KCUR 89.3 FM
Up to Date - 6/27/2011
Religion Roundtable: The Afterlife

What happens to us after we die? It's a question that has stood at the center of religious thinking through the ages. Every day's news keeps these questions before the faithful of many traditions, whether the story is tragic deaths at the hands of natural disasters or the rising civilian tolls in armed conflicts around the world. Even the recent predictions of judgment and doom at a particular moment on a Saturday evening in May tended to focus many people's thinking about their (very long-term) future plans.

Popular culture is filled with all sorts of representations of the afterlife: a heaven filled with bright lights and pearly gates, a fiery inferno filled with tortured souls and lakes of fire, angels lounging on clouds, and rebirth into the body of someone else. But which of these images are actually rooted in religious claims, and which have emerged out of literature and art? And why do people care so much anyway--isn't there enough to worry about in the here and now?

On Monday, our Religion Roundtable returns, joining guest host Brian Ellison to speak of heaven and hell, paradise and peace, nirvana ... and nothing.
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