Essay

Jainism is an ancient religion from India that believes that there are no gods or spiritual human beings that will help human beings. It is a religion of self-help and Mahavira is the man who gave the religion its present form. Jains believe that since the beginning of time, every living being (soul) because of ignorance, is associated with karmas. The main purpose of the religion is to remove these karmas which are attached to the soul and become a liberated soul and attain moksha which is to be free from karmas. This impacts their future lives (reincarnation). Karma is the mechanism that determines the quality of life. The happiness of a person’s present life is the result of the moral quality of the actions of the moral quality of the actions of the being in its previous life and therefore the next life. A soul can only achieve liberation by getting rid of all karma attached to it. Karma is a logical and understandable way of making sense of good and evil, the different qualities of different lives and the different moral status of different types of creature, without having to involve rules laid down by a god. Karma works without the intervention of any other being-gods or angels have no part to play in dispensing rewards or punishments.

 

Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that salvation is only possible through Christ’s sacrifice and individuals cannot be saved until they repent of their sins and call on the name  of Jehovah. Salvation is described as a free gift from God, but is unachievable without good works that are prompted by faith. The works prove that a person’s faith is genuine . Works such as preaching is said to be one of the works necessary for salvation. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that people can be saved by identifying God’s organization and serving God as a part of it.

 

However, they reject the doctrine of universal salvation, as well as that of predestination or fate. They believe that all intelligent creatures have free will and salvation has to be a result of a person’s own decisions and not of fate. They also reject the concept of ‘once saved, always saved’ or ‘eternal security’, instead of believers remaining faithful until the end to be saved. In terms of whether Jehovah’s witnesses believe that non-witnesses will be saved, they believe that only Jesus has the responsibility of judging people. In addition, they believe that non-witnesses who are alive now may have salvation if they begin to serve God.

 

Heaven and Hell

 

Jains believe that the universe is divided into five parts:

 

Adholoka is the lower world and is subdivided into seven tiers of hells. Each tier is darker and more painful than the one above it. The middle world is called Madhyaloka and consists of many concentric continents separated by seas. At the centre is the continent Jambudvipa.This, the second continent neighbouring it, and half of the third is where humans are.

 

Jambudvipa is where the main focus of Jain activity is as it is the only continent where it is possible to achieve liberation.

 

Urdhvaloka is the celestial world that has two types of heaven. One type is for the souls of those who may or may not have entered the Jain path. The other is for those who are far along on the path and are close to their liberation.

 

At the apex of the occupied universe is the Siddhashila which is crescent-shaped and the home of liberated souls called Siddhas.

 

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that death is a physical consequence of Adam and Eve’s original sin-the violation of divine law. They deny the existence of hell as they believe that it is a false concept created by the satan to turn people away from their believe in Jehovah. They believe that after death, unless they are found to be worthy of eternal life, they will simply remain in the grave, inactive, unconscious and entirely dead.  

 

A significant belief of Jehovah’s Witnesses is that Jesus’ heavenly (or heavenly Kingdom power) began in 1914 and this date also marks when the Last Days began. Members believe that 3 ½ years after 1914, Jesus came to inspect and cleanse the Watchtower Society, choosing it as the only organization through which He would work and the only means salvation.

 

They do believe in a heaven and the hope of going there. Members are taught that only 144,000 tested and tried Christians will actually go to heaven based on Revelations 14:1-4, to reign and rule with kings and priests. Others who survive armageddon (the end) and those who are resurrected will have the opportunity to learn the proper way to worship God and hopefully live forever in a paradise earth. However, they don’t believe that only Jehovah’s Witnesses will go to heaven. Many people who lived in the past who were no Jehovah’s Witnesses will come back in a resurrection and have an opportunity for life. Many now living may take a stand for truth and righteousness before God’s time of judgement, and they will gain salvation. This belief is influenced by the Bible where Jesus says that we should judge one another.

 

Body and Soul

 

Jains believe that every living being has an immortal and indestructible soul. According to the book Jains by Paul Dundas, at death the jiva leaves its body and progresses to its next place of birth virtually and instantaneously . A jiva is another word for the soul and every individual has one which are a mixture of atoms of the body. When a person dies, the soul leaves the body and immediately lives in another boy and this cycle repeats until the soul is liberated. The jiva exists throughout the body but isn’t found in any particular bit of it. Jains believe that the soul exists forever and each soul is independent. The soul is responsible for what it does and experiences of its actions.

 

Attaining liberation, also known as moksha and therefore terminating this cycle of birth and death is the goal of Jainism. However, not all souls can be liberated and some souls are incapable of achieving this. The way for the soul to move towards liberation is to follow  principles of behaviour.

 

For Jains, the body and soul are two different things. The body is just a lifeless container and the jiva is the conscious being.

 

Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe that humans have a soul or spirit that has conscious existence after death. To Jehovah’s Witnesses, the word ‘soul’ is interchangeable with the word ‘human’. This means that they don’t believe that humans possess souls which are separate and distinct from the body but believe that humans are souls. This is why they believe that a person ceases to exist upon death. According to The Watchtower August 2015 edition, the grave is where humans go when they die. It is a symbolic place or condition where any consciousness or activity ceases. Therefore, this means that an individual’s existence completely stops and the Bible states that human beings do not have an immortal soul that survives when the body dies. After death, the majority of faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses will be resurrected after armageddon and they will be then given a soul, or life, that exactly duplicates their personality in a new body that will live forever on earth.

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