After Death Experiences

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The whole ancient world basked in the full sunshine of belief in the immortality of man, lived in it daily, voiced it in its literature, went with it in calm serenity through the gate of Death. It remains a problem why Christianity, which vigorously and joyously re-affirmed it, should have growing in its midst the unique terror of Death that has played so large a part in its social life, its literature, and its art. It is not simply the belief in hell that has surrounded the grave with horror, for other Religions have had their hells, and yet their followers have not been harassed by this shadowy Fear. The Chinese, for instance, who take Death as such a light and trivial thing, have a collection of hells quite unique in their varied unpleasantness. Maybe the difference is a question of race rather than of creed; that the vigorous life of the West shrinks from its antithesis, and that its unimaginative common-sense finds a bodiless condition too lacking in solidity of comfort; whereas the more dreamy, mystical East, prone to meditation, and ever seeking to escape from the thraldom of the senses during earthly life, looks on the disembodied state as eminently desirable, and as most conducive to unfettered thought.

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