Graveyard Shift
326 voters

Every Interpretation Of Hell We Could Find, Ranked By How Little You’d Like To Be There

Updated November 15, 2019 1.5k votes 326 voters 14k views15 items

List RulesVote up the least appealing ways to spend eternity.

The unfortunate fact of life is that everyone will eventually meet their end. What happens next is a matter of personal belief. Both modern and defunct religions have their own take on hell, and while most interpretations of the afterlife are as ruthless as any horror film, there are a few versions of hell that are downright placid. 

Throughout history, humans have told tales and painted images of many different versions of hell. There’s the peaceful, meditative afterlife of the Celtic religion, as well as the boiling, blood-filled hereafter of the Mayans. People may not get to pick where they go after they expire, but you get to vote on which interpretation of hell you’d rather not spend eternity in. 

  • 1

    Christians Believe In The Kingdom Of Hell

    Photo: Gustave Doré / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Belief System: Christianity

    The Hell: The Christians' fiery pit has the suffocating smell of brimstone, demons that serve at the behest of their overlord Satan (and his hierarchy of demons), rivers of fire, scalding water, and snakes. There's nothing hopeful or fun about their version of the underworld, and unfortunately, it's one of the easiest to get into. 

    The Worst Part: Unlike many of the hells in both Western and Eastern religions, there's no way out of the Christian hell. Once you're drowning in a lake of fire, that's it. There's no way to repent for your sins and no chance of earning a way to limbo - and especially not to heaven. As bad as the lake of fire and the constant presence of Satan sounds, theologians have stated the worst part of hell is being separated from God for eternity. 

    Is this an unappealing afterlife?
  • 2

    Those Who Break Wiccan Laws Are Sent To Christian Hell

    Photo: Mauricio García Vega / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    The Belief System: Wicca

    The Hell: There are different trains of thought about what hell means to Wiccans. Some believers feel that heaven and hell are what you make of it. However, Gerald Gardner, an English Wiccan, believed wholeheartedly in the concept of a Christian hell. Gardnerian Wiccans maintain there's a fiery pit of brimstone waiting for Wiccans who slip up and break the laws of their religion .

    The Worst Part: Can you imagine anything worse for a follower of a pagan religion than to wind up in the hell of the mainstream monotheistic religion? There's no escape from hell , and it's a drag that someone can be condemned to an eternity of hellfire just for breaking a vague rule. If a soul can maintain some semblance of memory in hell, the knowledge that their punishment doesn't fit the offense must be horrible.

    Is this an unappealing afterlife?
  • 3

    In Ancient Egypt, The Condemned Were Sent To An Upside-Down Realm

    Photo: Hunefer / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Belief System: Ancient Egyptian

    The Hell: Whether you're good or evil, getting through the underworld in ancient Egypt is a nightmare. Even if you're going to heaven, you still have to fight your way through demons that wait at the gates. If you're sent to hell, you're stuck in a world of pain and misery. 

    The Worst Part: Souls in this ancient Egyptian hell are wiped into nonexistence, but not before they experience a gauntlet of agony. In this religion, a soul still means a body, so the deceased can have their organs torn out and their own refuse shoved in their mouths. In some instances, evildoers are put into ovens. Others are squeezed dry by Shezmu, the god of the wine, and forced to drown in their own blood. 

    Is this an unappealing afterlife?
  • 4

    Diyu Is An Underground Maze Full Of Inhumane Punishment

    The Belief System: Buddhism

    The Hell: In this version of hell, souls are meant to work their way through multiple levels and mazes in order to atone for their sins, as well as learn lessons they can take into the next life. Some lore divides the afterworld into east and west sections, with chambers designated for all manner of ironic punishment.

    The Worst Part: This really depends on what someone's been doing with their time on Earth. Each level of Diyu corresponds to a different sin, so if someone was prone to gossip, they'll have their tongue torn out, if they committed infidelity, they'll have their fingers chopped off with scissors. Arsonists are tied to pillars of burning copper. As bad as those fates sound, the absolute worst has to be the mountain made of knives that is reserved for anyone who slays for pleasure. The sinners have to climb it.

    Is this an unappealing afterlife?