How do views of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory differ?
The Heavens and Hells We Believe In
Individual eschatological images are rarely a research subject that applies in-depth interviews and qualitative methods of analysis. Due to the use of simple questionnaire measures, knowledge about possible bariations in personal images of heaven or hell is very poor. Furthermore, data concerning any connection between personality and eschatological images is scarce. The research project presented in the article was an attempt to apply a narrative method and to combine qualitative and simple quantitative methods to describe the wide variety of individual views of heaven, hell, and purgatory. The relationship between individual eschatological images, denominational culture, and the chosen dimension of personality - i.e., hope understood in Erik Erikson's terms as a relatively stable conviction that the world is meaningful, ordered and friendly towards people - was also explored. The research was conducted among religiously engaged Christians from two denominational groups: Catholics and Lutherans.
Photo by K.J. Messick
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