There is the existence of boy geniuses, A child plays on the piano, A child delivers lectures, A boy solves great mathematical problems.
Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Joanne was a mother of four, grandmother of nine and great-grandmother of seven.
She was a woman of effortless charm, inexhaustible care and stupefying selflessness.
She was unresponsive, and it appeared as if she could pass at any moment. After packing a bag, we rushed hurriedly on the long road between Washington, DC and western Massachusetts, desperately trying to make it there before she was gone.
As we drove, my mother-in-law took the red eye from California in order to try to be there one more time before her mother passed. Along the road somewhere, deep into the night, I began to reflect on why it was so important for us to be there. Why were we making such an effort to see someone who would neither know we were there, nor have any chance of speaking to us?
Was there any logic to it? As a professor of Religious Studies, I sometimes teach a class on religious dimensions of death and dying. All teachers know that teaching often turns you into a student in ways you never expect. One of the materials I often assign my students is a Ted Talk by Kelli Swazey on the burial practices of the people of Tana Toraja in the southern province of Sulawesi, Indonesia.
The people of Tana Toraja often wait months, and even years, to bury their relatives. As Swazey Life after death religious studies, they recognize that death is both a biological and a social process, one in which the survivors must transform their relationship with the deceased from living to dead, or from the present to the past tense.
In the months between biological death and the burial rites, family members interact with the deceased in ways Americans might think unimaginable -- placing their skeletal remains in the house, bringing the deceased tea and food each day, and including them in family activities.
The idea is to slowly endure the process of transforming their relationship to the deceased. After the elaborate and expensive burial ritual, an effigy of the deceased is placed in the villag,e where their image symbolically speaks to the living from beyond the grave.
We must re-create our world in a way that we can relate to them in the past, rather than in the present tense. We must dissociate them from their body in order to enable them to live apart from it.
Whereas the corpse is buried or cremated, given over to the earth from which it came, our image of the deceased lives on in the imagination. Swazey is insightful when she says that the biological cessation of life is not equivalent to death.
Our stories, memories, photos, and remnants of deceased loved ones help us to re-create a world where they speak to us from the past in order to help make our presents and our futures vibrant, meaningful, and full of love.
Deep into the night and early morning, we sat with her as she lay motionless. As we sat next to Joanne, still with us, if only barely, we drank coffee, shared photos and told tale upon tale of her life, and her life with us. Amidst the winding re-creation of her life, her only son looked up to see that her breathing had slowed.
We all fell silent.
|Evangelical idea||As we have shown, however, skeptics are so convinced of their intellectual superiority that they are incapable of examining evidence objectively that contradicts their strongly-held viewpoints.|
|General view||There were scientists, medical doctors, scholars from many academic disciplines, theologians and clerics from diverse faiths, and many good women and men who had experienced some sort of encounter with the spirit world and sought to make sense of it all. As impressive as this gathering was, what had a greater impact on me was that most of these people were generally unfamiliar with Latter-day Saint beliefs about the afterlife.|
|Understanding the Afterlife Brings Consolation||General view We all have within us that vague and general idea of the religious life which enables us to recognize it when it is described as a life directed to personal perfection, or a life seeking union with God.|
In the coming seconds we experienced her transition from life to death together. The silence and tears returned at the realization that the transition period was over. Her body, a second ago clinging to life, was now lifeless. But that experience of saying goodbye to her in this life -- on this side of death -- together with the people that she, and we, love the most, the experience of helping her transition from life to death by telling stories of her childhood, of her motherhood, her friendship and her love -- that experience of experiencing her passing together -- was more meaningful than any of us could ever express.
That was the reason for making such an effort to see someone and speak to someone who could not speak or see us.
We all transitioned in that moment from a world where Joanne spoke to us in her body -- speaking to us through her quiet breath even in her silent last moments -- to one where we speak for her in order to enable her to speak to us. As she moved onto the afterlife, so did we.
In the days that followed, we sat together looking through more old photos, telling more stories and breaking bread. The wandering hours together allowed us to begin the excruciating process of lending Joanne a voice by repeating the lessons she taught us, appropriating her favorite sayings, promising each other to carry on her legacy of love, friendship and selflessness.
Above all, we vowed to help each other keep her alive by promising to be vessels through which she continues to speak, enliven, reprove, bless and enlighten. As we drove home, I reflected on how this process of transition and re-creation is often tragically fast in twenty-first century America.
Rather than taking months or years, most of us have to haggle with our bosses just to take a few hours off in order to attend a funeral or a wake. After a day or two of mourning, we are rushed back to work, to the concerns of normal life, and to a world indifferent to the death of someone we loved immeasurably.
So, what are they worth?READ A SUMMARY OF THE BOOK about life after death Download a 2 page summary of the book in Rich Text Format (*.rtf) in the following languages. This page is about life after death, journey through the spirit world or astral plane, the mental plane, and the soul plane, reincarnation, and how religious beliefs affect people in the spirit world.
The Great Unmentionable (Note: It is still often thought today that any form of belief in an afterlife is "unscientific."To disarm any criticisms on that score, readers are referred to the Appendix in which the question is briefly treated.).
It is sometimes said that Death today has replaced Sex as "The Great Unmentionable," and certainly it is, for most people, an uncomfortable subject which.
A-Level (AS and A2) Religious Studies revision section looking at life after death. Topics include Distinctions between Body and Soul, Differing views on Life and Death, Nature of Disembodied Existence, Afterlife and the Problem of Evil and the strengths and Weaknesses of the relevant theories.
Overview and evangelical ideas on what makes up religious life. A Time-line for the History of Mathematics (Many of the early dates are approximates) This work is under constant revision, so come back later. Please report any errors to me at [email protected]