The Guibord Center’s Interfaith panel discussion on life after death took place in two sessions: morning and afternoon. The morning session focused on the perspectives of the Abrahamic faith traditions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels from Temple Beth Shir Shalom speaks of heaven and hell as reflections of the life we led on Earth. If someone always puts himself or herself first, then the afterlife will be spent with other self-centered people. If people put others’ needs first and help them throughout their lives, they’ll spend the afterlife with others who treat them the same way. Rabbi Neil shares a beautiful song he wrote for young people about losing a loved one to death.
The Rev. Canon Mark Kowalewski, Dean of St. John’s Cathedral, says Christians believe that in the midst of life, we are in death. Even though we’re always aware of our own mortality, we try to experience life to the fullest every day.
According to Imam Dr. Ahmed Soboh, Islam is a continuation of the Jewish and Christian religions. All Muslims believe in the hereafter, and death is not the end of the story. Islam teaches that the time and the place of our death are determined when we’re born. We can’t alter that appointed time. So, we must live our lives with awareness of what we say, because when we account for ourselves before God, our last words will make a difference. We want that final word to be good.