The notion of purgatory is associated particularly with the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. In the Catholic Church All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven or the final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a “cleansing fire” although it is not always called purgatory. Continue reading “Purgatory”

Afterlife in ancient religions

Ancient Egypt

The afterlife played an important role in Ancient Egyptian religion, and its belief system is one of the earliest known. When the body died, parts of its soul known as ka (body double) and the ba (personality) would go to the Kingdom of the Dead. While the soul dwelt in the Fields of Aaru, Osiris demanded work as restitution for the protection he provided. Statues were placed in the tombs to serve as substitutes for the deceased.

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Afterlife in Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism states that the urvan, the disembodied spirit, lingers on earth for three days before departing downward to the kingdom of the dead that is ruled by Yima. For the three days that it rests on Earth, righteous souls sit at the head of their body, chanting the Ustavaiti Gathas with joy, while a wicked person sits at the feet of the corpse, wails and recites the Yasna. Zoroastrianism states that for the righteous souls, a beautiful maiden, which is the personification of the soul’s good thoughts, words and deeds, appears. For a wicked person, a very old, ugly, naked hag appears. After three nights, the soul of the wicked is taken by the demon Vizaresa (Vīzarəša), to Chinvat bridge, and is made to go to darkness (hell).

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In the Roman Catholic Church despite popular opinion limbo, which was elaborated by theologians beginning in the Middle Ages, never entered into the teaching of the church yet at times the church incorporated the theory in its ordinary belief, limbo is a theory that unbaptized but innocent souls, such as those of infants or virtuous individuals who lived before Jesus Christ was born on earth. Or those that die before baptism such as those who are born dead or die very young. Therefore, neither merit the beatific vision, nor yet are subjected to any punishment, because they are not guilty of any personal sin although they have not received baptism, so still bear original sin. On Friday, April 20, 2007 Pope Benedict XVI, abolished the whole idea saying he “showed doubt about the concept of limbo”. He cited his concerns about it when he was a cardinal. In other Christian denominations it has been described as an intermediate place or state of confinement in oblivion and neglect.

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