What Do You Know About the Afterlife?



9 Questions

What is the concept of reincarnation in Judaism called?

What is the Catholic Church's teaching on those who die in a state of grace but still carry venial sin?

What is the term used in Islam for the Last Day where God will raise all mankind from the dead and evaluate their worldly actions?

What is the intermediate realm or 'isthmus' between the world of corporeal bodies and the world of spirits called in Sufi Muslim tradition?

What is the belief in a special place called Pure Land, where each Buddha has their own pure land, and chanting a Buddha's name is the main practice in Pure Land Buddhism?

What is the Baháʼí Faith's teaching on the nature of the afterlife?

What is the traditional African religions' belief on the afterlife?

What is the Sikhism belief about the soul?

What is the Seventh-day Adventist belief about the dead?


Beliefs about the Afterlife in Various Religions and Cultures

  • The afterlife is a belief in which an individual's consciousness or identity continues to exist after the death of their physical body.
  • The surviving essential aspect varies between different belief systems.
  • Some believe in an afterlife in a spiritual realm, while others believe in reincarnation.
  • Different religions have different views on the afterlife, with major views deriving from religion, esotericism, and metaphysics.
  • Reincarnation is the philosophical or religious concept that an aspect of a living being starts a new life in a different physical body or form after each death.
  • Many religions believe that one's status in the afterlife is a consequence of one's conduct during life.
  • Heaven is a common religious, cosmological, or transcendent place where beings such as gods, angels, or venerated ancestors are said to originate or live.
  • Hell is a place of torment and punishment in the afterlife in many religious and folkloric traditions.
  • Ancient Egyptian religion believed in the afterlife, with the belief that the soul dwelt in the Fields of Aaru and Osiris demanded work as restitution for the protection he provided.
  • Ancient Greek and Roman religions believed in the underworld, where souls lived after death, and the soul would be judged by Aeacus, Rhadamanthus, and King Minos.
  • Judaism believed in Sheol, a place of darkness where all the dead go, and the World to Come, where those who have led pristine lives enter immediately.
  • The Talmud offers a number of thoughts relating to the afterlife, with the soul gaining wisdom as one's errors are reviewed.Beliefs about the Afterlife in Judaism, Christianity, and Orthodoxy


  • The afterlife involves a period of discomfort for past wrongs, followed by the soul's place in the world to come.
  • Eternal damnation is not a tenet of the Jewish afterlife.
  • Reincarnation, called gilgul, is recognized as being part of Jewish tradition.
  • The Zohar describes Gehenna as a place of spiritual purification for souls.
  • Among well-known rabbis who are reincarnationists are Abraham Isaac Kook, Adin Steinsaltz, and Zalman Schachter.


  • Mainstream Christianity professes belief in the Nicene Creed, which includes "the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come."
  • The Book of Enoch describes Sheol as divided into four compartments for four types of the dead.
  • The Book of 2 Maccabees mentions the dead awaiting a future resurrection and judgment.
  • The author of Luke recounts the story of Lazarus and the rich man, which shows people in Hades awaiting the resurrection either in comfort or torment.
  • Hippolytus of Rome pictures the righteous dead in Hades awaiting their resurrection in the bosom of Abraham.
  • The Catholic Church teaches that those who die in a state of grace, but still carry venial sin, go to a place called Purgatory where they undergo purification to enter Heaven.
  • Limbo, a theory that unbaptized but innocent souls exist in neither Heaven nor Hell proper, was never recognized as a dogma of the Catholic Church.


  • Beyond the second coming of Jesus, bodily resurrection, and final judgment, Orthodoxy does not teach much else in any definitive manner.

  • Orthodoxy is traditionally non-dualist and does not teach that there are two separate literal locations of heaven and hell.

  • The final judgment is one's uniform encounter with divine love and mercy, but this encounter is experienced multifariously depending on the extent to which one has been transformed, partaken of divinity, and is therefore compatible or incompatible with God.

  • Orthodoxy uses the description of Jesus' judgment in John 3:19-21 as their model, emphasizing the presence of God's mercy and love which cause the torment of the wicked.

  • Orthodoxy includes a prevalent tradition of praying for the dead.Beliefs about the afterlife vary across different religions and denominations. Christianity teaches that after death, souls either go to heaven or hell, and some believe in purgatory as a temporary state of purification. Orthodox Christianity also teaches the possibility of apokatastasis, or the restoration of all things in the end. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in a spirit prison or "hell" where spirits of the dead remain until judgment, and after resurrection, spirits are assigned to three degrees of heavenly glory. Jehovah's Witnesses believe in a bodily resurrection of "both righteous and unrighteous" dead, and survivors and resurrected individuals will gradually restore Earth to a paradise. Seventh-day Adventists believe that the dead "remain unconscious until the return of Christ in judgment". Islam teaches the Last Day, where God will raise all mankind from the dead and evaluate their worldly actions, and the resurrected will be judged according to their deeds. Ahmadi Muslims believe that the afterlife is not material but of a spiritual nature, and the soul will give birth to another rarer entity. Sufi Muslim scholar Ibn 'Arabi defined Barzakh as the intermediate realm or "isthmus" between the world of corporeal bodies and the world of spirits. The Baháʼí Faith teaches that the nature of the afterlife is beyond the understanding of those living, and that souls in the afterlife will continue to retain their individuality and consciousness. Early Indian religions believed in an afterlife and ancestor worship, but these concepts started to change after the period of the Upanishads. Buddhism teaches that rebirth takes place without an unchanging self or soul passing from one form to another, and the type of rebirth will be conditioned by the moral tone of the person's actions.Beliefs about the Afterlife in Different Religions

  • Buddhism teaches about rebirth, with the last thought moment being the most important in determining where a person is reborn into.

  • Pure Land Buddhism believes in a special place called Pure Land, where each Buddha has their own pure land, and chanting a Buddha's name is the main practice.

  • Tibetan Buddhism explains the intermediate state of humans between death and reincarnation, with the deceased being shown a path to a bright light by different Buddhas.

  • Hinduism believes that the individual consists of three bodies, with the thought that occupies the mind at the time of death determining the quality of our rebirth.

  • Jainism believes that the soul takes on a body form based on previous karmas or actions performed by that soul through eternity.

  • Sikhism believes that the soul is a part of God and hence lives forever, with the human form being the closest form to God.

  • Traditional African religions are diverse in their beliefs in an afterlife, with some having ancestor cults and others having clear-cut notions of heaven and hell.

  • Shinto tends to hold negative views on death and corpses as a source of pollution called kegare, but death is also viewed as a path towards apotheosis in Shintoism.

  • Unitarian Universalists differ widely in their theology, with some believing in universalism and others believing in a heaven, reincarnation, or oblivion.

  • Spiritualism postulates a series of seven realms, with the soul moving higher and higher until it reaches the ultimate realm of spiritual oneness.

  • Wiccans believe in The Summerland, where souls rest, recuperate from life, and reflect on the experiences they had during their lives before being reincarnated.

  • Zoroastrianism states that the urvan, the disembodied spirit, lingers on earth for three days before departing downward to the kingdom of the dead that is ruled by Yima.


Discover the fascinating and diverse beliefs about the afterlife in various religions and cultures with this informative quiz. From the concept of reincarnation to the existence of heaven and hell, this quiz explores the different views on what happens after we pass away. Whether you're curious about Buddhism's teachings on rebirth or interested in the belief in an afterlife in traditional African religions, this quiz covers it all. Test your knowledge and expand your understanding of the afterlife in this thought-provoking quiz.

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