By John Casey
Essentially the most profound, deeply affecting questions we are facing as people is the problem of our mortality--and its connection to immorality. historic animist ghost cultures, Egyptian mummification, overdue Jewish hopes of resurrection, Christian everlasting salvation, Muslim trust in hell and paradise all spring from a remarkably constant impulse to tether a conquer dying to our behavior in life.In After Lives, British pupil John Casey presents a wealthy ancient and philosophical exploration of the area past, from the traditional Egyptians to St. Thomas Aquinas, from Martin Luther to trendy Mormons. In a full of life, wide-ranging dialogue, he examines such subject matters as predestination, purgatory, Spiritualism, the Rapture, Armageddon and present Muslim apocalyptics, in addition to the impression of such impacts 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 last word nature of sin, justice, punishment, and our sense of right and wrong itself. The suggestions of everlasting bliss and everlasting punishment express--and test--our principles of fine and evil. for instance, the traditional Egyptians observed the afterlife as flowing from ma'at, a feeling of being in concord with existence, an idea that comes with fact, order, justice, and the basic 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 glossy 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 grab of an enormous literary and spiritual heritage, and moments of humor and irony, After Lives sheds new gentle at the query of existence, dying, and morality in human tradition.
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Additional info for After Lives: A Guide to Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory
Yet surely the very fact that an authoritative, powerfully magical religion offers to assist the soul on its journey and to guarantee success if all the rules are followed, suggests real terrors and dangers that are overcome. Even if the soul “ritually always claims innocence, and never offers to repent its past sins,”27 the very claim of innocence shows that, as well as the arcane knowledge expected to be displayed by the departed, there is an irreducible element in which the person’s conscience is weighed against truth (ma’at).
The appeasing of ghosts (on this account) mutates into worship of the gods. This reinforces the sense of difﬁculty we should have in trying to ﬁnd general formulae about beliefs in an afterlife. For here we ﬁnd the possibility that immortality can begin as something for others, and that it can be based not in hope but in fear, and fear not of one’s own death but of the dead; not in a desire for justice, or dread of it, but in dread of the terrifyingly capricious things the dead are deemed capable of inﬂicting upon the living.
In showing these virtues, he also showed humility toward the gods (Moral Values, 48–49). Tomb inscriptions abound where the dead person claims the virtues that ﬂow from ma’at. ”12 The tomb belonged to one Herkhuf, and he writes of himself both egotistically but also according to the universal code of moral behavior that is ma’at: I dug a lake, and I planted trees. The King praised me. My father made a will for me, for I was excellent—a man beloved of his father, praised of his mother, whom all his brothers loved.