Hell And Murderers

according to religious faiths, if a mass murderer spent his entire living mutilating people, then claimed christ as his savior a minute before he dies, what happens to him in the afterlife?

Ted Bundy was convinced he was going to heaven because he “found Jesus” and confessed before they executed him. I couldn’t help thinking, “my goodness, most nightclubs in New York have a better door policy than heaven!”

Somehow, I don’t think the celestial staff, or the boss, would be so easily duped.

it depends on what denomination you’re talking about. some denominations believe you can’t go to heaven if you haven’t been baptized. they would say “no”; others would say “yes”; and others would say it’s not their business to judge.

Assuming it was a sincere conversion and not just lip service and that he asked forgivness, he would get into Heaven with possibly a wait in Purgatory.


It’s called “deathbed repentence”. No such thing.

General Questions is for questions with factual answers. Religious discussions belong in Great Debates.

Off to Great Debates.

DrMatrix - GQ Moderator

My view as a Christian is that it depends. First I’d like to reiterate that it is not our place to judge.

On one hand, I don’t think “Jesus” is a magic word that gets you into heaven. An insincere recitation would, in my opinion, be worthless.

On the other hand, Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” In God’s eyes we have all sinned and deserve punishment. I don’t think it matters if your sin was mass murder or hateful words. Only God can judge if you ‘believe in your heart.’

This may seem like a free pass, but in comparison to a holy deity, all of us are found wanting and equally undeserving of the free pass.

On the other hand, I’ve seen no evidence for God, heaven or hell, so what difference does it make?

And AWA-A-A-Y we GO-O-OO!!

It would tend to make one think twice about joining a club that would have people like him for a member…

Nitpick… the phrase religious faiths needs to be replaced by the word Christianity.

Oh and for those who say there is no deathbed repentence:

Luke 23
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”
40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”
43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

All we know is the guy is a criminal, perhaps he believed for a long time, perhaps not.

Okay, Reeder. I gotta ask you to prove that assertion now.

Obviously, there is no definitive Christian answer to this, but I think that most serious Christian thought would say that the sincerity of the repentance is what would be key. Bundy was just a glib sociopath who said whatever he thought would help Ted Bundy. In order for his “salvation” to really take, he would have to actually be able to appreciate his own sins. Lip service alone would not be enough. He would have to sincerely be remorseful, not for himself but for his victims. He would have to feel that remorse in his bones. He would have to have a profound epiphony about the damage he had done to other people. He would have to absolutely see himself as the monster that he was, absolutely deplore it and absolutely surrender himself to God. He would have to truly be born again.

I think the chance that Bundy was sincere in his Christianity is pretty close to zero. I don’t think he ever felt a speck of remorse for his victims and I would say the same about David Berkowitz, who also has tried to absolve himself through a grandstanding show of “Christianity.”

Repentance and the surrender to Christ are not ceremonial. Getting baptized isn’t enough. It has to be a genuine, internal and meaningful transformation.

I don’t think that very many sociopaths experience it, but a Christian perspective would say that it’s not impossible for anybody, just exceedingly difficult for some.
There are definitely examples of seemingly irretrievable individuals who have changed themselves permanently through religious experience. Malcolm X comes to mind, although he was just a petty criminal and not the violent psychopath that Bindy and Berkowitz are.

Karla Fae Tucker may have been an example of genuine transformation in a profoundly violent person. I don’t know. I’m not sure if I bought her act or not but she sure sold it well.

Perhaps I should not chime in because the OP was asking what the Christian sects think. Forgive me if I’m out of line.

I have a problem with the whole hell idea. It seems amazing to me that people can be tortured in eternity for roughly 60 years of mistakes - an all-loving god who could torture anyone for eternity is a problem for me. And also the idea that the unrepentant petty theif gets the same treatment as the mass-murderer.

Yeah, but did it ever say what crime the repentant criminal committed? It could have been something that we wouldn’t consider criminal, per se-perhaps they thought he was plotting against Rome, or something.

Huh? I really doubt that Jews or Muslims would put any stock in such a claim.

Likewise, that rubbish wouldn’t wash with Orthodox Christians, either.

My Church doesn’t have the view of hell as a pagan place of torture. Instead, it is how those who have not been made ready will experience the Presence of God. Likewise, my Church doesn’t pretend to claim to absolutely know who will be made ready and who will not–only that some things can improve ones chances.

Interesting. What happens to those who haven’t been made ready? Are they reincarnated? Or do you lose your chance to be made ready? If so, what happens to the soul during eternity? hmmmm, maybe this is too big of a hijack and should go to another thread?

No, he’s saying that those who have not been made ready will fear and shudder in the absolute goodnesss of God. This idea actually goes back at least to the Ahura Mazda religion of Zoroaster, who, I believe, tasted something of the power of God.