Talk:Mystery:What Percentage Go To Hell?

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Even if you go into Kabbalahistic or numerological arguments (the obvious answer is 666‰), the whole thing is amusingly silly - so it's a nice break from more serious business like translating the Bible correctly. AugustO 18:01, 20 September 2011 (EDT)

Nothing "amusing" about this. There is a correct answer - a specific percentage. What is it?--Andy Schlafly 18:25, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
Unknown to all but god.--SeanS 18:26, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
The precise percentage may be unknown, but estimates are surely possible. For example, the percentage must be less than 100%, and more than 0%.--Andy Schlafly 18:27, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
The number I gave (80 at best/most optimistic, and up to 90 at most pessimistic/realistic) tends ot be the one ive seen the most. I am questioning the includion of the percentage of US church goers, as that only includes people in the states.--SeanS 18:30, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
Your insight about this is superb. I moved your edit higher in the table.--Andy Schlafly 18:38, 20 September 2011 (EDT)

To make my point clear:

  • either you get your number by some juggling with numbers and verses (i.e., using numerologic methods). This always strikes me as silly
  • or you pretend to know which criteria God uses to judge us - and then judge your fellow Christians against those: and that sounds downright blasphemous: 1 Samuel 16:7
for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

AugustO 02:59, 21 September 2011 (EDT)

The "not-so-fun" part

Anyone who rejects the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ is doomed to hell. God is patient; people have plenty of chances and opportunities with which to accept Christ...but only while they're alive. After death is the judgement, and unfortunately there's going to be a huge percentage of people going there then going to Heaven. So, time to make the choice now. Karajou 18:33, 20 September 2011 (EDT)

Assuming that the person so doomed has been informed that such a gift is available. What happens to those who live the whole of their lives without hearing the Gospel? AsherL 18:38, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
Same thing. Still judged because they still fall short of the standards of god--SeanS 18:41, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
@AsherL, his page [1] could probably explain it better than I could. Karajou 18:46, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
Thank you for the link to that page Karajou; having read it I am disturbed by the author's logic over whether God sees the unproselytized as being "basically innocent"...or "basically guilty"
"When you look at the teeming masses of the world wholly apart from the gospel, the Bible or Christianity in general, are they innocent or guilty in the eyes of God?"
I don't know about you but I'd rather be judged by my own actions rather than be "lumped in" with a bunch of people I have no control. Even though my own actions would send me to Hell at least I'm damned by my own hand, as it were, rather than as a general principle.
But I rest assured that when God looks at me He sees Jesus, not because of anything I have done (or not done) but because of the free gift of Christ's precious blood which covers me and the whole of my stink.
I think we don't actually know what happens to people so situated and should redouble our own efforts at proselytizing wherever we can and give liberally to Missions work whenever we can. AsherL 19:09, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
How don't we know? Either you believe in Christ and go to heaven, or you go to hell. Purgatory, Limbo and the Virtuous pagan are not biblical.--SeanS 19:12, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
The page Karajou linked to says that the "default" of a person is "sinner" hence an unsaved person is sent to Hell since they do not have the covering that Christ gives freely. A person though who lives their lives in accordance to their own religious (read: other than Christian) tradition and is faithful to that tradition would have (probably) been a good Christian had they had been given the opportunity to become one. The accident of being born in the "wrong" country or wrong time shouldn't be counted against a person...again, I think God knows better who would have accepted Christ (had they heard the Gospel) and who would have rejected the free gift. AsherL 19:21, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
That is dangerously close to the Liberal Christian concept that anybody is saved as long as they follow the religion they choose faithfully, and I really recommend you read the bible some more. --SeanS 19:24, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
Or what, exactly? AsherL 19:26, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
Matthew 7:22/23 is the fate of Liberal Christians. --SeanS 19:29, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
Ah, I see! Well I certainly wouldn't want the action of believing the wrong thing to damn me. But notice how Jesus informs those folk: "I never knew you..." which would suggest that this couldn't be a thing that just happens (one doesn't believe sillier and sillier things and all of a sudden you end up "losing" your salvation). No, it tells us that Jesus knows those who are truly His and who're trying to get one over on the Lord, boasting over their own works. Nice try though, trying to scare me. AsherL 19:38, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
I never said that was your fate, i was warning you that the statement "god knows who WOULD have been christian given the chance" is very close and pretty much Universalism-lite. --SeanS 19:42, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
So everyone who died before Jesus is in Hell? Including Adam, Moses, Joshua, David (well, everyone in the Old Testament) along with such figures as John the Baptist? Along with every human who goes through life without hearing of Jesus? Seems a bit unfair. And contrary to theological doctrine. This was postulated and refuted by Thomas Aquinas, a Doctor of the Church, in his' Summa Theologiae (c.1240); indeed he rejects this idea in Vol. 55, 52-55, as antithetical to the teachings of Christ's Harrowing of Hell. It's a long discredited concept in scholarly theology, and if true, would mean that over 99.99% (recurring) of humanity is in Hell for failing to worship a God they had never even heard of. RexBanner 20:29, 20 September 2011 (EDT)

But you have heard of Jesus, so where do you stand in this? Do you reject Him or accept Him? Karajou 20:32, 20 September 2011 (EDT)

I accept Him; that's quite evident. What I am saying is that there is a distinction (dating even further than Aquinas; we can find it in City of God Bk. 11 Ch.1 (c.410 AD) between (1) people who know about Jesus, yet willingly reject Him, and (2) people who never heard of Him in the first place. The citation of Matthew 7:22-23 (above) is precisely that - Jesus is not saying what will happen to those who have never heard of Him, He is explaining what will happen to those who heard of Him yet choose to reject Him. RexBanner 20:36, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
the harrowing of hell isnt even biblical, And no, those who were jewish are a different case. a nd i dispute Thomas's authority because he isnt above the bible--SeanS 20:50, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
The Harrowing of Hell is referenced in: Matthew 12:40, Acts 2:31 and 2:27, and 1 Peter 3:19-20. It is indeed Biblical. On what basis do you state that Jews who died before Christ are granted entry into Heaven? What Scriptural verses are you using? And as for "Jews", that would necessarily exclude all Old Testament figures who died prior to the giving of the Mosaic Code in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. So are Adam and Noah in Hell for being neither Christian nor Jew? Lastly; I agree with you that Thomas Aquinas is not above the Bible, therefore his authority is questionable. But you are also not above the Bible; so logically, your authority is just as questionable as mine or Aquinas'. Forgive me, I don't wish this to be a divisive issue and I intend no disresepct whatsoever. I am simply pointing out that we must be mindful of the distinction between those who consciously reject Christ's gift, and those who are unaware of it in the first place. RexBanner 20:59, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
There isnt a distinction though. All who havent, whether they have heard or not, accepted christ go to hell. the bible is VERY specific about that. --SeanS 21:01, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
Forgive me Sean but you didn't answer the above questions. What parts of Scripture support your view that all non-Christians (regardless of whether or not they have heard of Him) go to Hell; what parts of Scripture support your assertion that Jews go to Heaven even though they are not Christians; and what about pre-Mosaic Code patriarchs? RexBanner 21:13, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
John 14:6 Seems pretty specefic about that. As for the pre-christians jews, the fact they followed god would seem to prove. Why would god waste time telling them to do any of his laws if they couldnt go to heaven til around 33 AD anyways?--SeanS 21:19, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
So using John 14:6, it seems that Jews do not go to Heaven as they have not accepted Christ. If we use the logic that they are worshipping the same Triune Godhead, thereby tacitly accepting Christ as a part of the Godhead, then by that same logic it could be argued that all descendants of Abraham (including the Muslims, in their own eyes) go to Heaven, as they worship the same Godhead regardless of whether or not they accept Jesus. However, I don't intend to debate this ad nauseum as this is a peripheral issue and one which should not be divisive to Brothers in Christ. And of course, both our opinions are equally as valid, as no man (including us) is in authority above the Word of the Lord! Also I don't wish to clog up an official Talk Page. Perhaps we could continue our discussions privately via email? Blessings be with you, Sean. RexBanner 21:27, 20 September 2011 (EDT)

JW view

@SeanS - Is it OK if I put that back in? After all, technically the JWs believe that only 144,000 will actually go to heaven. --LesCoyle 20:57, 20 September 2011 (EDT)

No, because that isnt the same as the rest going to hell. Theres a lot more JW then 144,000, and the deadline for heaven closed back in the early 1900's. The rest of the JW are going to go to, i think its like earth but better, but not heaven,. They certainly aren't going to hell. And that is one of the main reasons they are heretics.--SeanS 21:04, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
OK, fair point! I'll leave it then. --LesCoyle 21:07, 20 September 2011 (EDT)

Trying to look past the Rayleigh limit

In Pathology we use microscopes a lot. The magnification power of light microscopes has not improved in the last 200 years, the reason for this is light diffraction, a bit off the point of the metaphor. Anyways back on point, there is a limit to how small an object we can see with a microscope, a ribosome for instance cannot be satisfactorily observed, it's just too small, too far from reach; if you increase the curvature of the lens you can make the ribosome appear large enough to see, but when you've got it that large the light diffraction will scatter the image and make it impossible to resolve. So when you have an answer at hand there is no way to tell if it's right or not and when you have the means to tell if you've got the right answer you've got nothing to test it on. You're trying to see behind a veil to a matter that is God's alone. Hopefully that made some sense, yesterday was a long night in the lab :( --DrDean 18:38, 20 September 2011 (EDT)

Don't you have electron microscopes? Sure, you can't examine live specimens, but you can certainly see ribosomes--CamilleT 19:09, 21 September 2011 (EDT)
Oh yes, but a) I don't use them and b) there is the same kind of limit on electron microscopes, I just don't want to go into the quantum explanations, don't miss the point ;) --DrDean 00:15, 22 September 2011 (EDT)


This reminds me of a short story by Philip Jose Farmer in which a hallucinating priest sees Hell and decides there is no justice in such a fate, and he takes it upon himself to try and replace every single damned soul. He spends the night running about the city trying to spare Hell's denizens as much pain as he can.--CamilleT 18:23, 20 September 2011 (EDT)

Perhaps the story is an attempt to downplay or deny Hell? Denying something doesn't change reality.--Andy Schlafly 18:26, 20 September 2011 (EDT)
I think it was just a commentary on martyrdom. The hallucination was just a hallucination, and I didn't see it as an allegorical statement (as in "religion is an illusion). I saw it as a touching, moving example of a man's commitment to good. Of course, I can't pretend to know a Catholic perspective better than a Catholic. --CamilleT 02:40, 21 September 2011 (EDT)

Lower limit

According to, only 33% of the worlds population identifies as Christian, so surely the percentage must be more than 67%? Unless we are talking US only here, in which case it could be lower (but I doubt it). --MaxB 12:23, 21 September 2011 (EDT)

Please edit as you think best.--Andy Schlafly 13:27, 21 September 2011 (EDT)
I suppose it depends on one's view of salvation.
  • If one is an Episcopalian, standards are far more lenient, and even non-Christians are seen as viable candidates for heaven. Calvinists, however, believe most people are predestined for Hell.
  • Mormons do not necessarily have a Hell, but (from what my Mormon friends have told me) several tiers of exaltation, the bottom two being one plane meant to teach wayward souls about God, and the Outer Darkness: reserved for the very worst apostates.
  • Catholicism has Limbo and Purgatory for those that don't quite deserve Hell, but don't deserve Heaven either (is Heaven capitalized?). And purgatory is often a step to Heaven.
  • Many Protestants believe that the only those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their lord and savior (in whatever fashion they might interpret this concept- Jack Chick, for example, excludes Catholics and anyone else he doesn't like) can go to Heaven, and the rest go to Hell and sometimes eventually the "lake of fire" (I had a friend which said this was oblivion).
Also, is this the percentage of people today that are headed for damnation, or people in general? The poster below me factors in the 100 billion people assumed to have ever lived on Earth. If that is so, then can it safely be assumed that everyone before Jesus Christ except for devout Jews are currently in Hell? What about uncontacted peoples?
In which Christian cosmologies do Jews go to Heaven? Some seem to assume that being Jewish is as good as being Christian, while others see the Jews as totally damned. And if Jews go to Heaven, what about Samaritans?
If we have a sufficiently dedicated mathematician among us, perhaps they can create an algorithm to generate estimates based on all of these unknowns.--CamilleT 17:06, 21 September 2011 (EDT)
I picked my number based on total population ever mostly, and partially on current population, more or less, which leaves little in the way of low numbers. And yes, non-devout jews and non-contacts are in hell, per bible passages supporting this. And the lake of Fire is the "Second death", reserved for the rebellious angels and anybody not in christ after the end of the millennium. --SeanS 17:11, 21 September 2011 (EDT)
Hell is also a Muslim concept, although it is reserved for those that Allah judges to be truly wicked and is not necessarily for all eternity. KhalidM 17:15, 21 September 2011 (EDT)
I'm pretty sure this page was intended from a Christian perspective.--CamilleT 17:19, 21 September 2011 (EDT)
Well, I have added a Muslim perspective! KhalidM 17:20, 21 September 2011 (EDT)

A mathematical approach

I'm trying to approach this as a mathematician (they same way I approach everything), and I have a question. One estimate I've heard on the Earth's total cumulative population is around 100 billion, which seems a fairly reasonable assumption to me. However, perhaps 30-40% of these lives resulted in deaths before the age of one. Add to that, when you count abortions and miscarriages in the total population, it jumps up to around 200 billion (I can't seem to find that statistic right now ~ it could be off, but I'll go with it.) Figuring out how many Christians have ever lived is tricky, but an estimate can be made, so I have my numerator (maybe 20 billion, with a back-of-the-envelope calculation). However, what denominator should I use? I'm interested in hearing various theological opinions; should I use 100 billion, the amount that were born alive? Or 200 billion, the amount conceived? Or 60-70 billion, the amount that lived passed age one?
I'm just ball-parking on my numbers and assumptions, so don't believe them too much, but I think in principle, my question remains. Thank you for your input, and God bless! EricAlstrom 16:29, 21 September 2011 (EDT)

The 100 billion figure is the secular one - relying on counting back 50,000 years and not taking account of the Great Flood. To make such a calculation, we'd need to consider the date of the flood. If we assume this to be around 4000BC (Taken from this website) then the numbers start to look very different. 8 people went on the arc, so we need to look at the sum of a geometic series.
The current number of people is approaching 7 billion, which we'll use for simplicity. Therefore r^n=7 billion. The Sum of Geometric series is given by a(1-r^n)/(1-r) So the total number ever = -56bn/(1-r) where r is the ratio of increase from generation to generation. This method isn't perfect as it views generations as discrete, whereas 1 lineage might have 9 generations in the same time another has 7. Looking at some different values of r.. if we assume population doubles per generation, then we see 56bn have lived ever. If we assume they triple, 28bn have lived. If we assume they increase by 1.5, then 112bn have lived. Looking at tables of population for the documented period of the last couple of thousand years might allow us to decide a good value of r to work with. AlycaZ 17:45, 21 September 2011 (EDT)
I should be clear - I don't think this is a very good approach to the question at hand, but that if you take it, be sure to consider the flood and not use secularly-sourced figures. AlycaZ 18:19, 21 September 2011 (EDT)

I don't mean to be offensive, but you kind of butchered the geometric series. For example, when you go from doubling to tripling, total population goes down? But using this, for 8*r^n = 7bn, with n=6000/25 (one generation every 25 years, over six years), we get an r=1.0895. Using this in the geometric series summation, we come to a cumulative population of 77bn. Even a slight increase in the more recent years will easily get you over 100bn
Anyways, I don't think this model is great anyways, but whatever. We can quibble about exact number, but I think my question remains. If we're really trying to put a percentage on the number of souls in Hell, we need to consider our assumptions. And I think secular and biblical assumptions both generally assume the start of civilization (and, coincidentally, significant population growth) at around 4000BC, so cumulative populations should tend to converge.EricAlstrom 19:38, 21 September 2011 (EDT)

Suggest a third or fourth

I don't know if I can believe my own suggestion however God is merciful. All have fallen short but His love for us saves 3 out of 4 undeserving people. The prostitute and the tax collector make it but the Pharisee already got his reward.--Jpatt 18:16, 21 September 2011 (EDT)

Could I please ask you to elaborate? Thank you--CamilleT 19:03, 21 September 2011 (EDT)
Changed taxpayer to tax collector. Matthew 21:31 "Truly I say to you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you." It leads me to believe that many who shouldn't, are there out of His divine mercy. So 1/5, 1/4, 1/3 fall to the abyss.-Jpatt 22:50, 21 September 2011 (EDT)

Does it really exist

I realize that my personal theology is rather liberal, but I have a hard time believing that an infinitely merciful god would have a special place reserved to torture those who don`t quite measure up. And I think the sentence to the damned deserved to be considered as well... it`s not just a flogging or anything of the like... its infinite amounts of pain for an infinite amount of time. I just doesn`t add up to me. Furthermore, this would require god to be vengeful, which would in turn require God to posses human emotions. A truly transcendent god wouldn`t have human emotions. I may just be following JP2`s views (God bless him!) when I say this, but I seriously doubt there is a literal hell. --SLionel 00:14, 22 September 2011 (EDT)

So your a Universalist? And the punishment fits the crime perfectly: God is Infinite and Eternal, and your crime is Sin, or rebellion against God. What punishment will truly absolve you of such a crime besides eternal punishment? Yes, god is loving and all of that, but he IS just, and demands justice for crimes. Furthermore, do you have biblical proof to deny hell exists? Because theres plenty of proof in the bible it does.--SeanS 00:24, 22 September 2011 (EDT)
Yes, but there`s also biblical proof that Jesus and God are loving. What crime in your opinion is deserving of infinite punishment? I can`t think of one, myself. As for your first question, maybe, I don`t know what a universalist is :) .--SLionelSay "hi!" 00:38, 22 September 2011 (EDT)
Universalism, which is Heresy. And what crime? Sin, like I already said. You elevate one portion of god over the other. The fact ANY of us are allowed to go to heaven at all is proof god is loving. The fact you are allowed to live another second every day is proof god is loving, he could easily just let us all die here and now, or let us all be damned to hell and he would still be as just and fair. --SeanS 00:42, 22 September 2011 (EDT)
By whose standard is it heresy? ...I digress. Sin is turning away from God? hm. Perhaps there is hell for some. But the theology leads me to believe that unless you completely cut yourself off from God and all that is good, you wouldn`t find a spot in the sulfurous lake. Once again, I may be missing the point, but I can`t see how anyone could do that, save maybe a serial killer, or the like. --SLionelSay "hi!" 01:07, 22 September 2011 (EDT)
Well, Heresy by jesus... as far as i can remember at midnight all the church fathers... most christians. The bible is clear, hell for non-beleivers. Good or bad.--SeanS 01:10, 22 September 2011 (EDT)

Many important issues split about 50/ warming.

Why would a belief in global warming stop one from going to heaven? MaxFletcher 18:56, 21 September 2011 (EDT)

Maybe if you worship Al Gore/Lord Monckton?--CamilleT 19:02, 21 September 2011 (EDT)
Because liberals go to Hell? BrentH 19:03, 21 September 2011 (EDT)
Hopefully I can get a serious answer from someone. MaxFletcher 19:06, 21 September 2011 (EDT)
I think it's meant as an example. 50/50 as in fifty percent righteous folks, fifty percent sinners. It's probably not the best example.--CamilleT 19:07, 21 September 2011 (EDT)
I didn't add belief in "global warming," but limiting energy does have very cruel effects on some of the neediest persons in the world, such as the elderly and billions in underdeveloped countries.--Andy Schlafly 19:15, 21 September 2011 (EDT)
Is energy being limited though? MaxFletcher 19:19, 21 September 2011 (EDT)
Warming alarmists are trying to force developoing countries, especially India and China, to reduce fossil fuel use and therefore energy consumption. Unfortunately they aren't offering any usable alternatives to fossil fuels, so India and China tend to see this as a refusal to let their economies reach the level western ones have. Sort of like founding a club then locking the door to keep out new members. --SamCoulter 15:21, 22 September 2011 (EDT)
You'll be hard pressed to find normal people call china developing. --SeanS 17:44, 22 September 2011 (EDT)


I reverted an edit changing the figures to categories like "Almost all" or "few", since the point of this page is to try and put an actual figure on it. We admit that the true figure is a mystery, but that doesn't stop us thinking about estimates, which can lead to deeper understanding and insight.--CPalmer 09:32, 22 September 2011 (EDT)