18 September 2014
Death (deTH) n. - the act of dying; the end of life; the total and permanent cessation of all the vital functions of an organism. At what point does an individual actually die? That depends on who you ask. To one person, it's the instant the heart discontinues beating. To another, it's when the brain enters a "vegetative" state. To numerous individuals, death is simply the absence of life, but then we must define "life" and that's almost impossible. Death is the only thing promised to us from the day we are born, a promise that will never be broken. Ultimately, death is inevitable.
Throughout history, various cultures and religions have developed their own perception of death and what accompanies death. Christianity believes in an afterlife in Heaven or Hell reliant on one's conduct on earth and belief or disbelief in God.
The followers face death without fear and gain everlasting life in Heaven in the company of God. It is believed that the body itself is also a gift from God which has to be celebrated and honored through extravagant funeral procedures. Islam believes in continual existence of the soul with altered physical existence and a Day of Judgment (similar to Catholicism) determining eternal destination of the human beings to Paradise and Hell. Upon death, family and friends are encouraged to stay calm and consider the loss as God's will because He is the one who gives life and takes it away. After death, there are no complicated rituals, and the body is washed and wrapped in a white blanket for burial as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours. According to Hinduism, the oldest known religion in the world, death is an accepted process in the existence of a soul...