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The Middle East As Net Exporter of Religion

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Resurrection, Last Judgment, Afterlife, Heaven, and Hell

The “Middle Eastern religious paradigm” also features a vivid set of beliefs about what happens after death. Although they differ from one another in many details, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all subscribe to the idea that the dead will experience a resurrection after death and that a Last Judgment will evaluate the balance of good and evil in their earthly lives. Rabbinic Judaism places less emphasis on this issue than the other three traditions, focusing instead on atonement in this world for sins committed, but Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam all stress that a Last Judgment will determine one’s eventual fate in an afterlife—eternal torment in hell for those deemed to have lived an evil life in the world, eternal felicity in paradise for those who led good lives. In all cases, the implication of the teaching is that we are all morally responsible for our actions in this life and will, eventually, be called to account for them; we will not be able to “get away with” bad deeds because the Judgment will be rendered by an omniscient God.

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