What Dreams May Come & Catholic Eschatology Essay

Please upload your essay by the end of the day on Tuesday, April 20th. Then each student should read the essays and comments of other students over the next couple of days and write some comments of their own in response to what they have read following the directions below:

1) On Wednesday, write two intelligent comments in response to two of your classmates’ essays. In each of your responses, discuss

  • why you agree or disagree to something you read, and/or
  • discuss an important question that your classmate raises, and/or
  • raise a question that you wish to pose to your classmate to answer

2) On Thursday, write one additional intelligent comment in response to

  • a comment posed to you by a classmate, or
  • a comment in response to another classmate’s comment posted in response to an essay.

I’m looking forward to following your discussions!


Mr. Webber


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37 Responses to “What Dreams May Come & Catholic Eschatology Essay”

  1. John Jaeger Says:

    Afterlife Comparison
    In the world that we live in there are many different concepts regarding eschatology—the study of the last things: death, judgment, heaven and hell. The Catholic understanding of the afterlife is best described by the term resurrection. Resurrection is a complete transformation of the person, body and soul, to an entirely different state of existence with God for all time. In the movie “What Dreams May Come” a different view of the afterlife is presented. In the movie, each person’s “heaven” in created by their own imagination and can be transformed into whatever the person wishes. The view of afterlife in the movie and the Roman Catholic teachings on the afterlife can be compared and contrasted in order to find new connections and deeper meaning in one’s faith.
    The Catholic Church teaches that particular judgment which occurs after death is done not by God, but rather the individual must judge themselves and choose either to be with God for all eternity or reject God’s infinite love. When Chris dies, he goes to a world that is based off a painting his wife had created. In this new world, anything is possible and the only limits are that of his imagination. In that sense Chris chooses what happens to him after his death. A common theme is that the final choice after death is down to the individual. A difference between the film and the Catholic belief is the population of heaven. Chris was in a world all by himself, separate from all the others who had perished. Each person had the capacity to create their own world to live in for the rest of eternity. A Catholic view of heaven has all “the elect” in God’s presence. Although heaven is not a geographical the community aspect of the afterlife is stressed more in Catholic teaching.
    The idea of hell is also discussed in the film as well as by the Catholic Church. The official definition of hell is the state of eternal separation from God and punishment for one’s sins. In the movie, hell was a creation of a person’s minds who was not able to accept the fact that they had died. Each person’s hell was different and until Annie no one was ever able to escape their personal hell to create an ideal world of heaven. A subtle contrast can also be seen between the two depictions of hell. The Catholic understanding of hell is one in which hell is the ultimate symbol of our human freedom. God gave people the choice of free will and even allows us to reject his unconditional love. The film portrays hell as a result of a person’s last action in life—taking their own life. Although this does involve a choice, the Catholic view on suicides does not mean a person goes to hell. The choice involved is one of acceptance or rejection of the unconditional love of God.
    Although some differences are present between the two views of the afterlife, there are some truths which can be taken from them. The idea of reincarnation as an option for the afterlife is presented in the film. Also what happens to the people in the “heavens” which they create can be called a form of resurrection. Combining the Catholic view of resurrection and the Eastern view of reincarnation may point to the fact that there is still a sense of the unknown in death. The need for humans to be able to explain the unexplained is shown in that of death. No one can know exactly what occurs in death until it is experienced firsthand. A common theme of the two is that of the choice to create the ideal world. It is not decided by God or others whom have been met along the journey of life. It is up to the individual to create what is possible in their heart. God has given each person the gift of life and the gift of free will. In the end, the choice is up to each of us.

    • Jacob Szczech Says:

      Good essay John, you really went into depth, our essays have some similarities.

    • Katlyn Putney Says:

      I completely agree with your essay. I liked how you talked about choices and judging ourselves. I also agree with your discussion about hell being the symbol of our human freedom.

      • John Jaeger Says:

        It seems as if both the movie and Catholic teaching stress this idea of our own self judgment. Just thinking about this concept shows the true depth of our freedom as individual persons. If we are able to even decide what happens to us after death, there may not be a limit to the good we can choose to do on earth.

    • Brenda Marquez Says:

      I agree with your thoughts. you have clearly stated all the views on death and life in church teaching. you have also compared the views of the movie, “What Dreams May Come” to the church teachings.

    • Jordan Backes Says:

      Very good job, I agree with Katlyn. I liked how you talked about us judging ourselves.

    • Mike Wasilik Says:

      John, was paper was done very well. I liked your second paragraph about judgement. The way that we judge our selves as to go to Heaven or not, not God judging us.

  2. Katlyn Putney Says:

    Katlyn Putney
    Mr. Webber

    What Dreams May Come

    Eschatology, the study of the four last things, is a way of understanding what may happen to us after life. Viewing death as a doorway enables us to live full lives and still not be afraid of death. In comparing the Roman Catholic teachings with the plot line of the film “What Dreams May Come,” we are able to explore the possibilities of life after death.
    The idea of heaven is greatly pursued in the film. After Chris dies, he goes to the place of his dreams, the place that his wife created for him through her painting. For Chris, heaven is the place that reminds him of his wife and their life together. In his heaven, anything can happen. He is reunited with people that have died throughout his lifetime. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that heaven is not a geographical place that we go after we die. This correlates with the movie, because in Chris’s heaven he can travel in the blink of an eye. The church says that in heaven we will come face to face with God. For Chris, this happens when he realizes that the woman was his daughter. He begins to see that he knew God through each of his loved ones. According to the church and the movie, heaven is a state of being, a place of mind.
    Hell is another place explored in the movie. Chris travels to hell to find his wife. She is there because she turned away from hope and God’s love. The church teaches that hell is the ultimate symbol of our human freedom. There were many Biblical symbols expressed in the film. Darkness is a theme from the Bible, and it was also depicted in the hell from the movie. There were images of fire, torture, and undying decay in the place where Chris was looking for his wife. These images are parallel to the images that the Catholic Church uses to describe hell.
    The concept of self realization was very prevalent in the movie. Annie, Chris’s wife, committed suicide and was therefore not allowed into Chris’s heaven. According to the Doc, Annie didn’t realize that she was dead and could not be convinced of it. This concept correlates with the church’s teaching that we judge ourselves. The teaching says that it is not God who judges us, it is ourselves that ultimately decide our fate. In the movie, the teaching is conveyed through Annie’s suicide. She has chosen to turn away from God, and decides for herself to be damned to hell. She doesn’t realize that she is dead, which makes her transformation into a heavenly being very difficult. Her transformation relates to reconciliation within the church.
    There are also many differences between the movie and the church’s teachings. In the movie, the idea of reincarnation was touched upon toward the end of the film. The church teaches resurrection instead of reincarnation. The movie brought up the discussion of going back as somebody else and being able to find someone from another life. The church would disagree with this idea. Instead, church officials would say that we are transformed and resurrected into something that is ourselves and also something knew.
    Another difference would be the opinions about suicide. In the movie, suicide victims are not sent to heaven, but to a place where darkness and anguish overcome them. Annie is placed in an area that looks much like hell, with screaming and torture surrounding her. The church does not reflect this idea. According to the church, suicide victims are not sent to hell. They instead are seen as victims of mental illness and go to heaven.
    The last difference to bring up is that of who is in hell. In the movie, specific people are in hell. Distinct faces are seen, showing that the hell in the movie was filled with real people. The church does agree with the fact that hell is real, but it does not define with certainty that any particular person is in hell. In this sense, the difference is found.
    In conclusion, the movie does reflect many of the church’s teachings on eschatology. It fairly depicts the concepts of heaven and hell, and could be considered a great learning tool for eschatology students.

    • Kelly Person Says:

      I like the way that you say that he saw God in each of the people in his life. It really goes along with what the church has taught us.

    • John Jaeger Says:

      The fact that you were able to correlate the Catholic idea of seeing the face of God and being in His presence with Chris’s experience of his family and father was an interesting connection. One of the characters in the movie said that God was somewhere above but your view of the characters after death is able to bring God into Chris’s world of heaven and the heaven of all people.

      • Katlyn Putney Says:

        I felt that the movie was different from the church in the way that God was “above” the people in their heaven. I feel that in heaven we will be united with God, and I believe that although in the movie God was “above”, he was actually present in each of the people that sacrificed to help Chris.

    • Jacob Szczech Says:

      Your essay is very well written, I liked how you defined eschatology as an introduction. Reading the essay explained the different views of the church and of the movie very well.

    • mike wasilik Says:

      I like how you talked about the fact that he saw Gods image in all of the people he met. As we believe we will when we get there

    • John Dondero Says:

      Your essays are always very easy to follow. nice job comparing and explaining the similarities and differences.

  3. Kelly Person Says:

    In the movie “What Dreams May Come”, the afterlife is very easily spelled out for most people. The real question is does this movie match the Roman Catholic teachings of eschatology. The three main parts of eschatology are heaven, hell, and purgatory. These three are all illustrated in the movie, but with many similarities and differences.
    The traditional definition of heaven given by the Roman Catholic church is the state of perfect and eternal happiness in God’s presence and with that of all of “the elect” that will be enjoyed after death. In the movie Chris is taken to a place of happiness for him which is actually his wife’s painting. He is meant to spend all eternity there. However, in the movie he is not happy which is not what the teaching of eschatology says will happen. He is unhappy because he is alone and without his family. In the churches teachings it says that you will be with your family that is deceased and has departed the world before you. It’s a comfort to most people to think that when you die you will be reunited with your family. So, the main difference in this movie and the teachings of eschatology is that you will be reunited with the elect in God’s presence.
    The traditional definition of hell is the state of eternal separation from God and punishment for one’s sins. In the movie Chris goes on a mission to find his wife Annie. He does not know if she is in hell or purgatory because of the fact that she committed suicide. Annie is near hell because she could not forgive herself, not because God hadn’t forgiven her. She believed that she had killed her children and her husband so she took her own life. She was then stuck in the place where she was separated from her husband and children and her happiness. This was only because she turned away from God and his love for her. This is the difference between the teaching of eschatology and the movie.
    The traditional definition of purgatory is the state entered by those who die in God’s friendship of purifying them of human selfishness by God’s transforming, healing love so they might live in union with God and others in heaven. Annie is here because she is trying to be purified of her selfishness that she had when she killed herself. Chris goes on a mission to help her and save her. Annie is actually part of the painting that she made before she died. This part of the painting is not that happy part that Chris was in. This shows how we are separated but can be saved.
    “What Dreams May Come” overall is a very good depiction of heaven, hell and purgatory from the Catholic teachings. However, we must not take the movie literally, but look at the true teachings that are taught to us in the Bible.

    • Katlyn Putney Says:

      I like how you talked about the differences between purgatory and hell, and the choices included with each. I like how you discussed how Annie had to be purified of her selfishness that she obtained through her suicide. The way you compared the sad and happy parts of the paintings spoke to me, and it made me think about sad and happy parts in everyone’s lives.

    • Ellie Wood Says:

      I agree with you kelly. You made some good points. I agree

    • Cassie Kujawa Says:

      Very good paper Kelly. We had a lot of the same points. I liked your thoughts on Heaven in the movie and I fully agree.

  4. Frank Gerschke Says:

    Frank Gerschke
    Period 1, DLME
    Mr. Webber
    19 April 2010

    Eschatology Comparison
    The Catholic Church has a very distinct way of looking at death and the afterlife. With the study of eschatology, the branch of theology that deals with the four last things, the church is able to clearly define what they believe in when it comes to the afterlife. The movie “What Dreams May Come” also has its own views about death and the afterlife. In the movie, it portrays death a little differently than the Catholic Church would portray it, but it has the same underlying principles as the Church does. The movie and the Church teachings are fairly similar, and with a few tweaks, the movie could fit in well with the way the Catholic Church views things.
    The first thing that I would like to point out is that the movie has heaven and hell. People who were bad during their lifespan on Earth, or who killed themselves, went to hell, and everyone else went to heaven. The Catholic Church does not believe that people who commit suicide go to hell. This is one part where the movie differs from the Church’s viewpoint. Catholics believe that those who knowingly turn away from God, and refuse to let him into their lives before they die will end up in Hell. The Church doesn’t say that one person is for sure living in hell because they really don’t know if anyone is. However, the Church does say that there is still the possibility of ending up there. The way that the movie related to the teachings is that there is a heaven, and there is a hell. Both parties in this situation believe that, and those two things are a fundamental part of the afterlife.
    With the afterlife in mind, the Church believes that when you are there, you are in a state of mind for eternity. The movie on the other hand shows Chris looking down on his funeral and his wife right after he dies. With the way that things are set up in the Catholic sense, he would never have seen that. He would have been in an eternally happy state of mind where the funeral, and wife, and making her write down the note by getting into her head would not have been possible. The movie does also portray things as your own state of eternal happiness. In this sense, Chris loved paintings, and was in a huge painting as his own personal heaven. That is a way that it follows what the church teaches, but differs a little in it as well.
    One element that does not go along with the Church teaching however is reincarnation. The movie talks about some people getting ready to be reincarnated and go back into the world. This is against what the Church believes. Heaven is the eternal resting place for the soul once the person dies. The body is buried as a whole body in the ground, and when judgment day comes, we will all rise up. Because everyone will rise up on judgment day, there cannot be reincarnation. Once one dies, they stay dead and don’t become something living again. The person spends eternal life in either heaven or hell, and according to the church, that’s just what happens.
    The only part of the movie that really goes against the Catholic Church directly is the small focus on reincarnation. Besides that, the parts of the movie that do not agree with the Church’s teaching can be tweaked in order to go along with the Church’s teaching. The movie does not directly go against the Church with the other matters, it is just a small difference which could be easily fixed. However, I think the movie raises questions that no one knows the answers too. One of my questions is what is heaven? How do we know what it really is like, and how does the Church really know what it is like? Also, how does the Church know that there is a hell either? What if heaven really doesn’t exist? Overall, how does anyone know this exists? After thinking about all of that, I think the matter really just comes down to faith.

  5. Jacob Szczech Says:

    “What Dreams May Come”
    The movie “What Dreams May Come” makes the viewer contemplate of what happens after death. This movie is full of different views on death and even has some characteristics of the Roman Catholic teachings on eschatology. The first to experience death were the children of Chris Nielson and Annie. And eventually the whole family ends up dieing and the movie is all based on the afterlife. In this essay, I will compare and contrast the views of death portrayed by this movie with the Roman Catholic teachings.
    The first comparison that I am going to make with the movie and Roman Catholic teaching is with the death and journey through the afterlife with Chris Nielson, the main character. Chris Nielson enters his afterlife alone, which is the first difference between the two. Chris Nielson is shown walking around a world that is a painted picture, the picture his wife painted and their ideal place of living. Chris is the only person in the picture, and the catholic church teaches along with death, in the afterlife the person becomes united with the rest. Chris Nielson takes a good deal of his journey through afterlife by himself. Another difference between the movie and catholic teaching was the possibility of reincarnation. Chris and the wife were able to choose whether they wanted to stay in Heaven, there ideal place of living or to go back and and be reborn into life. The catholic church teaching goes against the belief of reincarnation and teaches that the soul along with the body go to heaven and stay there for eternity. The last difference between the movie and the teaching of the catholic church came along the lines of the suicide that Annie committed. The catholic church teaches that people who commit suicide do not go to Hell, but do live an afterlife in heaven. In the movie they show Annie after her suicide placed in Hell, when really she could be in heaven. A possibility is that she was judging herself and did not think she was worthy to be in heaven. Chris Nielson ends up changing her view later in the movie.
    Some similarities involved with the movie and the teachings include the idea that the person does not just disappear when they are dead. In the movie, the entire family ends up dieing but they do not disappear. Another similarity between the two is the idea of if you are aware that you exist, then you do. And last is the idea of judgment. The catholic teaching is that we judge our own selves when it comes to heaven or hell. In the movie the characters including, Chris, Annie, and the children are where they are in their afterlife based on their judgment of themselves.

  6. Liesel Hannes Says:

    The movie, “What Dreams May Come” is the story of a man played by Robin Williams who dies and travels through the afterlife. He travels through two places, heaven and hell, two central teachings about the afterlife of the Catholic Church. The things Robin Williams experiences in Heaven and Hell both compare and contrast to the Church’s teaching on the two places.
    For example, similarities and differences between the movie and the Church’s teaching can be found when Robin Williams is in hell. Another character in the movie tells Robin Williams, “hell is for those who don’t know they are dead…you go to hell because you can’t forgive yourself, heaven and hell are all in your mind.” This implies that one does in fact have a choice between heaven and hell. These lines indirectly state its all one’s own making and we have the ultimate choice. This is similar to the teaching of the Catholic Church which is hell is the ultimate symbol of God’s gift of free will to us. The Church teaches we choose hell for ourselves; all our decisions and feelings inside our mind determine our afterlife.
    However some other things are also mentioned to Robin Williams when he is in hell. For instance, the same character says to Williams, “suicides go to hell.” This statement differs from what the Church teaches. The Church does not teach that suicides go to hell. Church teaching 2283 states, “We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.”
    Another thing in the movie that differs from Church teaching happens when Robin Williams is with his wife in heaven. They are very happy to finally be together forever, but at the same time miss the excitement of falling in love for that first time. They have the option to be reincarnated and live again on earth. Because they are literal soul mates in the movie, they will find each other back on earth, and they decide to go back. This is different from the Church because it does not teach reincarnation; it only teaches resurrection of the both the body and soul.
    There is one more similarity between this movie and the teachings of the Catholic Church. The Church teaches in the afterlife in heaven, our complete person, body and soul, will be resurrected. In the movie, Robin Williams is in heaven just as he was on earth. His body and soul were completely resurrected.
    The movie, “What Dreams May Come” has characteristics that are similar to Church teaching such as resurrection and going to hell is a choice. Some characteristics of the movie differ from those teachings of the Catholic Church like, reincarnation and suicides going to hell. This was a very entertaining and educational movie. I was able to compare and contrasts aspects of the the movie to the Church’s teachings, and I gained a better understanding of Church teaching in the process.

    • John Jaeger Says:

      Your recognition and analysis of the idea of choice in the film was able to connect with the Catholic idea of the choice to enter heaven or hell very well. The fact that we are the driving forcing in the decision to enter heaven or hell and not being sent there by God is a common theme presented in both the film, the Catholic Church, and your essay. You presented very comparisons of the afterlife very well in this essay.

      • Liesel Hannes Says:

        Thanks John, that was what most stood out to me in the movie…it was the most prominent comparison between the movie and the beliefs of the catholic church.

  7. Jordan Backes Says:

    Jordan Backes
    April 19th, 2010
    Mr. Webber
    “What Dreams May Come” Eschatology
    In the movie, “What Dreams May Come”, the actor Robin Williams goes through all the aspects a person, what we think, goes through after their death. He goes through his purgatory, Heaven, and Hell. This movie can easily be comparable from what our ideas are about all three of these.
    The first place Williams goes to is purgatory. We learn that it is a “waiting place” for those who do not make it to heave immediately. He is met by one his friends their and he shows him “the ropes” of the place. It is almost his perfect heaven. The paint, in purgatory, is not dry, it is as if it were just painted. He starts his journey there. He has to first believe that he is in heaven, before he can fully reach his heaven. I believe that this is true, that one must believe that they are in their ultimate place before they can reach it.
    His second stop is his heaven. The paint from the drawings is dried and he reaches his perfect living place, that his wife painted during her life. Chris Neilson (Robin Williams) is taken all around his heaven by his friend. We do not ever get to see God, but we can assume he is there because of our knowledge of the past and the Bible. He realizes that everything is perfect there until he finds out that his wife will never be there. He tried running to her, in a scene that looked like another picture she drew, but when he reaches where she is, she is not there. His friend tells him that she has committed suicide and she will never be allowed to come to heaven, by her own power. Heaven is a place for good people to go to when they die and deserve to live happily.
    Chris realizes what he has to do, he has to go to Hell and rescue his wife. He goes with his friend to hell to find his wife. On his journey, he goes through empty, deserted places and a huge lake of dead people who have been sent to hell. He eventually reaches his wife and spend much time with her. They revive old memories and he finally is able to bring her back to heaven. Neilson goes through the many stages of Hell that people imagine. There is a place where many souls are put and a place where those that are very bad end up by themselves. Also, just like Heaven, we never see an image of the Devil or a “leader” of the underworld. I conclude that this underworld is true because I believe that Heaven is true. Because we have one extreme good, we must have one extreme bad.
    “What Dreams May Come” is a very good movie to picture what we believe about purgatory, Heaven and Hell. We must not hold strictly what this movie tells us, but it gives us a very good outline or idea about the three places.

    • Frank Gerschke Says:

      I agree with your thoughts about heaven and hell. The insights about purgatory are also very well said. Nice job Jordan

    • mike wasilik Says:

      I liked how you talked about the painting and it’s significance. It shows how we are taught that Heaven is our perfect paradise as was the painting his.

    • Liesel Hannes Says:

      I never even thought of when the paint is wet, it being his purgatory. But now that I do, you are totally right!

    • Kelly Person Says:

      I like how you point out that there is no definite “leader” in hell.

  8. mike wasilik Says:

    What Dreams May Come gives a very positive prospective of the after-life. What really goes on after this life, only God and those already dead could know, but that is why we have our faith. The Christian view of the after-life was shown through both different and the same characteristics that we believe in. The three main qualities both different and the same between Christianity and What Dreams May Come, are our view of Heaven, what Chris could see right after he died, and the reincarnation at the end of the movie.
    In Christianity, there are a few different views about the after life. First of all though, depending on what level of Christianity you are at there can be 2 or 3 levels of it. The usual views are Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory, while purgatory is not always seen as one of the stages. One view I got from the movie, is that there is a Purgatory. Purgatory is the place where people suffer because they still have sins to confess and once taken care of, they may move onto Heaven. I believe this Purgatory was the mountain range that Chris was following his son around in. Chris was seeing many scenes of his wife swimming and daughter playing, but couldn’t touch them. He had to deal with the pain of them not being around. The other part that is different from my view was the fact that Chris was looking over his body after he did die. Chris was able to witness himself laying on a stretcher and watch his own funeral. I know it is always said that after people die, they watch over us, but I don’t believe that they literally watch their own funerals and such.
    One of the many similarities I found was that on the view of Heaven. Chris did make it to Heaven where he was able to meet his Daughter and finally understand the reasons of his children’s looks. Everything he finds in the paradise is perfect except his wife is not there. This is where my misunderstanding occurred. Chris found out that his wife committed suicide, leading to her committing sin and going to hell. Chris was told and believed that he could go down to hell and if he got her to understand certain things about her children’s death, that they would be able to go to Heaven. He would eventually end up going to the place in Hell where she was, but after many weird events.
    The last difference I saw in What Dreams May Come was that of the reincarnation. Christianity does not believe in the reincarnation, but in the resurrection. That our spirits will come together in an eternity that God has prepared for us. Almost like a paradise. What Chris and his wife went through was a whole different story. Before leaving Heaven, they both said that they would start over and meet again in Jersey. Oddly they would, but not by mistake. Chris’s wife questioned how she would find him again. Chris responded by saying that it was meant and that they were soul mates so it must stay true. Two little children, a boy and girl, were playing on a pier sailing boats. There was imagery when the boats touched that they some how knew each other. So they would end up starting there relationship over.
    Over-all, there were many differences from Christianity and the religious aspects presented in What Dreams May Come. I found many things that I agreed with and many that I didn’t or never heard of. One part that still confuses me, was the part where Chris went to Hell to find his Wife. I couldn’t understand as he passed through so many levels and stages just to reach her. Other-wise I thought the director did a great job revealing these aspects of not just Christianity, but of others as well.

    • Jordan Backes Says:

      Michael, I agree with the Heaven image that you set up. This movie really does almost agree exactly with the Church’s image.

    • Liesel Hannes Says:

      I agree with the reincarnation difference between the movie and catholicism. I put that in my paper too. Good job!

  9. Cassie Kujawa Says:

    Cassie Kujawa
    Mr. Webber
    20 April 2010
    What Dreams May Come Essay
    Eschatology is defined as the study of the ‘last things,’ (death, judgment, heaven, and hell) and the coming of the fullness of the kingdom of God. Everyones ideas of life after death slightly differ, but the Roman Catholic church has very strict beliefs of what exactly happens. In the 1998 movie, What Dreams May Come, the producers views and beliefs are shown with great reality. Some of his ideas agree with Roman Catholic teachings and some greatly differ. Throughout this paper I will discus those similarities and differences.
    In the movie the main characters wife, Annie, commits suicide after becoming very depressed over the death of her two children. Later in the movie we found out the Annie resides in hell because she committed the great sin of suicide. Seven people in the Bible committed suicide, the two most notable being Judas and Samson. Their stories show that people take their lives for all different reasons, and we here on earth have no right to judge that. After the Second Vatican and the church’s switch to more modern theological views they changed their stance on this topic. Now the Roman Catholic church no longer believes that if you take your own life, you automatically go to hell. The new rule states that if you take your own life, you are mentally ill, and God will not judge you on the time of your life when you were not in the right state of mind. Instead, God will judge your life prior to becoming mentally ill. In the movie, Annie seems to be a wonderful person, and the church teaches she still has as much of an equal opportunity than anyone to go to heaven. Concerning suicide, the movie and church’s teachings greatly differ.
    The second comparison I find to be interesting is the concept of reincarnation in the film. At the end of the movie, sole mates Chris and Annie are brought back together after death by being reborn into children who meet once again. Even though this is a nice idea, the church does not believe it could ever happen. Roman Catholics believe that once a person passes they are judged by God and and where ever they go is where they stay. If a person goes to heaven, the ultimate place of bliss, why would you want to go back down to earth again? In this instance the movie and church’s beliefs do not agree.
    Heaven in the movie is very different than I imagine it to be. It is depicted as a yellow-ish place with buildings and streams. From what the Bible says it is a place up in the clouds, with shades of blue, and God’s presence. No where in the movie did God appear.
    Even though What Dreams May Come is an interesting movie to watch, it does not agree much with Roman Catholic church teachings. There are far more differences than similarities.

  10. Ellie Wood Says:

    What Dreams May Come
    Eschatology is a study that can be researched, but not truly be proved. It is a study of love and faith, in which we believe our outcome. When it comes to Hollywood and Roman Catholic teachings, they usually clash heads. One thing that always seems to be a central focal point is that, the afterlife and our heaven/hell is how we want it to be, it’s our own vision of what it will really look like. What makes us happy/sad in this life, can only benefit us in the next. Hell is always portrayed as a dark, ominous evil place through scripture, these images come to life through this movie. Heaven is shown as everything we could possibly want, for it’s what we worked for in the previous life.
    When it comes down to Roman Catholic teachings and reincarnation, the church takes a rather firm stand against it. We as a church believe that there is no going back and heaven or hell is where we stay. In “What Dreams May Come,” the man and his wife get reincarnated together to live again on earth. Life is precious, it can’t just be lived again. This is what the church also believes, as do I. Maybe life doesn’t end after heaven, but if we were to be reincarnated, we would have no idea that we were living in a past life. Not to mention, this movie made it seem like it was way too simple to be reincarnated. You’re in heaven, the place that is everything anyone could ever want, and someone would choose to go back to an imperfect world?
    Another difference I realized in the movie is that Jesus, or God was no where to be seen. In our faith and in the church we know that God or Jesus will welcome us with open arms. In the movie, “What Dreams May Come,” the man is just greeted by a man who turns out to be his son. Jesus is not even mentioned when he reaches heaven. With our faith, we believe that Jesus and God are the biggest part of heaven, for it is God’s kingdom that we are welcomed to in the next life. Everyone’s perception of heaven and hell is different, but we believe that there is judgment when we enter the kingdom. The movie does not depict this, but rather the soul enters heaven and just becomes one amongst the others of the kingdom.
    In conclusion, there are many similarities and differences between our Roman Catholic teachings and the views of Hollywood. Everyone wants to believe in a life after death, even if someone is an atheist, they have a view of a possibility of what happens to you after death, sometimes that’s reincarnation. Faith is on the side of the church, but creativity is apart of Hollywood. Who said both can’t be right? For no one knows for sure what truly lies beyond death.

    • Cassie Kujawa Says:

      Nice paper Ellie. In my paper, I had the same views on reincarnation, i especially agreed with “Life is precious, it can’t just be lived again.”

  11. John Dondero Says:

    John Dondero
    Mr. Weber
    There are some similarities as well as differences that are shared between the film “What Dreams May Come” and the Roman Catholic teachings on eschatology. Some are minor differences and some are very big differences.
    One of the big differences between the film and the Catholic teaching is the fact of being judged after death. In the film, “What Dreams May Come”, it was mentioned that there were no judges to decide if you go to heaven or hell. The Catholic teaching, however, requires an intermediate step called “particular judgement.” This is the time where after a person has died he or she is judged by God and then is rewarded by being let go to heaven, or punished by being sent to hell.
    Another difference is the thought of where a person who has committed suicide goes. The film suggests that anyone who has committed suicide is sent to hell. Currently, the Roman Catholic teachings on this subject say that just because someone has committed suicide does not mean that they are automatically sent to hell. They are judged the same way as everyone else. However, in the film, Robin Williams was able to rescue his wife from hell and bring her back to heaven. This is significant because until recently the church teaching was that people who commit suicide do go to hell, and now that has changed. Now, there is a more human approach during the “particular Judgement” that seems to take into consideration the reasons behind the suicide, taking into consideration illness such as depression and that the Catholic church seems to recognize the forgiveness hat God so naturally has.
    A similarity between the film and the teachings on eschatology is the supernatural abilities that one has. The film suggests that people in heaven can move through the world as fast as they can think, they can fly, and are beautiful and never age. The teachings on eschatology say the same thing depicted in the film. People in heaven will never age, move through space at the speed of thought, have supernatural beauty and radiance, and have the ability to pass through matter. These abilities enhance the unending joy that is heaven.
    Another similarity is the depiction of hell. The film shows it as a dark uninviting place consumed in flames completely separated from God where there is eternal suffering and pain. This is not unlike what the Catholic teachings say what hell is. It says that hell is the complete separation from God’s love. Our free will makes hell a real possibility after death. The Bible describes several depictions of hell such as “place of darkness,” “eternal torment”, “where the worms of decay never die,” and “Eternal wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
    The Film “What Dreams May Come” gives some idea to the Roman Catholic teachings on eschatology. It has some similarities, however there are some differences between them as well.

  12. alex nikolai Says:

    “What Dreams May Come”
    The movie “What dreams may come” provides and interesting take on the afterlife. There is some interesting similarities between the church’s teachings and the movie. I do enjoy the movies take on certain things because I think if there is an afterlife the very well could be true.
    One of the biggest differences between the movie and the church is the existence of reincarnation in the movie. Obviously, the church teaches that this is not true. I do not particularly agree with the movie’s approach to it. In my opinion people who achieve heaven would not choose to go back to the world of suffering. I would understand it if you could go back to the world and remember heaven. This way you could help people see the light, but you would just forget everything and this would be somewhat pointless.
    One thing I not agree with the church or or the movie about on is suicide. I know that there is many cases of suicide which are wrong, but a person committing suicide should not mean someone goes hell. Both the church and the movie have had this view. Though in recent days the church is backing off from this attitude. If God has the attitude that someone who commits suicide cannot go to heaven, then I do not want to have that God. The truth is we have no idea what God’s view of suicide is. My problem with the church is it seems to have the stance that anything can be forgiven except for suicide. They have said that even Hitler could be forgiven if he sought it out. While someone who kills themselves cannot. There is definitely something wrong with this picture.
    The woman in the movie lost her children and the man who she loves. Who is it to say that it is wrong for her to kill herself. I would imagine it is nearly impossible to live with a pain like that. If she did not have pain in her that at least gave her suicidal thoughts I would question her sanity. The movie however show that hell can be broken out of with true love. So I will give the movie some credit for at least saying hell is a definite and insurmountable prison.
    In truth all of this is really just a guest of what the afterlife will be like. There may be nothing, there may be heaven, there may be hell. In truth if there is something after this life we probably could not understand it. We do not think on the level of gods. It would be like explaining Einstein’s most complicated theories to a three year old. It is not that the theories are impossible the are just impossible for the three year old to understand.

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