Immoral Souls

 

June 24, 1991

 

 

INTRODUCTION

           

            I truly believe that in the afterlife we do go to either heaven or hell.  Being  a dualist,  I believe that our soul and body are intertwined, but I also believe that our soul lives on forever after our bodies die.  The following fifteen references should inform you with a variety of viewpoints on the afterlife issue.  Although there are a handful of references that pertain to sin or evil.

            I feel that all the books I chose gave sufficient evidence to my thesis.  I first discuss afterlife in order to go into the next topic whether heaven and hell exist in that afterlife.   Then I went into more details of what it was like in the afterlife, and whether sin is an important factor of this issue.

            The afterlife issue I feel is very important in our life now.  We can feel at ease that our lives don’t just come to an end and we don’t have to be afraid of death.  Being a controversial issue in our society, heaven and hell existing may sound unbelievable.  But, there are numerous cases of those who have experienced the other side, and most of these studies turned out with the sane or similar story.  Wouldn’t it be so amazing to live in a state where the only thing that exists is perfect harmony, happiness, and love?

 

 

IS THERE AN AFTERLIFE?

Rawlings, M. (1979). Beyond death door.  Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson Inc. B1902.R35

           

            I found this book using the Computer Catalog in the Kalihi-Palama Library. The subject I chose is afterlife. Although this subject is very broad, I tried to choose specific areas involving afterlife to have a thorough report. I found this article by searching under the subject of “afterlife.”

            In this book, Rawlings provides a collection of experienced individuals who have survived clinical death and returned to life. The two interesting topics he covered in this book is in Chapter 6: Ascending to Heaven and Chapter 7: Descending to Hell. Whether or not Rawlings’ patients died from suicide, cardiac arrest, or a coma, they all said that they experienced an afterlife. The patients who experienced heaven had remembered floating or soaring through a dark tunnel into a beautiful light. This light was filled with warmth and the city of heaven made them feel at peace. Some of them saw deceased relatives while others saw people with happy faces with a warm welcome. There were also cases in which the patients saw an angel who claimed it to be Jesus. On the other hand, those patients who experienced hell had the opposite effect. Those patients remember falling through a dark tunnel, but instead of ascending they were descending. It would get darker and darker and they would see flames or thick mud under them. Some of his patients heard mourning sounds all around and others had seen little men and a giant. By looking at all these experiences of the afterlife of both heaven and hell, I felt that this book was relevant to my topic.

            I found this book interesting and informative. Rawlings opened my thoughts about heaven and hell. The many cases were vividly or graphically described which made me feel for each patient experience. I do believe that such afterlife experiences do happen very often and I also believe that a person who experiences the afterlife sees life in a more meaningful perspective.

           

 

Moody. R. A. (1977). Reflections on life after life. Harrisburg, Pa. Stackpole Books. ISBN 0—8177—1423—3 (no catalog # available)

           

            I found this book listed under the subject “afterlife” also in the Computer Catalog at Kalihi—Palama Library.

            In this book, Dr. Moody shares his research of people who have had near—death experiences. Some of these people were pronounce clinically dead while others only came close to death due to serious illness or accident. What I found very interesting about Moody’s study is that he discovers new elements of the afterlife experiences. These new and unusual experiences are the presence of supernatural knowledge, a realm of bewildered spirits, the cities of light, and supernatural rescues. In the case of supernatural knowledge, several people said that while in the spiritual world, they experienced a universal insight or a higher learning. “an entire separate realm of existence in which all knowledge— whether of past, present, or future— seemed to co—exist in a timeless state.”(p. 9) But of course, this knowledge did not persist after their return. The realm of bewildered spirits was described as a place were spirits are trapped between the spiritual world and the natural world. These beings are bound to particular objects that need to be let go of. They are in a perplexed state in which they need to solve their difficulty(s), The cities of light were described by several people as heaven. Once they passed through the tunnel into the light, they saw buildings that glowed, and there was light everywhere shining. They said it was indescribable and the colors there were even more beautiful than on our natural world. In several accounts, supernatural resues were experienced. In each case, the person having the experience was somehow in a situation that they could not escape. At that point of helplessness, “a voice or a light manifested itself and rescued him from the brink of death.”(p.22)

            I feel that this book advances my topic in a way that broadens our picture in our minds of the afterlife. I feel that these different elements can change the way I or others view life. I don’t think we should be afraid of dying, and with all of these case studies of the “cities light”, we can have reassurance.

 

 

Swedenborg, E. (1971). The True Christian Religion: The universal theology of the New Church, foretold by the Lord in Daniel VII 13, 14; and in Revelation XXI 1, 2;  New York, Swedenborg Foundation.  69-48686.

           

            I found this book using the UHCARL in the Sinclair Library. I looked under the subject heading “Swedenborg”, since much of Swedenborg’s works involve the spiritual world.

            I chose this book because there was a section that specifically discussed the spiritual world. In addition to that, I have heard a great deal about Emanuel Swedenborg through my Psychology professor, Dr. Jakobovits. Swedenborg claims that he communicated with the spiritual world for many years of his life. Swedenborg claims that there is a heaven, a hell, and a state between the two. “All those who acknowledge God are in heaven and those who don’t acknowledge Him are beneath heaven, where they are taught, and those who accept what they are taught, are raised up into heaven, but those who do not are cast down to hell.”(p.354) Swedenborg also believes that there is the material body in the natural world and a substantial body for the spiritual world. Although one’s individual material body holds within the substantial body.

            I found this book very interesting. It may be a bit unbelievable that someone has connections with the spiritual world for a long period of time, but it is fact a scientific study since a daily journal was kept. I feel that this advances my thesis because Swedenborg’s study helps our understanding of afterlife. His studies may be very controversial, but whether we believe him or not he does open our minds to new territory that may fit the lost pieces of the puzzle together.

 

 

Kung, Hans (1928). Eternal life? :  life after death s medical philosophical, and theological problem. Garden City, W.V.. Doubleday. BL535.K8613.

           

            Searching under the subject heading “afterlife” on the Computer Catalog at the Main Hawaii State Library, I found this interesting book.. It is based on a nine—day course of lectures at Tubingen. Hans Kung provides the viewpoint of afterlife in a scientific and psychological sense.

            In this book, there is no discussion of who goes to heaven or hell, rather a discussion of whether society cares to understand the meaning of life anymore. When we can understand or care about the meaning of life, we can come to terms of understanding the meaning of death. Kung also presents the question “but has medicine—or perhaps parapsychology—proved that there is life after death?” Kung refers to the great painter Max Beckmann’s words:  “If we want to grasp the invisible, we must first penetrate as deeply as possible into the visible.” (p.xiv) In his lectures he provides many common questions about life and the afterlife that many people have no justifiable answers to.

            I found this book to be very important, because it doesn’t accept only one side of the argument of the afterlife, but all the arguments and questions. The argument does go both ways because of the rational thought emotional thought I often wonder why I believe there is life after death. I guess I believe all those near death cases, since it does happen often throughout the world.

 

 

WHO DESERVES TO GO TO HEAVEN? WHO DESERVES TO GO TO HELL?

Heaven and Hell: Who will go where and why. (1991, May 27) Christianity Today, p. 29.

 

            I found this article by searching in the periodical index on the UHCARL at Sinclair Library. The subject heading I looked under was Heaven, but since there were a lot on heaven I included the subject Hell along with it to narrow it down. In the UHCARL there were a lot of articles on this topic! but when I went into the Reference room I could only find this article.

            I chose this article, not because it was the only one I could get a hold of, because it provided a gallup poll and the Christian view of who goes to heaven or hell. In this poll, it is stated that “about 78% of the public believe in a heaven where people who have led good lives are rewarded. And 60% believe in a hell where those who have led bad lives are eternally damned. Even many who claim no religious belief expect life to go on after death: 46% believe in heaven, 24% in hell.”(p.29) In this article, Kenneth S. Kantzer concludes that there is a God of justice and good, therefore He decides who goes to heaven or hell. Kantzer states that “if a man is truly free, then there is the possibility that he will misuse that freedom and choose to become evil. And since God is the just and sovereign judge of the universe, he must punish that evil. Christians believe that each individual chooses his fate in the after1 because God always longs for us, but we also have to long for him.

            I think this is a beneficial article to read concerning this topic.  I feel that since there are so many different beliefs or theories about the afterlife, gathering a variety of views will help provide a bigger picture of this phenomenon:  heaven and hell.  I feel that the gallup pools says a lot, because it involves the people of our natural world believing in the spiritual world.  I remember reading “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and the main idea of the play was that the mortal world and the fairy world had to be parallel to have order in the universe.  I often wondered if this parallelism applied to our natural and spiritual worlds.

 

 

Blamires, H. (1988). Knowing the truth about heaven and hell: our choices and where they lead us. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Servant Books. BT846.2.B.53

 

            I found this book by searching under the subject heading Heaven and Hell. I used the Computer Catalog at the Main Hawaii State Library. Books that discussed both heaven and hell caught my attention because a lot of the references I found that most of the books were about heaven, instead of being combined subjects.

            Coming from a Christian point of view, Blamires explains the judgment of God. “Our Lord’s whole emphasis is upon sins of omission. The Son of Man will come in glory and will sit in judgment upon all the nations gathered before him. They will be divided into sheep and goats:  the sheep on the right hand, the goats on the left hand. Those on the right hand are the ‘blessed of the Father’ and they are called in to ‘inherit the kingdom.’ Those on the left hand are ‘cursed’ instead of blessed. They are ordered to depart ‘into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”(p.36) I found this explanation in a section titled “The Alternative to Salvation.” It is a very drastic judgment that Sod makes, but it is not Sod who really chooses which hand we end up with. We all have the alternatives and freedom to choose during this lifetime

            Although this book gives us an explanation from the Bible, it does send out its message. I feel that, in a Christian perspective, we whether we will go up to heaven or down to hell by our individual within ourselves. I feel that most people think that goodness w you to heaven and evil will take you to hell.

 

 

McDannell, C. (1988). Heaven a history. New Haven: Yale University Press. BT846.2.M37.

           

            I found this book on the Computer Catalog under “heaven” as a subject heading. I didn’t realize how many references there were under this topic. This book caught my eyes for it was a collection of authors in which McDannell and Lang describe and interpret the ways in which believers have understood eternal life.

            This book contained of many theologians and authors, one stood out from the rest and that was Emanuel Swedenborg. Swedenborg stated that “spirits moved into the heaven by perfecting their psychological and spiritual outlook. They associated with others of a similar level of development until they were ready for the higher state of heaven. The angels would then shift the spirits attention to examine their own lives and separate away from the external loveliness of heaven to the important inward concerns. Once the spirits responded correctly to the steps, the angels taught them their own intrinsic character and ability to receive.”(p.189) Receiving such teachings brought the path of the heavens, but those who failed to move from the external and had no teachings were only see the paths of hell. Alike Christianity, Swedenborg states that it is the spirit which decides where their afterlife is. He said that one has to become spiritually alive and aware to go to heaven.

            I feel that this book made me realize that we have to be serious about our spirituality and our attitude toward life and the afterlife. This view taken from this book is very substantial to my topic because it is a new outlook on discovering who deserves to go to heaven or hell. I feel that we need these differences to make up our individual theories.

 

:

WHAT IS HEAVEN AND HELL LIKE?

Kreeft, P (1982). Everything you ever wanted to know about heaven — but never dreamed of asking. San Francisco, CA..: Harper and Row. 8T846.2.K7.

 

            I found this article by searching on Computer Catalog under the subject of heaven at the Main Hawaii State Library. The title of this book seemed to catch my attention.

            This book delivers many intriguing questions on heaven, but I also noticed that it had a great deal of information concerning my section title on top of this page. I feel that a lot of input was given from the previous references in this paper about what heaven looks like and the feeling of peace and warmth it provides. Basically, the idea of heaven is an indescribable beauty and light, I thought it would be very interesting to choose a more specific question about heaven. One question I found in this book was “Is there sex in heaven?” Peter Kreeft concluded that there re four philosophical principles to this question: (1) Sex is something you are and not something you do, (2) the alternative to chauvinism is not egalitarianism, (3) sex is spiritual, (4) sex is cosmic. His principles define sex as our sexuality or our sexual social roles and his arguments are very logical. He explains that sex is within the soul and not just the body. Therefore there is sex in heaven.

            I think this is an interesting book that others should reading the section about sex in heaven was very interesting. I feel that there is sex in heaven since our souls are filled with strong emotions.

 

 

Church, F.F. (1986). The Devil and Dr. Church: a guide to hell for atheists and true believers. San Francisco: Harper and Row. BT981.C49.

 

            I found this book by searching on the Computer Catalog under the subject “hell.”  I chose this book because it was one of the few books about heaven at the Hawaii State Library.

            This book deals with the devil instead of hell. I felt that we need to take a step back an discover the nature of the devil which will then give us a picture of what hell will be like in the afterlife. Dr.. Church is a Unitarian preacher who discusses evil ‘ the devil in our everyday lives. One of the chapters in this book really caught my attention: (1) The Care and Feeding of the Devil. Church claims that he has felt the devil near him and this devil inflicted damage upon him. He describes a particular day when he receives a vicious letter, numerous irate phone calls, and then summoned to court for possible discrimination at work. All of this bad luck gets people very furious fast and this is what brings out hatred and anger and feelings of revenge. Some people get blind and through uncontrolled anger they put a hex on anyone. This black magic is reversible of course, because the magic is all in the mind.

            This is a worthwhile book to me and I am sure for others also who wonder about the devil. I believe that there is an evil force that exists. And I feel that there is a constant struggle at times between good and bad. Just by imagining the devil and his temptations and deceitfulness, I picture hell as an everlasting nightmare.

 

 

Swedenborg, E. (1984). The universal human and soul—body interaction. New York: Paulist Press. 84-60734.

 

            I found this book by searching in the Computer Catalog under the subject heading “Swedenborg.” Once again I felt that his studies and theories are very interesting. I feel that his knowledge of this subject is very strong.

            Swedenborg discusses a great deal about the soul— body and the spiritual world, but I found a section that described what hell looked like through his own experience with the spiritual world. He explains that hell is not pure darkness the way we may all envision it in cur minds. Hell does have light, but very dim, for it is from heaven’s light. Although, it does change its form down in hell into their senseless, false notions, and cravings. Having light from heaven means that God is also present there for He is the all Powerful. This light in hell is called “the shadow of death.” He therefore concludes that “light corresponds to what is true, darkness corresponds to what is false, and that people who are involved in false things are said to be in blindness.”(p.140) Swedenborg also claims that “the evil spirits have a different appearance in an angel’s light, somewhat demonic, faceless, corpses, monsters, or serpents, but once they are in their own light they appear in their original form.”(p.140)

            I found this book very intriguing because of its difference in explanations from other theorists. It has definitely helped in advancing my thesis because it supports that an afterlife does exist, whether it is good or bad.

 

 

Bayly, J. (1977). Heaven. Eglin, Ill.: D.C. Cook Pub. Co. 77—71035.

 

            I found this book by using the Computer Catalog System in the Hawaii State Library. I searched under the subject “heaven.” This book stood out among all the rest because it is filled with a dialogue between Bayly and Jesus Christ. It is quite beautiful.

            Joseph Bayly describes what heaven is like in only a few words, but he does it well. I often wondered how the people are like up in heaven. He explains that heaven is a city in which people live together instead of in isolation. No one will have their masks anymore to conceal their true identity. He tells us that there is also no night in heaven and no need for sleeping anymore. If you ever wondered about the handicapped or retarded, they are God’s greatest joy to see them do everything they couldn’t do before. There is also a universal language since people from all over is living in Heaven.

            This little book is filled with so much understanding in such little meaningful words. I often talk to God even if he never responds, but I know he is a part of my soul. This book helps to advance my thesis because of its outlook on heaven and the lifestyle there. It contributes to the list of theories of the afterlife.

 

 

DOES SIN DETERMINE ONE’S AFTERLIFE?

Sobosan, J.G. (1979) Act of contrition personal and sin. Notre Dame, Ind. Ave Maria Press. BT800.S62.

 

            I found this book using the Computer Catalog and searching under the subjects of “sin.” I chose this book at the Hawaii State Library because I felt that in order to find an answer to the subject heading sin must be defined.

            In this book, Jeffrey Sobosan tries to elicit the awareness of sin The sinner must recognize the sin and accept responsibility for it. He defines sin as “to describe one’s specific thoughts, feelings, an deeds when they demonstrate vice rather than virtue. The criterion of sin is to be found in excessive self—assertion.”(p.44) Sins can be both intentional and unintentional. Our awareness of sin and fault will help us to become more responsible over our actions.

            I feel that this book was very helpful in clearing the definition of sin. Now that that is cleared more discussion can take place for the subject heading of whether sin determines our afterlife.

 

 

Fairlie, H. (1978). The seven deadly sins today. Washington: New Republic Books; New York: trade distribution by Simon and Schuster. BV4626.F34

 

            I found this book when searching in the Computer Catalog at the Kalihi—Palama Library. I searched under the subject “sin.”

            Fairlie introduces the seven deadly sins as: “fatal pride, the beginning of all sin slit—eyed Envy, which destroys our self—love; the maddened face of Anger, which barks out the wrath of our age; dejected Sloth, the indifferent sin; wretched Avarice, possessing solely for the sake of possessing; bulging—faced Gluttony, destroying all our joy in the fruits of creation; squatting Lust, ever in pursuit and empty reward.”(p.34) All these sins is what society holds because we misuse love. Sin destroys the love and sense of belonging we all long for and live for. Realizing how much evil is around us does give a sense that maybe sin does determine where we go after death.

            I found this book to be an interesting one that others should get a hold of. It may be a bit scary to find out how bad our society is, but we have to face the facts of life. I find myself being conscious of sin, because it does bother me and it is scary to think that it could affect your afterlife.

 

 

Ricoeur, P. (1967). The symbolism of evil. New York: Harper and Row. BT715.RkS.

 

            I found this book under the subject heading “sin” at the Kalihi—Palama Library while using the Computer Catalog.

            This book deals with an analysis of evil and the interpretation of sin and guilt. In the subject heading “The Archaic Myth: Soul and Body,” it is noted that our soul brings an anterior evil, which expiates in the body. The soul becomes somewhat imprisoned. It seems that Ricoeur is saying that we need to be purified, in order for our soul to be pure in the spiritual world. But still there’s a wonder if there is life after death. Plato states:  “who knows whether living is not dying and whether dying is not living?”(p.296)

            I found this reference very difficult to relate to. I guess because it was very old. I found its information very interesting though. It seems that we all have our original sin that can’t break from our soul. I like his theory of our souls being imprisoned. I find that to be true because I am always quilt conscious.

 

 

Menninger, K. A. (1973). Whatever became of sin? New York: Hawthorne Books. BV4625.M46.

 

            I found this book using the Computer Catalog at the Hawaii State Library. I searched under the subject “sin.”  I found it very appealing because of its title. I often wonder about that very one question.

            This book deals with the issue sin and it change of meaning over the many years. Menninger defines sin as  “a transgression of the law of God; disobedience of the divine will; moral failure. Sin is failure to realize in conduct and character the moral ideal. at least as fully as possible under existing circumstances; failure to do as one ought towards one’s fellow man.”(p.18—19)  Sins are also being called crimes. Menninger states that “two percent of the sins of the city become crimes’ and are thus appropriately handled. But what about the other 98 percent?’(p.l8)

            This is a worthwhile book because it amazes me that I can relate to it even though it was published in 1973. Sin is still almost non—existent in our society. This makes it very hard to answer the question of whether or not sin determines where one ends up in the afterlife. I feel that it all comes down to our goodness that only God can judge if its true or not. Sin is a part of everyone’s life. It isn’t okay, but it does help our minds to grow.

 

 

LIBRARY RESEARCH REPORT

 

            When our assignments were given, I looked up the topics in the Comments File of Plato. I was really hoping for different and unusual topics. When I came across the topic on Heaven and Hell it was the only one that grabbed my interest. It was a bit confusing at first when looking for references because the libraries at IJH were unfamiliar to me. I felt lost for a while, but I was familiar with their research computer systems. The real problem was that I didn’t own a UH student 1.D. therefore I couldn’t borrow anything. That is when I went to the State Libraries. I do have the tendency of procrastinating, although I was very busy. I completed gathering my research in about 3—4 days about a week before the due date. But the paper was worked on weekend prior to the due date. I seem to work better under stress.

            I was a little disappointed that I only got one article as a reference and the rest were books. But using those Computer Catalog Systems and the UHCARL was so easy and efficient. I always used the search file using a general subject title, then when I go all the information on that (heaven) I could narrow it down (heaven & hell). I’m really glad that I found enough references on this topic.

            I found that writing the paper wasn’t as difficult as I thought. Although it was very time consuming. The instructions were very easy to follow and with the amount of references required I think it made a great difference when we only had to answer the questions: how did I find this reference and how did it advance my thesis? I really learned a great deal about Heaven and Hell and also the question of Sin. It was all worthwhile.

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Bayly, 3. (1977). Heaven. Eglin, Ill.: D.C. Cook Pub. Co. 77—71035.

Blamires, H. (1988). Knowing the truth about heaven and hell: our choices and where they lead us. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Servant Books. BT846.2.B.53.

Church, F.F. (1986). The Devil and Dr. Church: a guide to hell for atheists and true believers. San Francisco: Harper and Row. BT9S1 .C49.

Fairlie, H. (1978). The seven deadly sins today. Washington: New Republic Books; New York: trade distribution by Simon and Schuster. BV4626.F34.

Kreeft, P. (1982). Everything you ever wanted to know about heaven — but never dreamed of asking. San Francisco, CA.: Harper and Row. 81846.2.1

Kung, Hans (1928). Eternal life?: life after death as medical, philosophical, and theological problem.  Garden City, W.V. : Doubleday. BL535.K8613.

Heaven and Hell: Who will go where and why. (1991, May 27) Christianity Today.  p.29.

McDannell, C. (1998). Heaven: a history.  New Haven: Yale University Press. BT846.2.M37.

Menninger, K. A. (1973). Whatever became of sin?  New York: Hawthorne Books. BV4625.M46.

Moody, R. A. (1977). Reflections on life after life. Harrisburg Pa.: Stackpole Books. ISBN 0—8177—1423—3 (no catalog # available)

Rawlings, M. (1978). Beyond death door.  Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson Inc. BT902.R35

Ricoeur, P. (1967). The symbolism of evil. New York Harper and Row. BT715.R48.

Sobosan, 3.13. (1979). Act of contrition: personal responsibility and sin. Notre Dame, Ind.:  Ave Maria Press. BTROO.962.

Swedenborg, E. (1971). The True Christian Religion: The universal theology of the New Church, foretold by Lord in Daniel VII 13, 14; and in Revelation XXI 1, 2.

            New York:  Swedenborg Foundation. 69-48686.

 

Swedenborg, E. (1994). The universal human and soul—body interaction. New York: Paulist Press. 84—60734.

 

 

 

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