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According to mythology Hell is a place of eternal torture and punishment in an afterlife, often after resurrection. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations. Typically these traditions locate hell under the Earth's external surface and often include entrances to Hell from the land of the living. Other afterlife destinations include Heaven (christianity), Purgatory (Catholicism and other forms of Christianity), Paradise (Islam), and Limbo (Catholicism).

Other traditions, which do not conceive of the afterlife as a place of punishment or reward, merely describe hell as an abode of the dead, a neutral place located under the surface of Earth (for example, see sheol and Hades). Modern understandings of hells often depict them abstractly, as a state of loss rather than as fiery torture literally underground, but this view of the concept of a hell can, in fact, be traced back into the ancient and medieval periods as well.[citation needed] Hell is sometimes portrayed as populated with demons who torment those dwelling there. Many are ruled by a death god such as Nergal, Hades, Hel, Enma or the Devil.

Unbelievers in hell

A typical depiction of a soul in Hell. The caption reads "What happens to a soul when they reject Jesus Christ as Lord God Almighty?"

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