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Assessment: Compare and contrast religious beliefs and ceremonies for death.

As there are many different religions, there are inevitably lots of different beliefs about death and funerals. I will, in this essay, compare and contrast these different ways of life. Two religions which are both similar in their beliefs about death are Buddhism and Hinduism they both believe in the concept of reincarnation. As a result of this both groups of people treat death as merely a passage to the next life and shouldnt therefore be a sad occasion. At a Buddhist funeral it is even customary to share a meal during the service, which is sometimes likened to a festival. In addition, Buddhists believe that following the Eightfold Path and living a good and fulfilling life will move you further along the road to Nibbana, the equivalent of Hindus moksha. This love for one another in Buddhism is similar to karma in Hinduism the more karma is gathered, the higher the rank of the being your soul will be reincarnated into. Returning to the point I made about Nibbana, it is easy to say that it is not like moksha also the main difference between these two rewards is that Hindus believe in an ultimate God, Brahman, whilst Buddhists do not. These two religions are quite different from Christianity. Christians believe that people do have souls, yet they do not come back into the world as another being. Instead, they believe that the persons soul goes straight to heaven to live in paradise with God. As the person isnt coming back, the funeral ceremony in Christianity is a sadder event but many priests emphasise the fact that the person is always watching over their family. Christian funerals are different to Buddhist and Hindu funerals in another sense Buddhists and Hindus are always cremated to release the soul from the body, while this is completely optional in Christianity. Cremation is becoming increasingly popular in Christianity and for atheists also, however for Christians there is no main religious reason for this instead, many people decide to be cremated as it is more environmentally friendly. Other Christians may decide to be buried as their soul will not return as a result of reincarnation so their body is the only thing of theirs left behind. Another reason for burial is maybe because as God has given them this body, they do not feel comfortable destroying it. Moreover, there could be many reasons to add to these it is someones personal preference. To conclude, Buddhism and Hinduism are completely different religions, yet their attitudes towards death are quite similar. Together, these two religions are a lot more different from Christianity, mainly due to the fact that Christians do not believe in the concept of reincarnation.