A Heaven and Hell Comparison

Basic Information and Definition of Heaven and Hell

One of the biggest questions humans have asked is: Is there life after death? Most of the world's major religions have answered "Yes" to that question. Is your destination heaven or hell? The world's biggest faith, Christianity, clearly teaches life after death, but a believer ends up in one of two places: heaven or hell. Catholics believe in purgatory too, a cleansing process that makes souls ready for heaven. However, it is not a final destination and no one in purgatory ends up in hell.

Heaven is described in the Bible and Christian tradition in ideal terms. The believer in heaven beholds the face of God (called in Catholic thought the "beatific vision"), is freed from sin, never experiences sickness and, above all, will never die again. Heaven, unlike Earth, is timeless, so the person in heaven will never experience boredom, for example.

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Hell is ultimately willful separation of the human from God. This occurs through rejecting God either outright through unbelief or through choosing mortal sin, which also leads to hell. Hell is often described in terms of fire and brimstone, but these may be metaphorical. As a result of being separate from God, hell is as painful as heaven is pleasurable, although once again this pain is best understood as spiritual, not material.

So, who goes to heaven, and who goes to hell? Obviously, the world religions differ, but Christians teach that only through God's grace can a person go to heaven. Typically, the normal way for this to happen is through Jesus Christ, but Catholics and many Christians recognize that God's mercy and grace are very wide. This means that there is hope of salvation for all people that cooperate with the limited knowledge they might have been given. So, a Hindu who loves his neighbor will have a chance for heaven. Hell is reserved for those who reject Christ and/or fail to do good with the knowledge they have been given.