The idea of heaven—that you’ll be rewarded for good behavior by playing a harp in the clouds—is pretty silly, but hell seems much more likely to exist. If there is a God, based on his behavior in the past he’s probably more concerned with punishing us than making us happy. What if there was a hell, but no heaven, and your reward in the afterlife was just not burning for all eternity. Damn, that sounds pretty dark, I guess. Anyway, we asked some people if there was a hell.
William, makes interactive museum exhibits: Is there a hell? In a religious, spiritual sense?
Is there a literal, physical place called hell where Satan lives and you go there when you die?
I hope not. Well, I’m counting on it. I see no evidence.
Do you see evidence against it?
No more so than any other preposterous, outlandish possibility.
How about a metaphorical hell?
Hell is giving an impromptu interview to VICE magazine.
Casey, manages a radio station: I don’t think so. I don’t have much evidence to back up that idea, but it’s just not something I really believe in.
So then what happens when you die if you are bad?
I don’t know too much about the afterlife and I don’t have much of a belief in it other than I think if you’re a bad person and you do really bad things then ultimately in your actual life you pay for it at some point.
So like karma?
In a way, but I don’t think I’m a heavy believer in karma either.
What are you a heavy believer in?
I’m at a very confusing point in my life right now.
Jaime, student: No. I don’t think so.
What happens if you’re bad?
I think that we were put in our bodies and whoever we were meant to be was already predisposed, and if we do bad things then maybe the spirit will go... I don’t know.
What about Nazis, though? Surely they weren’t predisposed by God or whatever.
Ideally we would like to think that they wouldn’t go to the same place we would. But I’m not sure if there’s a hell or not. They are somewhere else but I’m not sure they’re in the hell we picture as, like, burning.
Rankin, plumber: I don’t know. I’m not sure. I don’t think so.
What happens to bad people when they die?
Nothing happens. They live life normal and they die. When you die you go and that’s it. Good people die. They go the same way.
Yeah, I know. Life is unfair. Good people die and bad people die the same way.
Paul, on disability: I believe there is, but I hope I never go there.
What is it like there?
Very hot. Well, you know the Bible. Heaven and Hell. I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe I will go to Heaven.
Because of Jesus?
He died on the cross for our sins.
Tim, student: I don’t think so. Actually, I have no way of knowing if there is one or not.
So there might be one?
Yeah, there might be one. I guess a lot of people in my life who believed in one I feel should be there.
What is it like there?
I guess kind of stereotypical fiery place: Everyone’s always in pain, there’s nothing pleasant.
Is Satan real?
I don’t think so.
Would you be friends with someone who worshipped Satan?
Probably not. I guess it would seem pretty tacky.