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1st UU Congregation hosts “The End — Or Is It?”

April 23rd · 1 Comment · Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Unitarian Universalist

The Rev. Carole Yorke, of the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Palm Beaches, hosts of the March 25 program, chats with Brett Ferrigan, co-director of the Palm Beach Shambhala House. Symbols on the wall depict the UUs' religious pluralism.

On the subject of death and dying from the perspective of various faith traditions, I expected to learn a lot, and I did, from my fellow panelists and other participants in the excellent March 25 program, “The End — Or Is It?”

Am just getting around to sharing this link to dozens of my wife’s photos that the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Palm Beaches, whose Marika Stone organized the program, posted online.

I make a point as Brett Ferrigan, who proved a treasure in sharing Buddhist perspectives, listens in.

Some brief observations:

The notion that death is not the end, that there is something after death, although no one knows precisely what it is, requires by definition a leap of faith, noted Tom O’Brien, who teaches theology and scripture courses and spoke from his Christian perspective.

Said Rabbi Barry Silver, of Temple L’Dor V’Dor in Lake Worth: “The main thing about Jews is we do not focus on the hereafter, we focus on what we are here after in this world.” Regarding the concept of an afterlife, Rabbi Silver said “Reform Jews, modern Jews, reject this, as we reject most of the literal teachings of Jewish scripture. So if you had an Orthodox rabbi, he’d be arguing with me vociferously much more than anyone at this table, calling me all kinds of names perhaps, because my views would be considered heretical. So I don’t want you to get the impression that what I’m saying is consistent with most Jews. And my personal views are different than most Reform Jews, probably, but with Reform there is not a lot of consistency on the afterlife.”

“As UUs, we hold that death is part of the natural cycle of life,” said the Rev. Carole Yorke underscoring a point of consensus. “No one knows what happens after we die. People may passionately believe one thing or another. But no one really knows.”

In a sign of the good spirit and humor of the evening, she also said:

“We’re also taught by physicists who teach us about the conservation of energy. According to the law of conservation of energy, you’re not gone when you die, you’re just less orderly.”

I share a bit more on all this in my upcoming InterFaith21 column in The Coastal Star.

(L-R): Brett Ferrigan, C.B. Hanif, Tom O'Brien, Rabbi Barry Silver, Rev. Carole Yorke.

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One Comment so far ↓

  • Marika Stone

    Thank you, C.B., for capturing these comments, and to Aneesha for her photo album. It was a memorable night for our congregation and for me personally. Much gratitude for the great job you did as panelist.

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