How a particular belief of an afterlife may affect the way in which followers of this religion may live their lives

Heaven is a plane of existence between the Earth and Hell. It is a religious or spiritual place often described for Christians through the Bible, Art and prayer. ‘As Earth as it is in heaven’ (Lords Prayer). Dante describes it as a ‘paradise’ in ‘The Divine Comedy’. This means that heaven is a place of total happiness, for Christians paradise is eternity with God.

For Christians proof of heaven is not essential. They believe that heaven is a metaphor for peace with yourself and God. The belief of heaven comes from Genesis though for Christians it was affirmed in the ascension. This was immortal, a significant part in the life and death of Jesus. It showed that he died like a human and was resurrected (immortal) beliefs such as these affect the way in which Christians lead their lives.

Christians use all these beliefs and teachings to summize that living unaffected by sin, your soul can reach heaven when you die. This means most Christians live according to the 10 commandments to avoid any notoriety when they are judged. Christians follow these as closely as possible and do good to secure a place in Heaven this belief affects their whole lives as they believe death is a part of life.

Living your life in sin is reversible, if you are a Catholic, you can go to confession. This is a common Catholic tradition, where a member of the congregation can sit in a booth and anonymously confess his sins to his priest. This is where the priest is liable to give advice and hopefully God will be merciful and forgive the sinner.

Other denominations repent their sins during service or through prayer. This clears their conscience and cleanses them of any impurity, rectifying their sins, admitting a sin that God can clearly see may allow your soul to still go to Heaven. Having a conscience as a Christian means that if you commit any sins a part of your soul-your conscience makes you feel guilty until you can bear it no longer and pray to be forgiven.

Confessions of any sin is a regular Christian practice, one of the most important repentances is the one you say before you die (last rites). It is the final pledge to God to forgive you, as you are either about to pass into his state or into hell; it is an age old tradition. A famous example of this last rite repentance would be Queen Mary (of Scotland) whose head is rumored to have carried on reciting the Catholic mass once her head was removed from her neck.

Purgatory is a place that for Roman Catholics and other fundamentalist Christians lies between Heaven and Hell. It is also of no physicality, it is not so much a spiritual place. It is a state of temporary suffering where the soul remains until it is cleansed of all committed sins on Earth. However it was believed by the churches of the middle ages that if you are not baptized you will remain there forever. They believed in a much less forgiving God.

Disobeying the 10 commandments would have been a direct act of condement. In the New Testament Jesus explains that repenting your sins would cleanse you of all such evil. Modern etiquette has obviously changed since the 10 commandments were written, it still affects the way in which they are judged, commandments such as ‘do not commit adultery’ are now considered as moderate sins. A moderate sin may still place you in Purgatory. Jesus died for the sins of all man; this may be interpreted by more liberal Christians as an act clearing them eternally of all sin.

This is why at communion Christians take the ‘body’ and ‘blood’ of Christ (wine and bread); to remind them of the suffering Jesus endured as a human to save their sins. Only committed Christians that have become confirmed are allowed to take communion. Yet now in modern churches the members of the congregation considering confirmation are encouraged to also take it. To introduce the idea of taking communion and being fully clean of any impurities committed.(This is why in modern Christianity Purgatory is only a temporary state). You are spared of Hell and ‘held there’ until you have proved yourself worthy of Heaven. If you have repented but have committed a sin unforgiving of Heaven and uncondeming to hell you temporarily belong in purgatory.

Hell is a place for the condemned, a prison for sinners. Dante describes hell as an ‘inferno’. A unmerciful state of permanent torment and suffering.

The idea of Hell was first described in Genesis. Satan was once an archangel that betrayed God. Angels too can be damned to hell.

‘When angels sinned, God did not let them go free without punishment. He sent them to hell and put them into caves of darkness where they are being held for judgment.’ (2Peter:4)

He was challenged by God and forever Satan has remained an omen of all evil. Jesus resisted temptation many times. A good example of this may be his endurance throughout the desert, in the time we now call Lent. His actions taught Christians not to give into temptation, as it is a moderate sin.

Christians believe people that have committed awful sins such as murderers go to Hell. Their lives are affected by the idea of it, because of this Christians try and live their lives in such a way as to avoid Hell as they believe sinners deserve eternity with evil as a fair punishment.

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