There are two variants on the viewpoint:
- The predominant view is that there is no real place called Hell: the wicked simply are annihilated and cease to exist after death. (This differs from atheistic teaching about no life after death, in that the righteous would go to Heaven.)
- An alternate viewpoint is that the wicked will be punished in Hell for only a time, after which they would cease to exist.
- A variant on this would teach that Hell is reserved only for the "most wicked"; the term is not specifically defined by those who teach it but is generally accepted to refer to persons who historically are considered evil (e.g., Hitler, Stalin, Timothy McVeigh).
The teaching is frequently held by groups which are traditionally considered cults (e.g., Seventh-Day Adventists, Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses). However, with the decline of Biblical inerrancy in most mainline Christian denominations it has become prevalent there. But within evangelical, fundamentalist, and Pentecostal/charismatic groups (along with Catholic and Orthodox ones) it is still considered to be heretical.