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Afterlife, Heaven, and Hell

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We learn about ancient civilizations through literature passed down from generations. The view of an afterlife is what provokes people’s immense fear and concern about the concept of death in which they express that fear in different forms. Salvation means we receive eternal life if we have a personal relationship with God. In modern day society, most people go to church to show their faith to God in thinking they get “saved”. These ancient literature goes into elaborate detail about the horrors Hell provides. The Inferno of Dante goes into detail that there is a hell and the levels inside it are different tortures people have to endure for committing a specific crime. In Virgil’s Aeneid, it gives a description of the Elysium. The Elysium is where the heroic and virtuous go to live blessedly and happily. The idea of an afterlife is one of the main factors in why today’s society attends church and worships God. The details these stories give about Hell frightens people into thinking that Hell can be that torturous. The idea of Hell has shaped today’s society for the better and worse. The stories about Heaven is a paradise filled with peace, happiness, and enjoyment. Today, people are doing more good in their lives because of their belief in God and the
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afterlives. But in spite of doing what’s right and good for its own sake, people are good because they want to go to Heaven and not the demoralizing Hell.
Dante’s Inferno gives very graphic details about the conception of an allegorical Hell. Halfway through the poet Dante’s life, he becomes lost wandering alone in a dark forest. Dante sees the spirit of the great Roman poet, Virgil. Virgil proceeds to tell Dante that before they can climb th...

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... go back onto earth and possess human image once more. “…they may once more revisit the vault above and conceive the desire of return to the body.” (Virgil, Aeneid 6. 628 – 897)
Reading Aeneid, gives people a certain kind of hope that there is eternal bliss and happiness when we die. With Heaven being a type of reward, this drives people now to do good deeds but not with their own free will. Reading Inferno, gives people something to steer away from to become better in their life and towards each other. For me, Reading these books in CH 201 had me thinking hard about the afterlife and what Heaven and Hell could be like. During discussion, students mostly talked about the horrors of Dante’s Inferno and how uncomforting and interesting it was. By this you can tell these books did shape religious views in modern day life.

Works Cited

(Virgil, Aeneid 6. 628 – 897)
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