when the body ceases to function that is it. I guess we all have our own perception of sin, atonement and death. GO IN PEACE