Science Daily reports that a research team led by Azim F. Shariff studied crime data covering 26 years from 67 different countries and found that hope for reward in a blessed heaven is not enough to change behavior for the better. The team concluded that what changes behavior for the better is the fear of hell: â€œSupernatural punishment across nations seems to predict lower crime rates,â€ Shariff said. â€œAt this stage, we can only speculate about mechanisms, but itâ€™s possible that people who donâ€™t believe in the possibility of punishment in the afterlife feel like they can get away with unethical behavior. There is less of a divine deterrent.â€
As an evolutionist Shariff thinks it reasonable to believe that supernatural punishment is an emergent product of evolution. Shariff of course does not explain how or why evolution decided to 'evolve' a supernatural dimension, let alone inflict punishment on miscreants in the afterlife.
Though supernatural punishment and ethical behavior are completely contrary to evolution by definition, it appears that fickle evolution is unconcerned by self-refutation, inner-contraditions and illogic in general. (source: Belief in Hell Lowers Crime, June 20, 2012, crevinfo/ )
From the farthest reaches of antiquity, belief in some kind of existence after death is generally admitted by modern anthropologists to be a universally held belief as shown by the brief examination that follows.
With the ancient Assyrians and Babylonians a kind of semi-material ghost or shade survived the death of the body. When the body was buried the shade descended to the underworld to join the company of the departed. In the "Lay of Ishtar" the underworld is described in gloomy colours. It is the "pit", the "land of no return", the "house of darkness", the "place where dust is their bread, and their food is mud"; and it is infested with demons who are empowered to inflict various punishments for sins committed in the upper world.
With Egyptians, the disembodied spirit continued to live, but with certain bodily organs and functions suited to the conditions of the afterlife. Each spirit underwent judgement, as described in detail in chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead. During judgement the deceased had to be able to deny his guilt in regard to forty-two great categories of sins, and his heart (the symbol of conscience and morality) had to stand the test of being weighed in the balance against the image of Maat, goddess of truth or justice.
The new life that began after favourable judgment was at first no better than life on earth. Before reaching bliss and security in the fertile fields of Aalu the deceased had to embark on a long and arduous journey wherein he was exposed to a variety of disasters. For their avoidance he depended on the use of his revivified powers and on the knowledge he gained in life of the directions and magical charms recorded in the Book of the Dead. More importantly, he depended on his surviving friends on earth to secure the preservation of his corpse that he might return and use it. His friends must also provide an indestructible tomb as a home for his Ka as well as supply food and drink for his sustenance, offer up prayers and sacrifices on his behalf, and aid his memory by inscribing on the walls of the tomb, or writing on rolls of papyrus enclosed in the wrappings of the mummy, chapters from the Book of the Dead.
Regarding the fate of those who failed to pass judgment evidence suggests that continued existence in a condition of darkness and misery was their fate.
Early Greek afterlife is retributive and cheerless. Life on earth, for all its sufferings, was the highest good for men, and death the worst of evils. Death was not extinction since the psyche--a semi-material ghost, or shade of the earthly man---survived. The existence of the shade in the underworld was a dull, altogether dreary, almost functionless existence. No distinction of fates is made between the man who lived a good life and the one who did not. All suffered the same frightening fate in Hades.
Buddhism is a religion without a God and without hope of reward or fear of punishment hereafter. Individual existence is the primary evil while the craving for existence, with the many forms of desire it begets, is the source of all the misery in which life is inextricably involved. Salvation is the state of Nirvana (non-being), which is to be attained by the utter extinction of every kind of desire.
This is possible by knowledge â€” not of God or the soul as in Brahminism, but by the purely philosophical knowledge of the real truth of things known as enlightenment. For the vast majority of people who do not and will never reach enlightenment there is only a dreary cycle of deaths and rebirths with inserted heavens and hells.
In ancient Norse mythology Hel is the ill-favoured goddess of the underworld. Only those who fall in battle can enter Valhalla; the rest go down to the underworld to Hel.
Whether it was called the pit", the "land of no return", the "house of darkness," Hades, Infernus, abyss, Hel, or sheol, from antiquity men believed that hell exists and is the place of both limbo and punishment for demons and men.
Because the ancients believed that some kind of hell exists, wherever Jesus Christ and the Apostles spoke of hell they naturally presupposed the knowledge of its existence (Matthew 5:29; 8:12; 10:28; 13:42; 25:41, 46; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; Revelation 21:8).
Limbo ended at the time of Christ's Ascension, hence the New Testament always designates hell as the place of the damned. Since Christ's Ascension the righteous no longer go down to abide in limbo in the lower world, but rather they dwell in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:1).
In the New Testament are many other names for hell. It is called "lower hell" (2 Peter 2:4), "abyss" (Luke 8:31), "place of torments" (Luke 16:28), "pool of fire" (Revelation 19:20), "furnace of fire" (Matthew 13:42, 50), "unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:12), "everlasting fire" (Matthew 18:8; 25:41; Jude 7), "exterior darkness" (Matthew 7:12; 22:13; 25:30), "mist" or "storm of darkness" (2 Peter 2:17; Jude 13).
Hell is denied by all who deny the existence of the true, living God and/or the immortality of the soul. Among the Jews were the Sadducees, among the Gnostics the Seleucians, and in our own time the evolutionary materialists and occult evolutionary pantheists. But apart from these, belief in hell has universally existed from the time of the ancients, and oddly enough, now fickle 'evolution' believes in supernatural punishment according to Shariff and his team.
Hell really exists and all who die in personal sin are enemies of the living God, for every act of their will was inspired by hatred of God. After death, their immortal souls will be cast into hell, there to exist for all eternity:
"For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one Man, so God and Man is one Christ. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into Hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved." The Athanasian Creed
Source: New Advent