Selected Subculture: UNC Christian Society
Research Question: How do people in UNC Christian Society view death?
Born in a non-religious family, I am always interested in studying religions. Most of the people in my home country China are non-religious and I had few opportunities to do a systematic study regarding religious topics. Therefore, this is a great opportunity for me to form a deeper understanding of religions. UNC is a diverse community with various religious groups and consequently I get to have many opportunities to learn about religions. I have attended a Halloween escape room activity hosted by the A2F organization and thus I chose A2F as my study object. While talking to one of my friends in A2F, I realized that religions have great effects on one’s opinions and worldview. Also, all these years, I’ve kept thinking about where will people go after they die and what is the meaning of our existence. I used to travel to Europe and have listened to the theory from Catholics about afterlife and I think what would happen after death is the thing that religions will have a thorough and complete explanation. As a result, I made the topic of my research “How do people in UNC Christian Society view death?” I assume that Christians would think that good people will go to heaven and bad people will be in hell according to what I learned in High School history class, but this research made this answer more specific. By studying this topic, I hope to learn about Christian life and worldview deeply and gain a holistic understanding of Christianity.
Along with Buddhism and Islam, Christianity is one of the three major religions around the world. Christianity is the world’s largest religion in terms of size and influence and it has been playing an extremely important and irreplaceable role in the history of human development. Until now, the major developed countries, except Japan, were all dominated by Christian culture. In Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania, Christianity has shaped every aspect of human civilization in fields such as politics, economy, science, education, culture and art. Besides South America, Africa and South Korea, China was also one of the fastest-growing places for Christianity in the 20th century in Asia.
Observational Data and Analysis
I’ve done two observations. One was in Stone Center and the other was in Chapman Hall. My first observation was on A2F Sister’s Night so there were only girls in Stone Center. There was a huge dinner with 9 tables. Each table had created its activity to do while eating. The clothes they wear are normal and just the other UNC students. The group activity I was in was to find our high schools on google map and share interesting things about the high school. While sharing, everyone on the table was listening patiently and making comments. I was unable to locate my school since the ariel photo of Google Maps was kind of old but they encouraged me to search pictures of my school and they praise my school after seeing the pictures and our school uniform. After dinner, we listened to a sharing about relationships: how Christians care and love each other. Then, we did a Bible Study to learn something about relationships. After the Bible Study, we were paired up with juniors and seniors to share our difficulties and pray for each other. Through my first observation, I get to learn about how relationships between Christians were formed and how they view each other.
The second observation is an in-person interview about how Christians consider death. My interviewee said that she thought about death approximately once a week and the fact that many people die of diseases makes her feel really bad and let her think about death very often. Her church organizes events to let Christians go to the hospice and care for elderlies every Sunday. Two of the elderlies just died which makes her feel really sad. She thinks that they are the person she loves and cares about and their death makes her think about death very often. She personally is not afraid of death but she’s kind of afraid that death would hurt. However, that was not the thing that really matters to her since it will just be momentary. Since her parents are not religious, she was hoping that someday they will be Christian or else they will face the final judgment someday after they die, which makes her really afraid. She thinks that Christians would all go to heaven. The description of heaven in the Bible is metaphorical but she thinks that heaven is like a home with many rooms or like a city, where people will have their job and would not be bored. There will be a lot of singing, worshiping and people gathering around seeing how was god present in their life. There will be no existence of time in heaven and people will be there forever. From this observation, I am able to directly get information on how Christians view death. I admit that this information can be biased since it is only from one Christian and I would hear from more Christian if there’s no coronavirus or social distancing.
Christians have close relationships because they were told by the Bible to care and love others and treat other Christians as their brothers and sisters. Christians have unique perspective regarding death. They think that Christians will go to heaven and other non-Christian people will face judgment and go to hell for their sin. This is kind of different from what I assumed in the first place that they think good people will go to heaven and bad people will go to hell. Thus, I’m kind of confused about what Christianity wants to convey. Do Christian God want people to be good or they want people to be Christian? Further research should be done to find out the answer.
Charlier, P., Joly, A., Champagnat, J., Brun, L., & Christian Herve ́, G. L. de la G. (2013). Death, cadavers and post-mortem biomedical research: a point of view from a Christian Community. Journal of Religion & Health.,52(4), 1346-1355. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/229065062_Death_Cadavers_and_Post- mortem_Biomedical_Research_A_Point_of_View_from_a_Christian_Community.
Wirén, J. (2018). Interreligious hospitality: reflections on death and eschatology. Dialog: A Journal of Theology., 57(4), 271–278. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1&sid=73081aaa-3d13-4165-bf7e-816b9f718383%40sdc-v-sessmgr02.
Sciarra, M. (2014, January 8). A Christian Perspective on Death. Grace Church of Orange. Retrieved from https://www.graceorange.org/looking-to-jesus/post/a-christian-perspective-on-death.