Only One Afterlife

Jaunty: There's no reward waitin' when ye die. There's no punishment. It makes no difference what ye do with yer life..
Michael Le Roi: Because all that's next is Deadside.

This is a situation where regardless of personal morality, you're sent to the same place after death by default. Whatever the actions one may have initially committed in life, anyone who dies gets sent to the same fate.

Here is an example of such a situation so you can better understand. Let's say you're meeting two characters for the first time. You find out that one character is a veritable saint and the other is a rude and completely unfriendly person who has committed crimes that you would believe had grievously crossed the line. You would think (if you believe in an afterlife for the just and unjust) that the saint would go to one and the sinner would go to the other, right? In this case, you're dead wrong. This trope can land on Cynical or Idealistic extreme of Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism depending on the nature of the afterlife in question and the setting that is mentioned in the story. Regardless of what end of the spectrum the story lands on, All Are Equal in Death is the way of the story's hereafter.

This kind of situation can be seen in stories as result from the factor of there being a Devil, but No God. Then again it might just happen that God Is Evil or the fact neither the God nor the Devil happen to exist. Sometimes this may be a case of Rerouted From Heaven, if it's happening because evil forces have taken control of the system of the hereafter.

In an unlucky case, everyone who dies gets sent to Hell. In a fortunate case, everyone who dies gets sent to a type of Fluffy Cloud Heaven. Other mythologies will use The Underworld or some other spirit world or realm of the dead for their afterlife. In any case, moral choices and conduct in life play no part in where one goes after death.

The circumstance of a Self-Inflicted Hell (or Heaven) form of this trope can be present if the single afterlife has the same conditions for all, but it's resident can make it Heaven and Hell for themselves depending on who they are.

Warning. As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Berserk, all human characters who perish in the series (Apostles especially) end up being sent to the Abyss, a realm consisting of only nightmarish forms and a swirling ocean of writhing souls known as both Heaven and Hell. Considering the Crapsack World that Berserk is set in, many would consider the Abyss to be Hell, especially since it is the source of the setting's primary supernatural villains, the demon gods known as the God Hand and the Idea of Evil that created them.
  • In Naruto, everyone who dies ends up in a realm called the Pure Land, the afterlife in which the souls of earthly beings generally reside in death.

    Comic Book 
  • The Darkness. According to Danny Estacado, a previous host of the Darkness Entity, and Nick (who is actually the true Devil that religious stories of Lucifer and The Devil are all based on), all souls - whether they were good or evil in life - eventually fall into Hell. A rather disheartening side note is that there actually is a Heaven in the series but no human soul has ever been seen to enter it due to the fact only "beings of light" are allowed entrance.
  • The French comic, ''Le Dernier Troyen" (basically the Trojan War Recycled In Space), offers a self-inflictive case of this trope in terms of afterlife treatment. One arc features the protagonists visiting the underworld, seeing some of their friends and enemies who'd died. To their consternation, some of their friends are in horrifying torment, while their despicable enemies are enjoying perfect bliss. When they ask Hades, he answered that everyone shares the afterlife, but the dead decide what they become in it. Their friends thought they deserved to suffer eternally for failing to defend Troy, while their enemies had such a high opinion of himself that they thought they deserved no less than bliss.

    Film 
  • In Defending Your Life after death everyone goes to an Afterlife Antechamber called Judgement City for a few days where their life will be reviewed; if they were good enough - which boils down to whether or not they were able to overcome fear - they Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, but if they weren't good enough (too fearful) they're reincarnated to try again. Everyone goes through it, but one perceives it differently based on their culture.

    Theatre 
  • Depending on the production of Les MisÚrables, Inspector Javert may be among the deceased in heaven during the final scene, despite being the antagonist responsible for many of their deaths and his own suicide.

    Literature 
  • In His Dark Materials, everyone, from all possible universes, ends up in the same queue for the same underworld.
  • In Riverworld, there are two afterlives: one for children who die before the age of five, and the Riverworld itself for those who die at an age where they'll be able to care for themselves once they're resurrected.
  • In The Salvation War, God had already accepted his most blindly devoted worshipers (historically maybe 10% of the population) and closed the gates of Heaven. This action had the effect of ensuring that everyone else (faithful or not) would burn in Hell after death. Humanity is not pleased when this becomes common knowledge.
  • In The Silmarillion, one's fate after death is determined by one's race, not one's actions. Elves go to the Halls of Mandos (although once there, Mandos can decide to keep them there or resurrect them), humans go somewhere outside the known universe, and dwarves go hang out with the Vala (very powerful angel) that created them. Hobbits are generally considered a sub-race of Men and presumably share their fate. If there's a particular destination for ents, orcs, trolls, et cetera, it's never specified.
  • In some Redwall books, characters both good and bad go to "Dark Forest" when they die, which appears to be a neutral place of eternal slumber. This trope is somewhat subverted as later books make mention of "Hellgates" regarding villainous deaths, but there appears to be no Heaven equivalent.
  • The Last Trump by Isaac Asimov has the Devil convince God to bring about the end of the world, with everyone dead being resurrected and put under the same conditions - endless existence with nothing besides the people. One person claims this is heaven, but then another points out that there is nothing beyond Earth, buildings are crumbling, hills are flattening, desires are gone... Soon, there will be nothing but a featureless plain and people. Fire And Brimstone Hell is unworthy of divine imagination; an eternity of nothingness is a different matter. This was the Devil's idea, with him claiming that since every group has their idea of afterlife, the proper design should be the greatest common divisor- nothing but eternal existence.

    Live Action TV 
  • In Supernatural, it is described how the soul of a monster, regardless of moral alignment, is sent to a realm collectively known as Purgatory after a monster dies. Once there, the soul is placed in a constant struggle of "prey or be preyed upon" by the souls of other monsters for all eternity.
  • In Torchwood (and considering it's in the same universe probably Doctor Who) everyone sees The Nothing After Death with the added bonus of "something in the dark" moving about in the shadows.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • The Underworld of many mythologies (notably Greek) is seen as the final destination of all mortals (and some immortals), in which they either receive eternal rest or torment. Some examples would include realms such as Hades (Greek) and Irkalla (Mesopotamian).
  • Some theological models have such an outcome.
    • The teachings of Universalism holds that everyone goes to Heaven eventually.
    • In Pandeism, the idea is that all people (and everything in our Universe) is simply part of a God which has chosen to become our Universe to experience our lives, and so cannot separately intervene in them; when we die we simply go back to being one with our Creator. This ultimate idea is reflected in pandeistic branches of Hinduism, though in those theologies we may be reincarnated many times before that happens (and through those reincarnations, become enlightened).
    • Certain forms of Judaism have Sheol, where all the dead, regardless of their actions and/or righteousness in life, congregate. Originally, it was described as a place of darkness cut off from God. Thanks to centuries of evolving ideas and Lost in Translation, the concept was conflated with Hades, and was understood as Hell by the time of the New Testament.
    • Even some theologians of Christianity have proposed models by which everybody ultimately is saved, and so a Hell exists — but because God is merciful, it is empty.

    Jokes 
  • There's a joke where an atheist dies and goes to Fluffy Cloudheaven. As he's being shown around, he sees Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists all coexisting peacefully, and an enormous wall. When he asks what's on the other side, he's told "Christians- they think they're the only ones around."

    Video Games 
  • According to Shadowman, everyone who dies ends up in Deadside—basically, hell—where they gradually lose their identities and become mindless zombies. The sole exception is the titular protagonist, due to the power of the Mask of Shadows.

    Western Animation 
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven. Any dog (or member of the canine species) is immediately sent to heaven after death because according the greeting angel known as Annabelle: "All dogs go to Heaven because, unlike people, dogs are naturally good and loyal and kind." This fact leaves terrible implications for what happens to all cats.
  • In a Robot Chicken sketch, a man dies and finds out that everyone goes to Heaven. He passes by several people, most mass murderers and rapists, before seeing Adolf Hitler.
    Hitler: I'm just as surprised as you are.
    • In this case it's a logical exaggeration of the "repent and be saved" dogma, as everyone there says they accepted Jesus as their savior before death.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OnlyOneAfterlife