Would You Go To Hell For Someone Else?

I have no idea what got me to thinking about this the other day (probably some sappy love song), but basically I began to wonder if there were scenarios a person would consider, so that they could take the place of someone else in eternal hell for. You know, you do their time and they get off the hook. Anyway, I took an informal survey of the folks that surrounded me at the time and following that, I wanted to ask the Teeming Millions’ opinions.

And I’ll frame it the same way that it meant the most to me (which further qualifies as sappy and redundant)…

If you could prevent a loved one from suffering eternally in hell, would you do so by taking their place instead?
[DISCLAIMER: Yes, I realize that I’m couching this all in specific Judeo/Christian terms. Insert whatever higher power necessary to participate. I also realize that accordingly, this is impossible via how many folks believe. That said, this is purely hypothetical, the majority feels this sort of debt has already been paid and that one can’t usurp it from another, that you are responsible for your own choices, etc., etc. Please don’t respond just to say that the above couldn’t happen. For the purposes of this polling, it’s needed to suspend that particular meme. Also, I’ll weigh back in with my experience on the subject after I’ve gotten a few replies. I don’t wish to skewer the data otherwise! Thank you.]

Yes, I would for my minor children. As they grow, they are more and more responsible for their own “hell”, but right now, especially for the baby, I’d rather suffer than know she’s suffering.

Presuming a hell existed, yes. Without hesitation.

I’m foolhardy, impulsive and, most of all, loyal like that.


No way in hell.

I believe that people earn a ticket to hell by their behavior. Therefore there’s no need to sacrifice myself for an innocent soul. So, no, I’m not taking anyone’s spot in hell. They made their bed.

Actually, the OP is most definitely not thinking in Judaeo-Christian terms. Christians believe God is the judge, that God is all-good and all-knowing, and that God’s decision will be the correct one.

It’s not as if God has X number of slots for Hell and X number of slots for Heaven, and doesn’t mind sending people to the wrong place so long as the numbers balance!

If there’s a hell, I’m already booked, and if I took on somebody else’s load I’d not only be doing double-duty but I’d also never see them again. Hells no!

As the OP, yes, yes I am. But I’m taking that concept and turning it on its head. Yes, I realize that “It’s not as if God has X number of slots for Hell and X number of slots for Heaven, and doesn’t mind sending people to the wrong place so long as the numbers balance!” and also “I believe that people earn a ticket to hell by their behavior. Therefore there’s no need to sacrifice myself for an innocent soul.” because neither is necessary. That’s why I stated my disclaimer (and that it was a hypothetical outside of what most [at least here in the US] consider the norm) up front.

Now, further, my response is thus… I would do so for someone I loved very, very much. Like my ex, or even, my mother. Although with the sample size that I took my question to, it was me (an agnostic) and an atheist (my ex) who said we’d opt for the punishment in place of someone else and three Christians who emphatically would not.

Perhaps I should also ask what religious (if applicable) persuasion you are.

N/A to that last question.

Neopagan tree-huggin’ hippie. No hell in my paradigm, just playing along by the rules of the OP.

One of my favorite bumper stickers is: It’s your hell, you burn in it!

I’m an agnostic, but for the purposes of the OP, I’d do it for my daughter in a heartbeat. If we wish to put it in secular terms, I’d go to jail, take a bullet, walk through fire, what have you. (Of course, none of those would be eternal, but you see what I’m saying.)

The amusing ( !! ) thing to me, is that my mother (who could reasonably be described as a devout fundamentalist) subscribes to the same opinion PunditLisa. Although I very patiently explained to her that it wasn’t about what would be preventing someone who ‘deserves’ to be there so much as loving them enough to literally take the heat (heh) for them. She wasn’t budging, not for me her only (demon possessed) child, nor her sister whom she just might love more than herself. Same could be said for my aunt.

I, on the other hand, despite my horrible feelings toward my mother, would do it for her in a heartbeat, much like DianaG. Whether she should be there instead would be irrelevant. I love her (even so) too much for her to suffer/pay eternally for finite mistakes in this life.

Interesting, to say the least.

I likely would. I have a tendancy to tilt at windmills in my free time, too. Then again, the odds of a lawyer getting in to Heaven are probably pretty slim. Valhalla is much more my kinda place anyway.

Also will point out that Heinlein’s protagonist in Job: A Comedy of Justice had actually entered heaven as a Saint, but then left because his Norse lover was not allowed inside. The two ended up living happily everafter, running an icecream shop in Hell or some such…been a long time since I read the story.

Am I to pay for one other person’s mistakes? Nah.

Are we talking having this horrible thing for the rest of eternity so everyone else doesn’t? Sure.

I don’t believe in Hell, or if there is one we’re living in it right now, but the whole concept to me seems so fundamentally flawed and unfair that I would volunteer to take the place of anyone else, as a matter of protest.

I’ve thought about this, and I find the answer to generally be “no.” This is because of the circumstances under which this would happen:

  1. The person did something to deserve it. Then I would, as another poster said, question why I would do something like this for someone else.

  2. The person is being “held hostage” by the dark forces or somesuch. In this case, would I really be able to trust whatever deal they’re offering? Centuries of literature tells me “no.” Besides this, even if it DID come through okay (and I’d probably never know for sure if it did), would the person I’m doing this for really be happy knowing I did this?

The thing about that is, all it takes to “deserve it” is not being a member of whatever religion happens to be right. If the Fundie Christians are right, the Hindu equivalent of Mother Teresa is gonna fry. Conversely, if Hitler accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior right before he died, he gets in the Pearly Gates.

Ya know, there may be a reason I had some…difficulties…attending a Catholic high school…

Even if the question is posed hypothetically, it’s one no Christian should answer.

As a parent of a 2 year old, I can state categorically I’d trade places with him to save him from almost any horrible fate. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him.

But to say, “Yes, I’d go to Hell for my son” would be to suggest that God is unjust, that God would send someone to Hell who didn’t deserve it… And I’m not going to dignify that assumption.

I kind of see what you’re getting at here, but at the same time… if I took that bullet for my daughter, would she be *happy * about it? Probably not. But she wouldn’t be dead, either.