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Religions consider the future when they address issues such as karma, life after death, and eschatologies that study what the end of time and the end of the world will be. In religion, major prophets are said to have the power to change the future. Common religious figures have claimed to see into the future, such as minor prophets and diviners. The term "afterlife" refers to the continuation of existence of the soul, spirit or mind of a human (or animal) after physical death, typically in a spiritual or ghostlike afterworld. Deceased persons are usually believed to go to a specific region or plane of existence in this afterworld, often depending on the rightness of their actions during life.
Some believe the afterlife includes some form of preparation for the soul to be transferred to another body (reincarnation). The major views on the afterlife derive from religion, esotericism and metaphysics. There are those who are skeptical of the existence of the afterlife, or believe that it is absolutely impossible, such as the materialist-reductionists, who believe that the topic is supernatural, therefore does not really exist or is unknowable. In metaphysical models, theists generally believe some sort of afterlife awaits people when they die. Atheists generally do not believe in a life after death. Members of some generally non-theistic religions such as Buddhism, tend to believe in an afterlife like reincarnation but without reference to God.
Agnostics generally hold the position that like the existence of God, the existence of supernatural phenomena, such as souls or life after death, is unverifiable and therefore unknowable. Many religions, whether they believe in the soul’s existence in another world like Christianity, Islam and many pagan belief systems, or in reincarnation like many forms of Hinduism and Buddhism, believe that one’s status in the afterlife is a reward or punishment for their conduct during life, with the exception of Calvinistic variants of Protestant Christianity, which believes one's status in the afterlife is a gift from God and cannot be earned during life.
Eschatology is a part of theology and philosophy concerned with the final events in the history of the world, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world. While in mysticism the phrase refers metaphorically to the end of ordinary reality and reunion with the Divine, in many traditional religions it is taught as an actual future event prophesied in sacred texts or folklore. More broadly, eschatology may encompass related concepts such as the Messiah or Messianic Age, the end time, and the end of days.
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Famous quotes containing the word religion:
“Men are like plants; the goodness and flavor of the fruit proceeds from the peculiar soil and exposition in which they grow. We are nothing but what we derive from the air we breathe, the climate we inhabit, the government we obey, the system of religion we profess, and the nature of our employment.”
—Michel Guillaume Jean De Crevecoeur (17351813)
“Our religion vulgarly stands on numbers of believers. Whenever the appeal is madeno matter how indirectlyto numbers, proclamation is then and there made, that religion is not. He that finds God a sweet, enveloping presence, who shall dare to come in?”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“A chaplain is the minister of the Prince of Peace serving the host of the God of WarMars. As such, he is as incongruous as a musket would be on the altar at Christmas. Why, then, is he there? Because he indirectly subserves the purpose attested by the cannon; because too he lends the sanction of the religion of the meek to that which practically is the abrogation of everything but brute Force.”
—Herman Melville (18191891)