Cross Cultural Beliefs About the Afterlife Essay

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Cross Cultural Beliefs about The Afterlife.

Seminar in Individual Differences and Personality


A study of American undergraduates indicated that the beliefs about the nature of life after death were quite complicated. A 41-item questionnaire produced 12 independent groups of beliefs. Belief in an internal locus of control and that one’s life is owned by God were associated with a more positive view of the afterlife, as was being Roman Catholic rather than Protestant. The most common beliefs were that one is reunited with family and friends, that the afterlife is comforting, that there is Heaven and that the transition is peaceful, all believed by more than 90 percent of the students.
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In this method twelve factors were identified about beliefs about afterlife. Three of the major factors were that 12.1 percent believe in Heave and Hell. 7.9 percent believe in reincarnation and 6.6 percent believed that there ate material objects and sexual desire in the after life. The gender differences that were found are that men are not less likely to believe in afterlife but they were less likely to believe in Heaven, reuniting with loved ones, communication with the living and request for forgiveness before death. Men were more likely the women to believe that there are material objects, that spirits have human form, that there is pain, hunger, thirst and that rituals carried out after death are important. The religious differences they found were that Protestant students were less likely to believe in life-after-death then Roman Catholic students. On the other hand, Protestant students were more likely to believe that there is Hell and that forgiveness needs to be requested to get into Heaven. One of the strengths that this article has is that they provided a broad hypothesis. It was not specific and that gave them more room to play around with how they want to test the beliefs on life-after-death. They basically just wanted to explore from what was found in previous search on the afterlife and find more detailed data. Another strengths in this article were the specific questions that the participants were asked about their beliefs in the afterlife. The
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