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Most cultures have beliefs and practices relating to the existence of another life or world other than the present one. Usually, it is a state of existence into which the individual enters at death, a state somewhere, sometime, or somehow in which the individual hopes to be free from pain and anxiety. Etymologically as well as historically, the word heaven has denoted the Christian heaven, though the Christian heaven is closely related to Jewish and, especially, Muslim ideas. These monotheistic concepts envision the individual fulfilled and perfected in the presence of God. The “heavens” of Indic religions, though bearing some resemblance to these concepts, are fundamentally different.

Judaism and Christianity

In early Hebrew thought, life with God was considered in community terms: Israel as a nation had ...

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