[quote=mark a]My bad.
My question presumed that many mainstream protestants reject Catholic beliefs of eternal life (i.e. a person’s soul is alive and aware after his earthly death, not in a state of “soul sleep”).
Is this presumption incorrect? Let me know if I can further confuse you.
Actually, Mark there are only a handful (or fewer) denominations that believe in “soul sleep” (the state of the believer resting in the grave until the resurrection when Christ shall come and raise the person - body, soul and spirit into heaven).
Only groups like the Seventh-Day Adventists believe in “soul-sleep”. That’s the only specific group I know personally that espouses that doctrine as official church teaching. Other groups or individuals may believe that, but they are not official teachings of their respective churches.
Mainstream denoms believe that believers who die go to heaven directly and that others (unbelievers) go directly to hell. The resurrection comes later when spirit is re-united with the body and the general judgement of believers begins which is the “rewarding ceremony”.
I must mention that for unbelievers the belief is that they are personally judged after death (“it is appointed unto men once to die and after this, the judgement”) and are sentenced to their destination of hell, while believers have already been justified and need no further judgement or purifying.
Just wanted to help you understand the “mainstream” theology a little better.