Heaven and Nirvana

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Today the words heaven and nirvana are often used interchangeably; this has led to some confusion regarding the concepts. The aim of this paper is provide a foundation of understanding, regarding the concepts of heaven in Christianity and nirvana in Buddhism. To define the key characteristics that set these two concepts apart, while seeking to identify any similarities that may be found between them.
When attempting to identify the origin of the Christian heaven, it is important to first define Christianity: "the religion that is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ" (Merriam-Webster.com). Since these teachings are at the core of many faiths, including but not limited to the Catholic, Jewish and Protestant faith, it would be unwise, to try to speak for Christianity as a whole, regarding the matter of heaven or when it came into being.
Christian sects may see death and what follows a little differently however; the “majority” agree that proof of heaven, as a real place, can be found in the bible. The bible teaches that another life awaits Christians, when their time here on earth comes to an end. During the next life, they will dwell in the “presence of God” and other followers of Jesus. In the next life they will be liberated from sin and thereby released from their agony. (ReligionFacts.com). “Heaven is not a figment of divine imagination, some mystical floating, the ethereal, never-never land” (Stowell, (1995) p.87).
In his book Eternity Joseph Stowell examines, Acts 1:11, Jesus rose into the heavens, before the eyes of his disciplines, and the angels said “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched H...

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... achieve in this life to avoid the next.

Works Cited

Anonymous. Christian Beliefs about the Afterlife. (8 February 2007). ReligionFacts. http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/beliefs/afterlife.htm

Gombrich, R. (2005) Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo. Routledge
Prothero, S, (2008). Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know—And Doesn’t. New York: HarperOne.
Sach, J. (2003). The Everything Buddhism Book: Learn the ancient traditions and apply them to modern life. MA, Avon, Adams Media Corporation.
Smith, H., & Novak, P. (2003). Buddhism : A Concise Introduction. [Pymble, NSW]: PerfectBound.
Smith, J., & Green, W. (1995). The Harper Collins Dictionary of Religion. San Francisco, CA: Harper Collins.
Stowell, J. (1995). Eternity: Reclaiming A Passion For What Endures, IL, Chicago, Moody Press.

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