Does hell really exist? This is probably the question on people’s minds following

The Pontiff was quoted saying, “Hell does not exist — what exists is the disappearance of sinful souls,” in an interview with Italian daily, La Repubblica on March 29, 2018.

As the rest of the world speculates, we take a look at what different religious denominations have to say about hell.

Catholic church on hell

The Roman Catholic church teaches its members that hell is real.

According to the Catechism, a summary of  Catholic beliefs, “Immediately after death, the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire.’

“The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.”

This has been supported by various popes. In 1999, Pope John Paul II said that Heaven was “neither an abstraction nor a physical place in the clouds, but that fullness of communion with God which is the goal of human life.”

On the contrary, he said that hell is “the ultimate consequence of sin itself …Rather than a place, hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy.”

Pope Benedict XVI said hell “really exists and it eternal, even if nobody talks about it much anymore” in 2007.

In March, 2014, Pope Francis advised members of the mafia to change their lives, “while there is still time so that you do not end up in hell. That is what awaits you if you continue on this path.”

ALSO READ: Vatican insists hell is real despite Pope Francis' ‘hell does not exist’ statement

Jehovah’s Witnesses on hell

This religious group believes in the existence of hell just not the way most people see.

Contrary to the popular belief that a hell is a place of eternal pain or torment, Jehovah’s Witnesses have the following reasons for why they believe that this is just a common grave of mankind.

— “Those in hell are unconscious and so cannot feel pain.” This is based on Ecclesiastes 9:10

— “Good people go to hell” See Genesis 37:35; Job 14:13.

— “Death, not torment in a fiery hell, is the penalty for sin.” Check Romans 6:7.

— “Eternal torment would violate God’s justice.” Based on Deuteronomy 32:4 and Genesis 3:19.

— “God does not even contemplate eternal torment.” Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that this idea goes against the Bible’s teaching that “God is love.” Based on 1 John 4:8; Jeremiah 7:31.

Church of Christ on hell

The church founded by Mary Baker Eddy refers to hell as “Mortal belief; error; lust; remorse; hatred; revenge; sin; sickness; death; suffering and self-destruction; self-imposed agony; effects of sin; that which ‘worketh abomination or maketh a lie.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on hell

LDS Church also known as Mormon Church, believe teach that hell is the state between death and resurrection.

Here, unrepentant spirits get to suffer for their sins.

Islam on hell

Muslims believe in hell too, but like Jehovah’s Witnesses, they see it differently.

The Islam concept of hell is a  place where sinners get punishment temporarily, not a permanent place of suffering as many Christians see it.

For Muslims,  sinners don’t stay in hell forever. After paying for their sins, certain sinners will be released and taken to paradise.

Here are some verses to back it up;

“O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded,” Verse 66:6 says.

Prophet Muhammad said, “But as for him whose scales (of good deeds) are light. Hell will be his mother (Quran 101:9–10).”

Prophet Muhammad adds, “Verily a day would come over hell when there shall not be a single human being in it” (Kanzul Ummal Vol. VII, page 245).

Hell is referred to as Jahannam (جهنّم), The Fire (النار) and The Pit of Blazing Fire (الجحيم) in Arabic.

Do you believe in hell?