How many people actually choose hell?

I’ve heard it said by many on this forum, and by priests and religious that the only people in hell are those that choose to go. How does this work though. I know many people, including notorious sinners who do not want to go to hell.
To be honest, the only people I know who knowingly choose hell are atheists ( at least those who reject God and know what they are rejecting. I’m sure in countries with state atheism God lenient since they don’t have a chance to know God) or people who worship Satan or are openly disregarding religion.

Most people though are not choosing hell in the sense that they want to go. Most just don’t seem to care. I’m sure if you asked most people, they’d want to go to heaven. So does this mean few people are in hell?

And sorry if this is similar to a lot of posts made lately. I just wonder how a person can choose hell and who actually would want to go there.

When priest or lay say that people choose hell they mean by their behavior and lifestyle. No one in their right mind literally chooses to be tortured for all of eternity.

This. No one in their right mind consciously chooses the worst consequences of illicit drug use - impaired health, legal issues, family destruction and so on.

Nonetheless we do not hold illicit drug users blameless for what befalls them.

Jesus explains in Matthew 25 verses 31-46

People choose the consequences of hell when they refuse to live in love, and in acts of practical kindness. What is also clear from Jesus’ statements is that refusing to love others thus is also refusal to love God.

In refusing to genuinely love unselfishly they are intrinsically refusing God who is love, and in doing so, rejecting heaven. I say “unselfishly”, because what some people consider love is bound up with selfishness, not with true charity in action.’'I hope this helps

God bless you.

The truth? Most people will choose hell. Christ said so Himself. That’s why we have to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Stay close to the Lord and His Church. Come to Him in the Sacraments to strengthen yourself. And pray, always, for the souls of all those you know, and all those you do not. The world will always be starving for the Lord. Pray on their behalf, that they might be fed.

When they “choose” hell, they are choosing themselves over everything and everyone else.

You ask - how does this work…
Consider this analogy -
A young man turns 16. He takes driver’s ed., Sees the films of terrible crashes, been taught the “rules of the road”, how to avoid dangerous situations etc. He then takes driver’s training being taught how to safely handle a car in normal traffic patterns.
After being tested, he received his driver’s license.

Now - as most youngsters will do with this new found freedom and power, he drives a little too fast at times, or pretends that he is a “racer” when the light changes from red to green…squealing tires…He chooses to do these things even though he knows they are wrong, but nobody gets hurt and there are no cops around so…no big deal.
Then one night, he goes too a party. He starts drinking with his buddies. He gets in his car even though they tell him not to. He drives too fast. He hits a tree and dies.

Did he choose death???
We want to say - no, he did not choose death.
Yet what DID he choose?
He chose to drink - even though he knew it was illegal.
He chose to drive while intoxicated - even though he knew it was illegal.
He chose to drive too fast - even though he knew this was illegal.
And the result of these choices was death…

Now of course as with any analogy there are many permutations that can be discussed, but in it’s simplest form - as laid out above - the young man above is dead because of his own choices.

So too with those who end up in hell.


I’ve always liked what C.S. Lewis said:

"[E]very time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state of the other.”

We do not “choose” hell with any one choice, but we conform our wills and selves to a person who either loves God and His ways or hates God and His ways. The latter is hell.

WOW - What an excellent quote! :thumbsup:
It really sums it up beautifully

Thanks for sharing that.


I love this quote by the way. Anyway, I still wonder though about this. Many people on here say how god’s mercy is infinite, and even those we think of as in mortal sin may be in heaven. To me though, I feel that while God does have infinite mercy, just saying sorry as we die isn’t enough to make up for a lifetime of sins. I always worry that so many people will be in hell. I almost think any more 90% of people will be in hell, or at least 90% of Christians just because so many do not live the life (90% might be too high, since many people in the World do not know of God or Christ). I guess i’m just scared for the world. So many people do not know they will be without God and how terrible it will be.

I think that’s the point of what Lewis was saying. By the time we die and are faced with God, someone who has lived a depraved life and twisted his soul, won’t say “sorry”. He might mouth the words but his heart is still in love with whatever is anti-God. Now, I’m sure this seems attractive to him (after all, in pursuing evil there is always a good that is somehow disordered) but unless he suddenly wakes up and has a real moment of metanoia (conversion), it will be hard for him. But then, who knows what the love of God can do to a man?

I think that’s why it’s a real blessing to have the Church. To quote another great man, Bob Marley, “God guide and protect us. When we’re wrong, please correct us.” The Church points us out when we’re wrong - which is precisely what we need. Someone steeped in sin doesn’t always recognise when they are wrong. But if one’s heart truly seeks God, then the light will shine through, as the darkness cannot overcome it.

Isn’t hell supposed to be more a state of mind than a specific “location?” My understanding has always been “Hell” is to willingly and completely turn away from and be totally outside the presence of God. Literally… oblivion? So who really would consciously choose that kind of nullifying existence? Particularly after death, when human souls are faced with the reality of their existence as souls, who would choose the oblivion of Hell over the presence of God? I wonder if they are very special cases?

I think what you’re saying is partly correct, 21 Faces, in that Hell isn’t a particular geographical location. If it has any merit as “place” I guess it might be something like a different dimension(?).

As for being a “state of mind”, I’d rather say a “state of soul”, where the soul is antithetical to God and God-life. It wouldn’t oblivion as such, as the person would still have some sense of consciousness, though how much of his or her “personhood” and identity will be left, I don’t know. I doubt a damned human being is really a human being at all.

Again, I think you’re right in that nobody would consciously choose Hell - but then, you’re thinking reasonably. It’s amazing how much we can distort our wills and desires so that God is the last thing on our minds, heart and soul.

Who are we to say who goes to hell? The best we can do is to try to live up to what we believe is right (through the church). Personally I don’t believe that an infinitely good God would send people to hell for “nothing”, but I try to live by the rules set by the Church.

Like my neighbour who gives away everything he owns to the less fortunate. He is a christian and a wonderful human being, but not a catholic.

Or a relative that has been the best she can be. A loving mother that has done everything for her children. She has had a very bad life, but she has always done what she can to prevent other peoples suffering. After many, many years of abuse from her husband (or what you call a person that you thought were your husband, but the marriage gets annulled), she has found true love and is living outside what the Church thinks is right.

And the list goes on.

I’m not justifying going against the rules of the Church and I don’t believe it’s right. I’m merely stating that I don’t think that God would send good people to hell. We all deserve punishment for what we do wrong. However, I can’t see how one mistake justifies eternal pain and suffering.

I like your post and I believe that even hardened criminals would choose Heaven over Hell. It’s a matter of knowing that it exists.

Since other people have addressed the previous point, I’ll focus on this one: We do not know how many people are damned, if any. We have a canon of saints and no corresponding list of reprobates. :slight_smile:

Nothing we can do “makes up for a lifetime of sins.” Mercy gives more than we deserve.


Sadly, there are more people in Hell then heaven. Its just because the way to heaven is difficult. Jesus explains this in Matthew 7:13-14

““Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it”

basically all we can do is strive to enter heaven(do everything we can)

“Oh but its so hard and inconvenient to follow Gods laws! It requires sacrifice on my part too.It gets too much in the way of my pleasure, I will not serve God I will only do what makes me happy!”

That’s a person choosing hell.

Abortion and so-called “same-sex marriage” are called “rights” by the culture of death. If someone dies believing strongly that these are “rights” and believing that any place that doesn’t accept these is evil they won’t want to go to Heaven because that’s where the people are that reject these. So, the only other place with an eternal vacancy available is Hell. There’s a saying that the tree tends to fall in the direction that it leans.

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