Your Chances of Going to Hell: Good

Consider your chances for going to Hell. There are ways to get there by doing things and ways to get there by not doing things in your lifetime. Each of the world’s religions that believe in Hell (or equivalent) have a different set of rules. Despite what we say to each other and to ourselves late at night, no one on Earth knows for sure which of these religions is “the one true faith” or if any of them are. Take a deep breath. You’re probably going to Hell.

I’ll be more specific. First, there’s the more serious, torturous Underworld where bad things are inflicted on you as punishment for eternity. The next section of Hell would be Purgatory/Limbo, which is everything from a mere waiting room for Heaven, a school Principal’s office, or a holding cell to a re-education camp where you go through the cycle of life again to try to get it right this time. Finally there’s another post-Life fate that is possible for some or all of us: Disassembly. This is what Atheists believe is in store for all of us, but may only be in store for the Atheists. Still, it’s the Hell we’re all most afraid of–the dissolution of our memories, the scattering of our spirit, the erasure of our name.

Considering the number of world religions and their often diametrically opposed requirements for entry into the life everlasting, each of us has better-than-even odds of going to Hell of some sort. Below is a breakdown of your chances, based on general observations of the world’s biggest religions:

  • Christianity: While it varies a little between the two main Catholic forks and the several Protestant branches, basically “accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior” is enough to get you into Heaven. The Bible promises in Romans 10:9 “that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

      Good News For:

      • Christians, since this is basically the key to their belief, that Jesus atoned for all of our sins, including the first sins of Adam and Eve. Confessing your sins and believing in Jesus is the key to Heaven.

      Bad News For:

      • Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and everyone else who doesn’t sign up for Team Jesus–about 66% of the world’s population in 2002, according to
      • Also, may be bad news for non-Catholics, since they also believe in Purgatory, which can be a post-life sentence for those who believe in Jesus but don’t follow the Church’s rules.

      Best Case Scenario: 2 billion people are going to Heaven.

  • Islam: The primary criterion for salvation here is exclusive belief in Allah, the maker of all things, as the one and only God. According to the FAQ about Islam, “Worship of anyone other than Allah is the greatest sin. It is called shirk, and this is not forgiven except through repentance.” The Koran tells of signs that presage the coming Judgement that include objects that talk (cell phones, check), much killing without justification (double-check), the Antichrist will come (unverified reports currently abound), the prophet Jesus Christ will return (no sign of him yet), and the last sign before the day of Judgement: The sun will rise in the West–one wonders if a hydrogen bomb detonation would qualify.

      Good News For:

      • Muslims, but only those who have led good, moral lives. Those who’ve earned or paid interest on loans, eaten pork, or who have done other things forbidden by the Koran will have a lot to answer for.
      • Jews who died before the Koran was revealed–they’ve got a rock-solid alibi for not being Muslim.

      Bad News For:

      • Christians, Hindus, and any one who worships a God other than (or alongside) Allah.

      Best Case Scenario: 1.3 billion people are going to Paradise.

  • Hinduism: Hindus believe that our actions on earth (karma) directly influence our fate after we die. In most cases, they believe, we will be re-incarnated into a new life where we will see the fruits of our karma, i.e. wickedness in one life leads to suffering in the next. The goal for Hindus is liberation (moksha) from this cycle of rebirths to achieve a permanent, blissful union with the creator (parabrahman).
      Good News For:

      • Everyone, since Hinduism is not an exclusive religion. According to Hinduism A Perspective, “Hinduism welcomes the pure knowledge from all horizons as well as can provide the paths for the whole world, with no exceptions, to lead a life that is relishable and that takes to the ever lasting Eternal Bliss.”
      • Your pets, since Hindus believe that all life is welcomed into the eternal bliss.

      Bad News For:

      • Everyone, since it will take a lot of good work to escape the cycle of rebirths, and because there’s a good chance most of us are going back to the drawing board, which is a kind of Hell in and of itself. Karma is like an accounting system, and some sects believe that even accidentally killing a bug accrues credits in your account.

      Best Case Scenario: We are all going to Heaven, eventually. 900 million Hindus have a head start.

  • Secular: According to, the Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist category is the fourth-largest world belief. It’s difficult to summarize such a wide array of beliefs (or non-beliefs) aside from saying that they don’t know or don’t care about the afterlife. Without the promise of reward or punishment in the afterlife, these people follow a moral belief system based in day-to-day custom and practice.

      Good News For:

      • People who sleep in on the Sabbath. If there is no afterlife, then we all qualify for the Hell of disassembly. If there is an afterlife or a judgement, chances are we’ll be judged more on the good we’ve done rather than the dogmatic hoops we’ve jumped through.

      Bad News For:

      • Devout people everywhere. Your prayers, your candles your incense, your dancing, and your singing were for naught…unless you had a good time doing it.

      Best Case Scenario: Everyone is going to become one again with the stars.

  • Other Religions: The rest of the world, about 923 million, adhere to a wide assortment of other religions. Buddhism and traditional Chinese religions are the bulk of that total, but there are also indigenous religions, Judaism, Unitarians, Neo-Pagans, and even Scientologists.

      Good News For:

      • The believers of any of those individual religions, since they’re most likely to get to that afterlife or be prepared for it.

      Bad News For:

      • 92% or more of the world who may be losing the religion lottery.

      Best Case Scenario: Depends on which of these religions you’re looking at.

3 replies on “Your Chances of Going to Hell: Good”

UPDATE: Any one person’s chance of going to Hell might be overstated in this post (Hooray!). I just finished reading Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife and in the final chapter on life after death experiences (LDEs) notes that in scientific studies of these there are “very few” frightening or disturbing experiences reported. The author relates one LDE of a mafia bagman who, stabbed and bleeding, felt bathed in the warm love of God while he floated outside his body. The guy came back, quit his job, and now works with kids.

I think you’re being very generous in your out comes. For instance, there are over 35,000 denominations of Christianity, each one believing that they are the only true church of Christ. So even if you narrowed down the “one true faith” to Christianity, you still only have 1 in 35,000 chance of reaching heaven, and thats not including your sins, etc. If you were to work out the total of every denomination of every religion that ever existed, it would be interesting to work out what your chance actually are of getting to heaven. My guess, pretty slim.

To the above comment. No, that is not true; many, if not all denominations believe that all denominations are the all-encompassing body of Christ. Most segregations within the church are based on different interpretations of doctrines…which rarely conflict with the foundation of Christianity. Don't be surprised if you see a 'Catholic' and a 'Baptist' doing ministry together.
There are some which completely contractict certain truths, which is a fallacy and cannot be genuinely Christian though. Ex.) Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Malborough Baptist Church…

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