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The afterlife is what some people believe happens after death. Different religions teach different things about the afterlife.


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Some religions believe in reincarnation (to come back to life as a different person or even animal). These religions include Buddhism and Hinduism. Hinduism specifically believes that at death the soul leaves the physical body but does not die. It lives in an astral body in an astral plane. Here the soul continues until it is born again in another physical body as a baby.[1] Salvation (called Moksha) in these religions is a release from this endless cycle of re-births.

Most people in the world believe you go to another place after you die, such as heaven or hell. Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Jainism are religions that believe in this. For example, those that follow Christianity believe that if you accept the Christ (Jesus of Nazareth, the son of the Virgin Mary) as your saviour, you will spend eternity in heaven after death; if you do not accept him, you will be separated from him after death.[2]

Many other religions believe in an afterlife of some kind. Ancient Egyptians believed in an 'afterlife'. They put things into the graves of important people. These were to be used in the next life. The Vikings had some similar beliefs. Others (like African animists) believe that some people change into spirits called ghosts.

There are also those who do not believe that there is an afterlife, and that you simply cease to exist once you die. Atheists believe there is no God and no afterlife. The Sadducees were a sect of Judaism in the time of Jesus. They believed there was no spirit in man. So, after death there was no more life. .[3]

There are several reports around the world of visions of a supposed afterlife in near death experiences, which, although varying in accounts, typically contain drawing closer to a light, or seeing one's dead relatives. Some people who experience clinical death, but are revived afterwards, report still being able to think and see things even after their vitals flatlined. Several people who have claimed to have visited the afterlife have often claimed to have had new information revaled to them, and are sometimes able to describe events that occurred during their clinical death or provide knowledge of past/future events.

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  1. Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, "Ten Questions people ask About Hinduism …and ten terrific answers!" (p. 4) [1] Archived 2007-04-11 at the Wayback Machine
  2. The Bible: New International Version, "John 14:6"
  3. Josephus, Titus Flavius. Antiquities of the Jews 18 §1.2.