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Carleton University - RELI 2732 - Class Notes - Week 2

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Carleton University - RELI 2732 - Class Notes - Week 2

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background image Dana Foley Death and the Afterlife: RELI 273
Prof: Angela Sumegi 
Monday, January 16, 2017: Week 2: Lecture 2 Death  person is physically intact… is it sleeping, in a coma, meditation. All kinds of 
living states that mimic death. It is a transformation or process. Process of dying 
is a lot vaguer than “death”. We need to be able to tell the difference between 
who is dead and who is dying, we need to know the body is just dead enough so 
that it is still able to donate organs. We can dead, but still have not reached the 
point of no return. People are brought back to life all the time. Traditionally, 
heartbeat and breathing were the signs of life…now we have technology that 
can do this for a person…are they dead? Western science accepts that dead is a 
process that can be interrupted. 
Worms: in the last moment of its life it emits blue light at the moment it dies 
showing the pathway to cellular death. 
Criteria for defining the irreversible coma:  Unreceptivity and unresponsive  No movement or breathing  No reflexes  Flat electroencephalogram EEG. I.e. no electrical features in the brain.  Taphephobia: The fear of being buried alive. 18thh and 16 th  century Europe it  was very real. Safety coffins- bell tied to dead person’s hand in the coffins.  What is death (Robert Veatch) Death means a complete change in the status of a living entity  What is essentially significant to life? (Robert Veatch) 1. Flow of vital fluids 
2. The soul from the body 
3. The capacity for bodily integration
4. The capacity for social interaction 
background image Physical Death:  Decay and annihilation of the physical body.  Has not stopped people from asking if there is life after death: Metaphysical.  Our interpretations of death rest on our senses of life- sleep, peacefulness,
being trapped, darkness, nothingness. 
Oblivion is not necessarily a fearful state, problem is that there has been 
nobody who has returned to tell us what death is like. 
Shakespeare on sleep and death: for in that sleep of death, what dreams may 
Death is defined at the sensation of physical and mental processes, but to 
examine it more deeply we must examine not only the facts, but the significance
of the facts. Leads us to consider relation to death and identity. Birth and death 
are states that only refer to something separate. Birth and death are relating to 
separate identity. Of all the things that are lost, the most important is the loss of 
identity. In either case to understand death we need to explore how we define 
Two basic aspects to a person. To be a person involves immaterial counterpart, 
soul, or mind, life-force, or consciousness. 
Across cultures, our identity is a relationship between body and that which is not 
Small-Scale Tribal Communities  Primal religions: 200 million of the world’s inhabitants  Tarija’s: the ritual way of the ancestors  Funerals have the slaughter of animals so that they can arrive with the 
dead in the afterlife
Funerals can be advertised as a tourist attraction  Statues of the dead: don’t touch them or disrespect then or there will be 
Indigenous religious world views  Three major characteristics related to Duality of the Universe  Duality of the person  2
background image The social function of religion  Shaman- a generic name given by scholars to those specialists in tribal or 
indigenous religions who communicate with the spirit world for the 
practical benefit of their community 
If the person is sick, the soul needs to be healed as well, death itself can 
be the result of physical causes as well as non-physical causes (soul-loss). 
Shaman has to retrieve it. 
There is also the intrusion of a soul into a person, and the evil soul has to 
be driven out by the shaman. 
Some non-physical causes of sickness and death or primal religions are: Soul-loss  Spirit possession  Intrusion of a diseased spirit  Spirit attack  Violation of taboos  Underlying a lot of the treatments is healing the community because sickness is 
thought to be a marker of a disunity in the community. It is a sign of imbalance. 
To cure sickness, balance needs to be restores in their environment and 
Other characterizations of indigenous religions: Spiritualization od the world in which human beings exist  Belief in the connections between visible and invisible worlds  Humans beings are not separate from the natural world  Other worlds are accessible to human beings  Religion serves society 3

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School: Carleton University
Department: OTHER
Course: Death and The Afterlife
Professor: Angela Sumegi
Term: Spring 2017
Tags: religion, Death, after, life, spirit, Egyptian, mesopotamian, and Persian
Name: Death and the Afterlife, Week 2 Notes
Description: Covers what was talked about in this week's lecture (January, 16th, 2017), as well as covers concepts in chapter 3 of course book "Understanding Death".
Uploaded: 01/20/2017
7 Pages 79 Views 63 Unlocks
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