The Afterlife — страница 3

  • Просмотров 232
  • Скачиваний 4
  • Размер файла 18
    Кб

mythology, gives an account of judgment in an Homeric verse. ?No divinity shall cast lots for you, but you shall choose your own destiny. There were lives of illustrious men?in the same way as there were lives of unknown men. But the disposition of the soul was not included. Because most were dazzled by riches?(they) were not able to observe what other things were involved in the fate they had chosen, and they were led to all kind of iniquities.? (Homer:1990:125) This is giving an overview of the Greek belief in how the soul is judged. According to Homer, the Gods did not pass judgment on the soul after death, but rather the person chooses their fate in life and this fate is determined by the judges after death. This is similar to the Christian view of judgment in that it states

that judgment depends upon the virtue of the soul rather then the wrath of God. However, this is one area in which Christianity is more specific than Ancient Greek religion. The principles upon which Christians believe the soul is judged, despite being highly debatable, are defined somewhat in the Bible. The principles that the Ancient Greeks believed they were judged upon vary wildly depending upon the source. Different ideals and morals were identified in several different texts, such as Homer?s verses, and these are often very unreliable and put down to fiction. What the Ancient Greeks actually believed in regards to how the soul was judged cannot be determined specifically, besides the basic principle of ?good? and ?evil?. The actual afterlife is portrayed as somewhat of a

journey in both Christian and Ancient Greek religions. In Ancient Greek religion, the journey was specifically described in mythology. The soul must cross the river Styx, one of the five rivers of The Underworld. Souls are taken across the river by Charon, The Boatman, who demands a gold coin for this service. When a person in ancient Greece died, they were buried with a coin in their mouth. If they were not, the Greeks believed that they would not be able to pay the fare and would be destined to wander the deserted shore of the river Styx for eternity. After crossing the river, the soul is handed over to a tribunal to be judged. The tribunal consists of Hades, God of the Underworld, and The Three Judges, Rhadamanthus, Minos and Aeacus. The tribunal examines the soul and assigns

it to the type of afterlife it deserves. If the soul was neither extraordinarily virtuous nor evil, it remains in a neutral region of The Underworld reserved for people who deserve neither reward nor punishment. Here the Greeks believed the soul wandered joylessly and aimlessly. There is a chance of redemption for these souls, however. By bathing in the Acherusian Lake they can be redeemed according to the virtue of their former existence. If the dead person had committed a great crime, their soul will be cast into Tartarus, a place where the soul is tortured. Once again, a soul can be redeemed if the crime was not extremely terrible. By spending a year in Tartarus, the soul redeems itself. It must then bathe in the Acherusian Lake to seek forgiveness before it will be allowed to

leave Tartarus. If the soul is among the few who have led pure lives, it is taken to the Elysian Fields, which is described as bliss, harmony and a place of eternal happiness. This description of The Underworld, and the journey that the soul must undergo at a glance appears like a fictional story, however, the myth is extremely complex in its full form and the story describing the journey is highly metaphorical. The concepts explored in the Ancient Greeks belief of what happens after death are therefore relatively similar to those explored in the modern Christian belief of the afterlife. There is no specific journey that is described, or a specific process that is undertaken in order for a person to enter eternal life in the Christian religion. However, the order of events, even

though they aren?t put in the medium of time, are similar. In ancient Greek religion the soul is judged and its fate determined. In Christianity, the soul is also judged and its fate determined. The soul is judged by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and those who have led there lives according the word of God, the Bible, enter Heaven, which is the Kingdom of God, and is comparable to the Elysium Fields in ancient Greek religion in the fact that it is the destination of those who have led virtuous lives and is a place of bliss and harmony. Those who have sinned against God are believed to be sent to purgatory, or Hell, dependent upon the denomination of the Christian. Catholics believe that all people, excepting saints, enter purgatory to be punished for their sins before entering