Eternal damnation the religious doctrine that some people will suffer an eternity in hell. They have no prospect for respite or rescue, either because of predestination or because of choices they made in their earthly lives. Compare to universalism (everyone goes to heaven without exception) and annihilationism (instead of being eternally punished, the damned just cease to exist). Eternal damnation has been by far the majority viewpoint in the history of Christianity, across all its main branches - Catholicism, Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy. However, a few denominations exist which hold instead to alternative views.