Gabrielle Smullen


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The Afterlife: Judaism and Rastafari





Religion can have a great affect on the way a person lives and experiences their life. Various things in religion can change a person's beliefs, practices and the way they feel to certain things. Some people think that hatred comes from religion. In this case, the dispute is where we go after we die. All religions believe in going somewhere but not exactly the same place. Strong believers in religions look at death as the rights of passage to the afterlife. The afterlife is always looked at in a positive way, unless speaking in terms of going to hell. In this brochure, these two religions explain their different beliefs of their "Afterlife" and what the life after their death has in store for them.

Rastafari
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Rastafari is a predominately black religion who believe that Haile Selassie was their Messiah who will return to earth send all believers to the Promised Land. "It originated in Jamaica and its followers continued to be concentrated there although smaller populations of Rastas can be found in many countries today." (http://altreligion.about.com/od/alternativereligionsaz/a/rastafari.htm) This focuses on their belief on the afterlife.


"In heaven there are few while in hell there are many. But those who are in heaven are the Champions of time who have conquered over sin and slothfulness. The fool slights the things in life and seeketh heaven after death.Verily, Verily I say unto you, he shall not find it. But the spirit of him that establishes a heaven on earth shall dwell in heaven everlasting. Unto him that is empty in love, faith, righteousness and industry there is no heaven."

"Heaven is a splendor. A source of peace and happiness where the spirit of God is visible in its appearance. He that passeth from this heaven is exalted into heaven eternal. Beyond strife and death, where pain and sorrows are unknown."
-The Holy Piby: The Second Book of Athlyi Called Aggregation Chapter 14.

These quotes explain about how Rastas believe in a heaven on earth which they call Zion. Zion is hebrew and comes from what the Jews believe as the world to come. The different is, Rastas believe that their heaven on earth is the country where they reside in, which is Africa. The Messiah, Haile Selassie or Jah will return and grant them everlasting life. Zion is believe to be a positive place where there is no pain and suffering. Those who are already in heaven are said to have overcome the sins and hardships of the world and those who live to see the coming of Haile Selassie know that their heaven on earth of Zion in their homeland of Africa has begun.

"Rastafarians do not believe in an afterlife, but instead look to Africa called Zion, as a heaven on earth. True Rastas are believe to be immortal, not physically and spiritually, a concept called everliving."

This quote comes from a site written on facts about religion. It explains that they dont label life after death cycle as an "Afterlife" because all true Rastas are said to be immortal which is why they believe that the Messiah Haile Selassie will come back.

"Africa in general, is considered the Rastas' heaven on earth. There is no afterlife or hell as Christianity believes."

This quotes comes from a page on Rastafarianism by M. Alan Kazlev. He compares Christianity to Rastafarianism because Christians believe that if you have accepted Jesus into your heart, that you have salvation and when judgement day comes you either go to Heaven or Hell. Rastafaris don't believe in a hell. Everyone who is Rastafari live an eternal life in Zion when you die or if you are still alive when Haile Selassie comes back.





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"Judaism is one of the oldest religions still existing today. The central religious belief of Judaism is that there is only one God. It began as the religion of the small nation of the Hebrews and through thousands of years of suffering, persecution, dispersion, and occasional victory, has continued to be a profoundly influential religion and culture." -(http://www.coursehero.com/flashcards/547377/judaism/) This will focus on their belief of the afterlife.


"And many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awaken-these for eternal life, and those for disgrace, for eternal abhorrence." -The Torah;Daniel Chapter 12:2
Jews believe that in process of the afterlife. The people who are already dead will be waken up from their grave and experience eternal life in heaven. And those who died not believing will be sent to eternal life in hell. And those who live to see the world to come will experience the full process of the afterlife.

"For the most part, the Torah describes the afterlife in vague terms, many of which may simply be figurative ways of speaking about death as it is observed by the living.An early common theme is that death means rejoining one's ancestors. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and other patriarchs are "gathered to their people" after death."
This quote comes from a site on facts about religion. It describes that death is observed by the living, which it is because without us there would be nothing to die and no souls would go anywhere. They think of death as rejoining with the ancestors that once spoke to God and received diret instruction from Him and the ancestors are surrounded by their people after death.
"The creation of man testifies to the eternal life of the soul. The Torah says, "And the Almighty formed the man of dust from the ground, and he blew into his nostrils the soul of life". On this verse, the Zohar stated that one who blows blows from within himself. Indicating that the soul is actually part of God's essence. Since God's essence is completely spiritual and non physical, it is impossible that the soul should die."
This quote comes from a Jewish Rabbi who answers questions about the afterlife for Jews. It explains that when a person dies, his soul becomes alive and depending on the judgement you either go to Heaven or Hell but either way your soul will live eternally whether to prosper or perish.

Jews believe in something called Olam Ha-Ba which means The World To Come and thats what they look forward to. They believe that you should prepare yourself for the world to come, they are taught to believe in the world to come as a home. Its suggested that the dead will come up through the ground and rise up in Jerusalem and the righteous will rise up fully clothed. The believe the eternal destination for the righteous is Gan Eden (Heaven) generally described as the place of joy and peace and they believe that eternal destination for wicked is Gehinnom (Hell) described in the Torah as a dark pit and an actual place where a pagan cult conducted rituals included burning children.


In conclusion, both religions believe in something after death whether it be an afterlife to a heaven above or an eternal life to a heaven on earth. A larger issue with the world in general when it comes to the afterlife in religion is the question of does God exist at all. To some people who dont believe in the same afterlife may contradict what the actual afterlife may be. Another problem is being able to separate fiction from fantasy because some may believe that these lives after deaths arent realistic. The general problem is that everyone has a different faith. The afterlife is a debatable term to mean a "good" place for a person to go after they die and is free from all sin established on earth. In the end, with all religion, God will never go away. It'll always come up in something. We cry out for God when things go wrong but question His existence. These different religions are beginning to interact with each other making it harder to avoid and more interesting to know about.

Sites:

Scheinerman, A.. N.p.. Web. 4 Nov 2013. <http://www.religionfacts.com/judaism/beliefs/afterlife.htm>.

. N.p.. Web. 4 Nov 2013. <http://www.religionfacts.com/a-z-religion-index/rastafarianism.htm>.

Rabbi Aish, . N.p.. Web. 4 Nov 2013. <http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/jewish-afterlife-beliefs/>.

M.Alan Kazlev , . N.p.. Web. 4 Nov 2013. <http://www.kheper.net/topics/religion/Rastafarianism.htm>.