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Q: Different beliefs about what happens to us, after we die? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: Different beliefs about what happens to us, after we die?
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: dtnl42-ga
List Price: $40.00
Posted: 21 Nov 2004 01:25 PST
Expires: 21 Dec 2004 01:25 PST
Question ID: 431764
Please list all of the different opinions / beliefs / faiths on what
hapens to us after we die in this life - please align all different
beliefs with relevant faith (e.g. Heaven with Christianity) and
provide the approximate number of people in the world today who follow
that faith. Thank you!

Request for Question Clarification by politicalguru-ga on 21 Nov 2004 02:22 PST
Dear dtnl, 

Researchers are frequently reluctant to answer questions that ask for
"all" of anything because it's usually impossible to make sure that
you've found "all". Since there are many religions in the world, most
of them esoteric and practiced by a very small circle, it might be
mroe effective if you defined how many religions you're looking for -
say, the larger religions.

Clarification of Question by dtnl42-ga on 21 Nov 2004 02:53 PST
Thank you - yes please, I amend my question to be the major religions and beliefs
Thank you for your guidance
Subject: Re: Different beliefs about what happens to us, after we die?
Answered By: jdb-ga on 21 Nov 2004 07:40 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

I am following up with personal interest on your question, as I teach
comparative religion and psychology, and am a humanities and social
sciences librarian. I'm afraid the data and answers to your question
are not simple, as
a census of religions and their doctrines does not show that believers
in each religion all adhere to the same beliefs, for example, from the
most comprehensive online source for these types of statistics, based
on printed survey results:

Real International Statistics on Religion
 "Even among Catholics [In a survey of Italian society], there are
many doubts and mixtures of doctrines. For example, 81.4% [74.4% among
the total surveyed] agree that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and
68.1% [62.2% of total] admit to faith in the afterlife; however 32.5%
[29.7% of total] believe in predestination and 19% [17.4% of total] in

 So, only 62% of Italian Catholics believe in the afterlife, though
this is an official church doctrine, while 19% believe in
reincarnation, which is not an official church doctrine. Catholicism
is one of the most doctrinal religions,
and this survey was in Italy, the seat of the Roman Catholic Church.
So you can see that an individual's stated religion may not mean that
the person necessarily adheres to the expected set of afterlife

 So we might want to look also at surveys of how many people worldwide
hold particular types of afterlife beliefs, as well as their stated
religious affiliation, and I think this is the single best resource
for your question, with tables you can copy and save: 
   (this set of survey data lists countries, religions, beliefs in God, in a
     Personal God, Heaven, Hell, Life After Death, Reincarnation, Resurrection)
Here are some further resources on types of beliefs and statistics:

 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
 Contents (Religions and beliefs are divided into these categories)
 1 Afterlife as a belief
 2 Afterlife as an individual existence
 3 Afterlife as reward or punishment
 4 Afterlife as reincarnation
 5 Related studies
 7 See also
 8 External links
 9 Anti-Afterlife 

The New Catholic Encyclopedia
 Dance of Death
 Preparation for Death
Christian Beliefs About the Afterlife

Christian Views on Death & Afterlife

Christian Beliefs In The Afterlife

Christianity and Buddhism - Comparison of Afterlife Beliefs

Buddhist Views on Death & Afterlife

Buddhist Afterlife Beliefs

Hindu Views on Death & Afterlife

Islamic Views on Death & Afterlife

Jewish Views on Death & Afterlife

Jewish Afterlife Beliefs

Pagan Views on Death & Afterlife

Afterlife Beliefs and Phenomena
  Zoroastrianism  Essenes           Sadducees 
  Gnosticism      Manichaeism       Baha'i 
  Theosophy       Spiritualism      Greek 
  Mysteries       American Indian   Shamanism 
  Egyptian        Aztec             Voodoo 

Views of the Afterlife 
 Ancient Egypt 
 Ancient Greece 
 Ancient Rome 
 Conservative Protestant 
 Roman Catholic 
 Liberal Christian 
 Jehovah's Witnesses 
 Seventh Day Adventists 

Tales of the Afterlife in Mythology
 Comparative beliefs of the afterlife by several major religions
 Traditional Shinto
 Ancient Grecian
 African Traditional Religion
 Australian Aboriginal

Analyst-author examines West's early afterlife beliefs
 "Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in Western Religion" (Doubleday)
  From $16 at - see reviews

Afterlife Beliefs May Have Biological Basis

Take an Online Survey of Views of the Afterlife

American Religion Data Archive
 quantitative data on American religion
 very detailed US data - see About ARDA - then Get Numbers Religion Statistics Geography, Church Statistics
 (one of the best online resource for worldwide religion statistics -
    the site has many categories of statistics, but here are the ones most
    relevant to your question)
    Religion by Location Index
   Religion by Name Index
   Geographical "Top Ten" Lists
    Largest communities of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Lutherans, etc.
   Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents
   Major Branches of Religions Ranked by Number of Adherents

I hope this is useful. Let me know if I can be of further assistance. jdb-ga

Clarification of Answer by jdb-ga on 21 Nov 2004 07:43 PST
PS  A clarification: my sentence at the beginning ought to have read:
"So, only 68% of Italian Catholics believe in the afterlife, though
this is an official church doctrine, while 19% believe in

dtnl42-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Different beliefs about what happens to us, after we die?
From: snakeman2-ga on 22 Nov 2004 01:27 PST

FYI - All muslims belief in the day of Judgment, When every one is
dead Allah will ask one of his angels to blue his trumpet and every
one will get out of the grave and be questioned about wht he did and
did not do in his life, 1.2 Billion muslim believe in this, as a mater
of fact you cannot be a muslim unless you believe in the day of
judgment. This is meant to be as information.
Subject: Re: Different beliefs about what happens to us, after we die?
From: pugwashjw-ga on 22 Nov 2004 06:12 PST
Jehovahs Witnesses believe and use the "New World Translation of the
Holy Scriptures. The scriptures pertinent to the question of where are
the dead? are
Genesis 3;19.."In the sweat of your face you will eat bread  UNTIL you
return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are
and to dust you will return".
Ecclesiastes 9;10.."All that your hand finds to do, do with your very
power, for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in
Sheol,the place to which you are going". [ the grave , King James and
Ecclesiastes 9;5.."The living are conscious that they will die, but as
for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all".
Psalm 146;4.."His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground, in that
day his thoughts do perish".
Psalm 13;3.."Do look upon me,  answer me, O Jehovah my God, Do make my
eyes shine, that I may not fall asleep in death". {Jehovah=God`s
name=Psalm 83;18, Exodus 6;3, 9;16}
Second Peter 3;4.."Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in
death, all things are continuing exactly as from creations beginning".
John 11;11-14.."Lazarus our friend has gone to rest, but I am
journeying there to awaken him from sleep..Lazarus has died".
Ezekial 18;4.." the soul that is sinning, it itself will die".
Isaiah 53;12.."He poured out his soul to the very death".
Matthew 26;38.." Then He said to them " My soul is deeply grieved, even to death".
Ecclesiastes 9;6.." Their love and their hate and their jealousy have
already perished, and they have no portion anymore to time indefinite,
in anything that has to be done under the sun".
Isaiah 26;14.."They are dead; they will not live. Impotent in death,
they will not rise up".
The above scriptures indicate a non-existence after death. But the
book of Revelation promises a resurrection for a "great crowd, which
no man was able to number...Rev. 7;9,10.
These ones are separate from the very specific number of 144,000
promised a heavenly future as priests and kings alongside Jesus.Luke
12;32. Rev. 20;4,6 Rev. 7;4 and 14;1,4
A common finality would not require the Bible separate the two groups.
And why would God want ALL of those who had ever died in heaven. He
has already got myriads of Angels there. Could it possibly be that the
ones mentioned in John 5;28,29 will get a chance of a second life in
the flesh? And if so, it would have to be on the earth.
Subject: Re: Different beliefs about what happens to us, after we die?
From: neilzero-ga on 01 Dec 2004 06:01 PST
While active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints = Mormon are more consistant than most denominations, there are
many minor variations: We use the Bible verse which says the soul is
the combination of the body and spirit. At death, the spirit leaves
the body and goes to Paradise or Spirit Prison, depending on
obedience, faith, repentence and some other factors.
Following the Crucifiction of Jesus, He bridged the gulf between these
two places, so for almost 2000 years the righteous spirits have been
teaching the unrightous spirits in prison.
 The best prepared of the spirts are resurrected at the time of death
or after a brief stay in Paradise. These return to God in the
Celestial Kingdom where they inherit all that the Father has. They are
exhalted and become Gods (God says that in his house are many
 Following the 1000 year millenium, the rest of the spirits will be
resurrected, mostly to a terrestrial glory or a lesser telestrial
glory which will be much like Earth at present. Only a very few will
have sinned so willfully that they go to outer darkness, where there
is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth and the worm dieth not.
The lake of fire and burning Hell are symbolic of the deep regret most
of us will feel because we missed our opportunity for exhaltation and
Godhood. The regret will be deeper, because all of us achieved a high
degree of rigteousness as spirits in The Pre-existance. Nearly all of
this doctrine is found in the Bible, but we got the details from the
Prophet Joseph Smith who was born Dec 23, 1805 in Palmyra, New York.  
Subject: Re: Different beliefs about what happens to us, after we die?
From: junketyjunkjunk-ga on 06 Dec 2004 18:43 PST
I'm sorry to not really add anything more to this discussion, but I
was hoping for some additional clarification:
Nicely written!  
I have a question about "The best prepared of the spirts are
resurrected at the time of death or after a brief stay in Paradise."
Where is this doctrine found? 
To my understanding, the righteous spirits are resurrected at the time
of the "resurrection of the just" or the first resurrection, which
will take place after the millenium and the judgement bar. Then will
those who are righteous recieve their glory. With the 2nd
resurrection, "the rest of the spirits" taking place after that, and
then they in turn will receive their glory.
If what you say is indeed doctrine, It would be helpful to see an
example other than those who were called for a special work -
restoration, that were "resurrected at the time of death or after a
brief stay in Paradise".

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