Early in 1974, a small group of religious friends began gathering periodically at the modest home of Thomas and Olive Ashman in Christchurch, New Zealand. "We would reverently pray for protection, and be silent," says the Rev. Michael Cocks, an Anglican priest from Christchurch. "Tom would sit upright in a chair, relaxed. After two or three minutes he would begin to pale and to breathe deeply. Then his body would give a slight jerk as Stephen seemed to take over." In effect, Tom Ashman was a trance medium and was entering an altered state of consciousness as his body was being "taken over" by the entity called Stephen, who would then speak to the group using Ashman's vocal cords. Stephen would dialogue with the group, which, in addition to Cocks and Ashman's wife, Olive, also included a Liberal Catholic priest, a Buddhist, and other curious observers. But this was not just any Stephen; it was Saint Stephen, the first Christian Martyr. Cocks states that normally Stephen spoke through Ashman in a "rather curious English," but that he twice spoke in an ancient Greek dialect, which apparently was for the purposes of confirming his identity. "For myself, I do not speak [English] and I never have," Stephen related in one of the sittings. "I activate these words that are in Thomas's memory and are known to him. Occasionally there is a little 'magic, ' when I join together sounds and symbols that are in Thomas's mind so that words may be spoken that are not known to Thomas." After one of the early sittings in which Stephen spoke in Greek, Cocks consulted a lecturer in Greek at a University about Stephen's Greek words. "She reported my request to the then bishop, who called me for a chat," Cocks recalls. "To him, I denied being interested in spiritualism, as was definitely the case in those days." In one philosophical discussion during 1973, Stephen offered an analogy in explaining why humans do not fully comprehend the physical life. He likened God to a surgeon. ..".think how a surgeon would act if, when he had to operate, he had to keep the patient conscious, adjust mirrors so the patient could see the operation that would be beyond his understanding in any case. Should he perhaps have each patient undertake advanced studies before an operation? Or would it perhaps not be better only to operate on a surgeon?" Stephen went on to say that the complexity is such that the patient must trust his surgeon.
A magisterial work of social history, Life After Death illuminates the many different ways ancient civilizations grappled with the question of what exactly happens to us after we die. In a masterful exploration of how Western civilizations have defined the afterlife, Alan F. Segal weaves together biblical and literary scholarship, sociology, history, and philosophy. A renowned scholar, Segal examines the maps of the afterlife found in Western religious texts and reveals not only what various cultures believed but how their notions reflected their societies’ realities and ideals, and why those beliefs changed over time. He maintains that the afterlife is the mirror in which a society arranges its concept of the self. The composition process for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam begins in grief and ends in the victory of the self over death. Arguing that in every religious tradition the afterlife represents the ultimate reward for the good, Segal combines historical and anthropological data with insights gleaned from religious and philosophical writings to explain the following mysteries: why the Egyptians insisted on an afterlife in heaven, while the body was embalmed in a tomb on earth; why the Babylonians viewed the dead as living in underground prisons; why the Hebrews remained silent about life after death during the period of the First Temple, yet embraced it in the Second Temple period (534 B.C.E. –70 C.E.); and why Christianity placed the afterlife in the center of its belief system. He discusses the inner dialogues and arguments within Judaism and Christianity, showing the underlying dynamic behind them, as well as the ideas that mark the differences between the two religions. In a thoughtful examination of the influence of biblical views of heaven and martyrdom on Islamic beliefs, he offers a fascinating perspective on the current troubling rise of Islamic fundamentalism. In tracing the organic, historical relationships between sacred texts and communities of belief and comparing the visions of life after death that have emerged throughout history, Segal sheds a bright, revealing light on the intimate connections between notions of the afterlife, the societies that produced them, and the individual’s search for the ultimate meaning of life on earth.
The Death and Afterlife of the North American Martyrs
In the 1640s, eight Jesuit missionaries met their deaths at the hands of native antagonists. With their collective canonization in 1930, these men became North America's first saints. Emma Anderson untangles the complexities of these seminal acts of violence and their ever-changing legacy across the centuries. While exploring how Jesuit missionaries perceived their terrifying final hours, she also seeks to comprehend the motivations of those who confronted them from the other side of the axe, musket, or caldron of boiling water, and to illuminate the experiences of those native Catholics who, though they died alongside their missionary mentors, have yet to receive comparable recognition as martyrs. In tracing the creation and evolution of the cult of the martyrs across the centuries, Anderson reveals the ways in which both believers and detractors have honored andpreserved the memory of the martyrs in this "afterlife," and how their powerful story has been continually reinterpreted in the collective imagination. As rival shrines rose on either side of the U.S.-Canadian border, these figures would both unite and deeply divide natives and non-natives, francophones and anglophones, Protestants and Catholics, Canadians and Americans, forging a legacy as controversial as it has been enduring.
The Afterlife Imagery in Luke s Story of the Rich Man and Lazarus
This book studies in detail the afterlife scene in the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16: 19-31). The description of the afterlife is related, on the one hand, to the overall Hellenistic cultural milieu and, on the other hand, to Luke's eschatological views.
Death and The Afterlife - The Bible Speaks This book helps one discover the truth about Death and the Afterlife from the most reliable source on the planet - The Holy Bible. Get valuable insight and obtain lasting Peace and Comfort about your future. It's simple and easy to understand, yet very profound. Every point is back by Scripture chapter and verse. After reading this book, I believe you will never see death and dying quite the same. This is a great book for either Individual or Group study.
Perhaps no other religious topic has engaged the human mind and heart so completely as the fate of the soul after death. In this spiritual and ultimately humane investigation, Fr. Seraphim Rose presents the principal beliefs of the early church fathers and then reaches beyond the Christian tradition to examine ideas drawn from The Tibetan Book of the Dead, the writings of Emmanuel Swedenborg, the "astral plane" of Theosophy, the out-of-body experiences of Robert Monroe, and the spiritual encounters of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. This is a comprehensive treatment of a subject that touches every human heart.
Teachers Notes on S Paul and the First Christian Missionaries
Author: Episcopal Church. Diocese of New York. Sunday School Commission
Death and the Afterlife completes the Pilgrim Library of World Religions series. Here, four fundamental questions are posed to five religious traditions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam): Why does one die? How should one die? What happens after death? How do resurrection and reincarnation fit with this tradition? The answers, from acknowledged experts in these religions, not only give insight into the beliefs and traditions of these faiths but also help readers to pick out the similarities and differences among them. While written for college-level introductory religious studies courses, this volume is also well suited to anyone interested in religion.