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Baha'i Faith Comparative Research Paper

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Jason Cosio

March 20, 2017

Baha’i Scriptures and Thought

Professor Nader Saiedi

Final Research Paper: Regarding Heaven and Hell

        If we take a look at some of the dominant religions throughout the world today including Judaism, Christianity, Baha’i faith, and Hinduism, we can see that they all describe a common conception: the idea of Heaven and Hell. Although it would be very interesting to include all of the religions of the world while analyzing the many different conceptions of Heaven and Hell, we, unfortunately, only have space to focus our attention on two religions: Christianity and Baha’i faith. The purpose of this essay is to focus on these two religions and examine their ideas, thoughts, and beliefs about Heaven and Hell. By comparing the ideas and beliefs of these two major religions as to what Heaven and Hell is, we can gain insight into the way the members involved within these two religions think about the world, the way they govern themselves, and the way they shape and develop their own lives and society as whole. We will be able to attain these insights by looking at the principles each religion has created based upon their own respective conceptions of Heaven and Hell. However, before we delve into any of the societal implications that these principles may offer, let us describe the conception both religions have in regards to what Heaven and Hell actually is.

        The concept of Heaven and Hell brings with it many debates, arguments, and ideas including what they actually are, what purpose they serve, and if they even exist. Essentially, Heaven and Hell is a concept that humanity has created in an attempt to understand how our actions affect the resulting consequences that occur after them (Heaven and Hell, Bahai). In other words, we as humans have created this concept because we have concerned ourselves with what kind of relationship our direct actions have in not only our lives that we have now, but also in our afterlife. From this standpoint, we can see that from our concern with what will happen to us after we die, we have created Heaven and Hell. Now, within the concepts of Heaven and Hell we have established certain principles in order to have the best possible outcome for our afterlife. These principles we follow act as a kind of moral compass or guide that help to steer us into living and acting in an honorable and morally just way. Now, we follow these principles and try to live a morally just life so that we ensure the best possible outcome for our afterlives. The question that arises, then, is what is the best possible outcome? The answer is simple: Heaven. The natural opposite, the place that we try to stay away from, is Hell. Having established this line of logic, we can see that by being so concerned with what happens to us after we die, we have created the very moral principles that we have learned to follow. By creating the idea of Heaven and Hell, we have designed the very rules, regulations, morals, and laws that govern our lives. Thus, we can see that we have learned to live according to these self-made morals and laws in the hope that our actions and behavior will be seen as qualifying factors that allow us entrance into Heaven. Now that we’ve identified what the general idea is behind the creation of Heaven and Hell, we can now see the different conceptions Christianity and Baha’i faith have.

        On one hand, we have the Christian conception of Heaven and Hell. The Christian version of Heaven and Hell is the most generally accepted view out of all the religions in the world (Gray, Three Questions). According to the Christian view, Heaven is a place of spiritual peace and union with God (Gray, Three Questions ). It is the place where the soul of a person goes to if he or she has been deemed as being a good person while on Earth. It is the place where sadness, pain, and death itself ends once and for all (Gray, Three Questions). Hell, on the other hand, is the place of everlasting torment (Gray, Three Questions). Christians proclaim that Hell is where the soul of a person goes to if he or she has been deemed as being a bad person while on Earth. It is the place where the sins of a person must be cleansed by means of punishment, torture, and suffering. It is the place where bad human souls need to atone for their lifetime of wrongdoings by facing the only just punishment: eternity in a fiery pit of repentance. Now, the way a person’s soul is deemed to be good or bad is on Judgment Day. The Christian concept of Judgement Day is essentially the day in which God casts his final judgment on humanity, separating the good and righteous from the bad and wicked. This is the day every human will find out whether they are going to Heaven or Hell.

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