How do Islamic perceptions of Heaven and Hell differ from those of Christianity and Judaism? From what I have gathered, each of these believes in a Heaven and a Hell. However, their perceptions of what Heaven and Hell look like and how an individual gets into them are different. Islamic religion weighs an individual’s good deeds against their bad deeds. They have a view that there are eight gates of which they must enter. Just because you are of Islamic religion, does not mean that you automatically get into Heaven. Within Christianity and Judaism, an individual believes in God and they will go to heaven (or the Garden of Edan within Judaism). Their good deeds and bad deeds are not weighed against each other. Overall, to me it seems like getting into Heaven or Hell is more complicated within the Islamic religion. There is more at stake. You’re not just simply reminded of your accomplishments and downfalls, but they’re thrown against you and placed onto a scale.
Although Jesus was a Jew, the religious institutions created in his name proved difficult for Jews to embrace but attractive to Greeks. What elements in the Nativity and the Passion narratives seems particularly and culturally familiar to a pagan audience? Pagan audiences could feel very connected to Jesus, starting at his birth up until his death. They were able to relate this story to those that they have heard several times. There were parts in each of the four gospels that they were able to connect with as well. A huge one that stood out to me was Christmas! Christmas time was used to convert the pagans into Christians.
Jesus claims the redeemed sinner is more precious to God than the righteous person who never sinned. This implies a conception of God unlike that found in the Old Testament or in The Iliad. How does this emphasis on human repentance and divine mercy change human relations to God? What different aspects of the divine/human relationships were emphasized in Gilgamesh, or The Iliad? Within the Gilgamesh and Illiad, they had many gods that were characterized to different aspects of life. The relationships between these Gods and the individual were less-attached. However, by doing good “deeds’ you were at the top of these Gods’ lists. Now, individual’s relationships with God are more connected. They’re not as distant. Individuals know the types of actions that are expected. A redeemed sinner is able to learn from his actions/mistakes and make oneself into a better person, inside and out.