Hidden deep in the hills of Appalachia, there's a tradition of worship music that has not changed since the 18th century. The hymnody is still practiced by congregations of the Old Regular Baptist Church, where a leader calls out a line and the people respond in a mournful, soaring chorus.
The Catholic Church has long held that saints are in communion with God after death, says Mary Catherine Hilkert, a Catholic theologian and Dominican Sister of Peace. But, she says, "never has there been a statement about anyone definitively being in hell."
Elizabeth Smart was just 14 when she was kidnapped at knifepoint from her bedroom. She was held for nine months and forced to act as her captor's second wife. Host Michel Martin talks with Smart about her new memoir and her Mormon faith, which played a big part in her story.
The Vatican minted thousands of medallions in gold, silver and bronze. A portrait of the pope was on one side and on the other, the Latin phrase that inspired Pope Francis to join the Jesuit order. The medals were promptly recalled after the Vatican discovered Jesus was misspelled as Lesus.
Orthodox Rabbi Joseph Telushkin says his belief in some form of life after death flows from the persistence of injustice on earth. If there were no afterlife, he says, "it would mean that Adolf Hitler and Anne Frank had the same fate."
Samuel Scheffler, a philosophy professor at New York University, presents a secular interpretation of life after death. In his book Death and the Afterlife, Scheffler argues that our belief that humanity will outlive us — our faith in the existence of future generations — gives meaning to our lives.
This week, All Things Considered is talking with leaders from different faiths about their perspectives on an afterlife. Mufti Asif Umar says Muslims believe that a person who enters paradise will find whatever he or she desires waiting there.
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