But the gate is narrow and the way is difficult that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
The road to Hell is sometimes defined to be so wide that people with basically slight or even no sin at all will end up there anyway when they die. This is typically done to make sure that people will stick to a very straight and very narrow path, or at least try to; though it may also be a sign that whoever's upstairs is more than a little bit of a jerk, if not actively malevolent. Some authors have taken this ease of entry into Hell up a notch, making it not just easier, but almost automatically assured for everyone.
In other words...
- Swear once... HELL!
- Steal food to feed your family... HELL!
- Think lustful thoughts... HELL!
- Listen to rock music... HELL!
- Illegally download a movie... HELL!
- Browse This Very Wiki... HELL!
- Think of Hell... HELL!
If basically everyone gets sent to Hell in-universe, then it's an example of this trope.
This is related to Moral Event Horizon, only with the bar set so high that nearly everyone has already fallen into irredeemable evil. This makes life very easy for the Hell Seeker. Also gives more than usual resonance to the remark, "I'm Going to Hell for This."
- In Berserk, the two afterlives that we know of are either becoming a restless spirit (likely because of Unfinished Business) or getting sent to the Abyss (if you became an Apostle, are branded as a sacrifice, died with hatred in your heart, or any of a great number of things). While the Abyss is stated to not be what most people think of as heaven or hell, any human who goes there gets one's own ego dissolved, so most people would consider it to be Hell. Seemingly the best afterlife in this Crapsack World is no afterlife at all, which might not even be possible. The source material is rather vague on the exact specifics of how Berserks afterlife works but if you take into account The Lost Chapter and it's revelation about The Idea Of Evil, the strange nature of the afterlife might be because it's shaped by humanity's subconscious minds.
- When most people die, they go to Soul Society, and if they die again while in Soul Society, they reincarnate. However, if they live sinful lives and go to Hell, the reincarnation cycle stops and they don't get a second chance. This implies every soul eventually either ends up in Hell or suffers Cessation of Existence.
- Even when you don't go to Hell, the other options for afterlives are a desert where monsters hunt you until you become one of them, or likely live in poverty and Medieval Stasis while ruled over by unquestionable overlords (unless said overlords recruit you, in which case you will serve as a soldier until the aforementioned monsters manage to brutally kill you or you last long enough to get reincarnated). So going figuratively to Hell is, to the best of our knowledge, a complete certainty.
- In Dorohedoro, every single Magic User will end up in Hell, as their Mage Species is the creation of the settings' Devil equivalent and he reclaims them upon death.
- In Hell Girl, all that is needed to go to Hell is if someone hates you enough to be willing to use the Hell Correspondence and make a deal with the title character to send you there — or to make the deal yourself, as once you've sent someone to Hell, you will also go there when you die. People have been sent to Hell for spilling coffee on someone on that show. One perfectly nice nurse was sent to Hell by a complete stranger who did it for the sheer hell of it.
- Saint Seiya: Nearly all Humans go to the Underworld (or Inferno). There are nine prisons, inspired by Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy. All punishments are extreme and last forever, ranging from drowning in the bottom of a lake to boiling in a river of hot blood. The worst punishment is freezing in a glacier for eternity. When Lune reads Seiya's mind, his crime includes killing flowers or insects, or accidentally breaking a vase as a child. Supposedly, some Humans are so pure they go to the Elysium when they die. However, when Seiya finally gets there to rescue Athena, the only people there are the Gods Thanatos and Hypnos, along with some nymphs who serve them.
- Near the end of Space Patrol Luluco, the title character dies and ends up in hell. She's confused as to why, considering she's a pretty well-behaved middle schooler. On the other hand, the place looks dark and scary, but is otherwise pretty benign. It was also trivially easily for Luluco to escape—she comes Back from the Dead by taking an elevator in sight of where she first came in.
- Chick Tracts simultaneously play this straight and invert it: everyone is going to hell for the slightest, and least objectionable, of sins. However all you have to do is accept Christianity as he defines it and you'll spend eternity in heaven, no matter how horrible your previous actions. Some older tracts which pushed this really far past the breaking point note were pulled out of circulation by Chick himself when he realized that the massive Values Dissonance was too much for virtually anyone not as extreme in their beliefs.
- The Chronicles of Wormwood: Inverted, of all things. The people shown going to Hell are the true monsters (pedophiles, Hitler, Judas...) and getting into Heaven only requires that you don't do too much damage while on Earth (the one exception is an Islamic suicide bomber, who gets his promised 72 virgins in paradise... that is, 72 constantly-screaming infants to take care of all the time). All the stranger because God is shown to be a gibbering moron. .
- In both the DC and Marvel 'verses there have been examples of people getting sent to Hell with magic, rather than through any fault of their own. Granted, in most such cases they were able to get out later.
- In The Sandman (1989), Hell is both easy to get into and easy to get out of. This is because going there isn't due to the will of a god, but because some people subconsciously believe that's where they belong. Likewise, getting out is just a matter of deciding to. For example, Edwin Paine was a British schoolboy murdered by some of his classmates, who sacrificed him to the devil. Even though he was innocent, Paine believed that because he was killed in Lucifer's name he would go to Hell, so he did. After 75 years of torment, Hell is temporarily emptied by Lucifer, and Paine meets another student named Charles Rowland. Rowland convinces Paine that "you make your own Hell", and that he doesn't have to return if he doesn't want to. Sure enough, Paine can simply walk away from his "damnation".
- In Judas (2017), many of the people in Hell were purposefully manipulated by God to be made an example of for his followers. Even Lot's wife, who's only sin was looking back when Sodom was being destroyed, is now frozen as a statue in Hell.
- Inverted in the Pony POV Series: it's actually incredibly easy to avoid Hell and get out of it if you are sent there: it only takes admitting your actions were wrong and genuinely repenting to avoid it or escape, though there is a form of Purgatory to redeem ones' self, though every person so far seen there has done so of their own free will. The offenses that earn Hell seem to be rather severe (religious beliefs have nothing to do with it) and have thus far included murder, rape, genocide, mass erasing of others from existence, and attempted murder of one's own child, though Havoc mentions a section for genuinely sadistic reviewers who intentionally crush people emotionally for their own pleasure in Loose Canon. There's also a 'neutral' afterlife in the form of Limbo, where those who fall somewhere in the middle stay until they finally make the choice. It's an endless white void, but it's more boring than torturous and the gods are shown visiting and being rather nice. The problem is everyone who does get sent to Hell was shown the exact consequences of their actions and the damage they caused in full and still refused to accept what they did was wrong. Thus few sent there ever escape on their own and require someone from Heaven to come to Hell with the expressed purpose of redeeming them (with no risk to their own soul).
- With This Ring: It's implied to be true due to the way afterlives works in DC Comics. Virtually all faiths are true and the eventual fate of your soul is almost entirerly dependant on what you believed in life, and how you acted based on that, so if you were a Hellenist, or a person in present day identifying more with that faith than a modern one, and then failed to live up to your own standard, or pissed off one of the Olympians, you went to the Fields of Punishment rather than the christian Hell. Problem is, due to how much impact the Abrahamic faiths had on the western world, many people who aren't religious will still hold subconscious ties to either Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, and are thus judged by some pretty strict standards.
- Apparently, being sent to Hell is so easy that a single curse can do it in Drag Me to Hell, regardless of how good you've lived your life or what you've done.
- The Bible verse at the top of the page is quoted directly by William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) in Se7en, and the sentiment is central to the motivation of the film's Poetic Serial Killer antagonist. He seeks to stamp out all sin, but he is willing to murder people over the smallest of flaws, including himself.
- Deconstructing Harry: The fifth floor of Hell is for subway mothers, aggressive panhandlers, and book critics; the sixth is for right wing extremists, serial killers, and lawyers who appear on television. On the floor Harry gets off on, he meets the guy who invented aluminum siding.
- In Danish Black Comedy In China They Eat Dogs the tourist and the barman of the Framing Device turn out to be God and the Devil, respectively, here to collect the souls due to them, and it's not God who gets the lion's share. Cheat at gambling? HELL!!! Gay? HELL!!! Cuckold your husband once? HELL!!! -Oh, wait a sec, that last one wasn't enough and she should have gone to heaven? Oh, well, too bad for her...
- Hellraiser: Judgement: While the demons explicitly go after sinful people in general, their quarry ranges from serial killers and pedophiles to mere adulterers. As far as Pinhead is concerned, they are all deserving of eternal damnation.
- Inverted in American Gods, at least as far as Egyptian mytology went. Entry into paradise was determined by weighing a person's heart (which grew heavier with evil deeds and lighter with good ones) against a feather, but as it turns out the feather was specially made. Apparently someone had to be particularly evil to tip the scales.
- In The Adventurer by Mika Waltari, after the peasants' revolt led by Thomas Muntzer fails at Frankenhausen and as the leaders of the rebellion are being executed, a mercenary captain who is about to be executed looks at the bottom of his pint right after Muntzer has been beheaded and claims to see through it to hell where Thomas Muntzer is already along with a bunch of other people. Then he turns it upside down, pretending to look at heaven where he sees no one. (The naive narrator protagonist assures the reader that he probably didn't actually see hell or heaven through his pint.)
- Serves as the premise of Stanley Elkin's 1979 novel The Living End. Protagonist Ellerbee, a man so decent as to border on the beatific, finds himself cast into Hell for such offenses as taking the Lord's name in vain (once), failing to sufficiently honor his biological father and mother (he was adopted as an infant and never knew them), and— most damning of all— thinking that Heaven looked like a theme park.
- Shadow Police: In The Severed Streets, Quill discovers that under the rulership of the Smiling Man, everyone who has ever lived in London is damned to Hell.
- Only Begotten Daughter, a theological SF (?!) by James K. Morrow. "Everybody damned? Could that really be? Only Enoch, Elijah, Saint Peter, and Pop had gained the quantum reality called heaven?" ponders Julie, the female Jesus.
- The Salvation War: Everyone goes to Hell in this setting because God Is Evil and locked the gates to Heaven about a millennium ago, and even before that, the only people who actually went to Heaven had to be so pious they had effectively replaced their entire personality with blind worship of God. Oh, and Heaven kinda sucks too, it was just great in comparison to life on Earth in the Dark Ages, you'll still be a slave to the Heavenly host. Then God tries announcing that Judgement Day is here and humanity is officially doomed and... it doesn't turn out well for Him, Satan, or most of the angels and demons.
- The Screwtape Letters has Screwtape advise Wormwood to make use of this trope to bring his "patient" to Hell.
You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,
- The Good Place:
- Everything people do is assigned a positive or negative score to be tallied up when they die. The supposedly infallible judging standard is somewhat utilitarian, by human standards often petty or arbitrary (supporting a sports team can be positive or negative depending on which one it is), and your net score needs to be extremely high - a running gag is revealing surprising people who were sent to the Bad Place, which includes Florence Nightingale. The Season 2 episode "Rhonda, Diana, Jake, and Trent" showcases how the Bad Place commemorates "Low-Grade Crappiness", showcasing people whose notable "crimes" included saying "Ultimate Frisbee" for playing Frisbee, flossing teeth in the office, saying "I need a vacation from my vacation", and being a white man who wears dreadlocks. This becomes noted by Ascended Demon Michael as he points out to the Judge, the Top God of the afterlife, how four "bad" people became better people thanks to his experiment and thus argues the system must be flawed and there are perhaps billions of people who don't deserve their eternal damnation. The Judge gives him a chance to repeat the experiment again with the humans by undoing their deaths and seeing if they can become better people by their own initiative without knowledge of the afterlife.
- In the episode "Don't Let the Good Life Pass You By", we meet Doug Forcett, the man who managed to come the closest to independently figuring out how the afterlife works while on a drug trip. He spent the rest of his life in a state of utter altruism, never harming anything and performing as much kindness as humanly possible (he holds a funeral and makes a donation to charity when he steps on a snail) because he's that certain he'll be damned for anything less. In the next episode, it's revealed that he accumulated around 520,000 points... which was still nowhere near enough.
- The second half of Season 3 has the heroes trying to get to the root of the problem. The episode "Janet(s)" has Michael finally meeting the "accountants" of the afterlife Celestial Bureaucracy who crunch the numbers of people's point totals... and it's revealed that no one has managed to get into the Good Place for 521 years, leading him to wonder if the system has been sabotaged or has some kind of bug in it. In the following episode "The Book of Dougs", Michael figures out that this is because the system's designers never imagined that the human race could be so interconnected via technology, meaning that any simple act could have massive consequences and implications and basically damn any person without their realizing it. For example, in 1543, giving your grandmother roses would get you 145 points, since you would have to pick them yourself from the wild and hand-deliver them to her. In 2018, you'd still get those 145 points... and then start losing points because you ordered the roses online using a cell phone made in a sweatshop, the roses themselves were grown with pesticides and were picked out of a field by exploited migrant workers, the delivery across thousands of miles left a huge carbon footprint, and the CEO of the flower company you bought the roses from is a racist and sexist jerk; all adding up to a grand total of minus 4 points. When the heroes bring this issue up to the Judge, she initially is flippant about this, stating that it's the individual's own fault for not taking the possible consequences of their actions into account before proceeding with them. Jason and Chidi then retort in their own ways why it's not as simple as that - Jason recounts the story of a teammate on his dance crew who was always late to practice sessions due to working three jobs to support his family and thus, wouldn't have the time to think about those things, while Chidi points out that he actually did that himself in his first lifetime and even that had negative consequences of its own (namely, it made him The Ditherer, which in turn made his friends and family frustrated and miserable as they had to put up with it). And he still got sent to the Bad Place. Jason then suggests that she try living as a human, to which she agrees. Sure enough, she finds that it is indeed very difficult to engage in society without somehow causing harm to someone else or benefiting a bad person in some way and decides it is time to do something about the issue.
- Ultimately, they deal with this by inverting the trope and getting rid of the Bad Place entirely. Instead, it becomes a Getting-Better Place (basically, purgatory) where people slowly learn how to become better people and earn their spot in the Good Place. Now, not only is there no easy road to hell, there's no road to hell at all.
- One of the most acclaimed episodes of The Twilight Zone (1985), "Dead Run", has a trucker realizing that he's ferrying souls on the road to Hell. He soon finds Hell has recently undergone a "change of management" to what adds up to the Moral Majority. Thus, several of these souls have been condemned for being gay, drug addicts, not smart enough or refusing to pull banned books from the library. Deciding to fight this his own way, the trucker pauses every run to let out the souls who don't deserve eternal punishment and letting them have a shot at reaching Heaven.
- In The Vampire Diaries Hell apparently doesn't care if you're committing arson, murdering, or jaywalking, you will end up in Hell for any of them. Being damned to Hell will not only happen for the obvious like murderers, but accidentally killing someone via drunk driving, being mind controlled into killing someone who doesn't even actually die, allowing someone to kill themselves under mind control because you didn't do what the mind controller told you to do, valuing your own life over the lives of strangers even in an entirely hypothetical situation, etc. In short, unless you are a complete saint and don't end up doing anything bad whatsoever against your will or by mistake you WILL end up in Hell in this universe.
- Reaper: While cultural standards of sins have drifted over the centuries, when the Bible was first written, it was perfectly accurate. Meaning that even things like wearing fabric woven from multiple cloths could get you sent to Hell.
Devil: Did you know I used to get the people who ate fish? Just fish. Do you have any idea how unsatisfying that is?
- Thomas The Rhymer has been around since some point in the 13th century. Text taken from a Child Ballad version, though.
"O see ye not that narrow road,So thick beset with thorns and briers?That is the path of righteousness,Tho after it but few enquires."And see not ye that braid braid road,That lies across that lily leven?That is the path to wickedness,Tho some call it the road to heaven.
- Voltaire discusses this in "Hell in a Handbasket". The singer describes himself as neither a sinner nor a saint, but ends up going to hell anyways. He goes on to mock the notion: if he was so bad that he went to Hell, then there's no need to mourn him because everybody else will be there too!
I'm going to Hell (He's going to Hell!)
In a handbasket (In a hand basket!)
And I'll have good company too.
Cause if I was so bad, then there's no need to be sad,
'Cause everybody else will be there too (Including you!)
- In The Bible, all sinners go to hell. Since all humans have sinned, this means all humans go to Hell. This can include something as small as looking at a woman with lustful intent. God recognized this as an issue, since He loves us and doesn't want us to go to Hell, which is why He sent Jesus to pay the penalty for our sins in our place, making it possible for humans who repent of their sins to go to heaven.
- This is one of the five fundamental tenets of Calvinism, a branch of Christianity (Total Depravity, the 'T' of the TULIP). According to Calvinist doctrines, the whole of humankind is reprobate and predestined to Hell by default. Even one small sin is enough to earn a person God's wrath, and everyone is born with an innate tendency to sin. This basically means everyone is destined to go Hell no matter what — if you live in the world, you are going to sin and earn God's wrath at some point. God, in His infinite grace, has selected a certain amount people before they are born to be saved, and the Christ's atonement is reserved to them and to them alone. The rest of humankind will go to Hell because of their natural depravity. Some non-Calvinists like the Lutherans have compared the Calvinist salvation doctrine to lottery — humans can do absolutely nothing to affect their salvation, and everyone is destined to go to Hell by default (unless, of course, they are amongst those lucky few whom God has predestined to salvation before their birth). It is worth noting, however, that John Calvin believed it was impossible for humans to know who was predestined to salvation and who wasn't unless they demonstrated their salvation (or lack thereof) by their deeds...so the road is a bit bumpier from a human perspective. Nevertheless, Calvinism traditionally argues that even though only the elect are able to fully understand Christ's atonement, the sufficiency of the atonement stretches to all humanity; it's whoever fully accepts Christ's sacrifice that are part of the predestined.
- Hyper-Calvinism takes John Calvin's doctrine to the extreme, basically saying that they know who is saved and who is not. With that said, spreading the Gospel is meaningless, and they'll tell anyone who is not of the elect that they are forever damned to Hell. And keep in mind, some Hyper-Calvinist churches, like the Westboro Baptist Church, have a small amount of people. So yeah...Hyper-Calvinism is just as dangerous as it sounds.
- Despite the popular image in Western countries, Buddhism is absolutely this trope. The Buddhist version of Hell is more comparable to Purgatory as you don't stay there for very long but you are subjected to very extreme torment in order to cleanse the negative karma which even once removed still influences where and how you shall be reborn. This does not make Buddhist Hell any less terrifying especially considering just how easy it is to be sent there. Even being rude to your parents for whatever reason can get you sent to Hell if the first Yama King decides that you failed to show Filial Piety (loyalty to parents and grandparents and older relatives such as your siblings or your aunts and uncles) where it should had been expressed. Just for your information, the ten Yama Kings do not really pay attention to context which means that even killing mosquitos could be spiritually risky. The worst Hell (reserved for people who kill their father, mother, a Buddha or cause a schism in the Buddhist monastic community) is called Avīci, or the "non-stop way", where damned souls spend literally trillions of years. Although they will eventually be released, that has never happened yet according to teachings.
- According to Sahih al-Bukhari, one of the hadith of Sunni Islam, out of every one thousand people entering the afterlife, nine hundred and ninety nine of them will end up in "the fire."
- The religion of Ancient Greece, otherwise known as Hellenism, was essentially this trope, as almost everyone is destined for The Underworld. The various options were:
- A) Be average in life and wander the Fields of Asphodel as a semi-amnesiac shade.
- B) Be a hero and earn the paradise of Elysium.
- C) Be evil or show up the gods and be sent to the Fields of Punishment, where the likes of Sisyphus and Tantalus reside.
- D) Really piss off the gods and get sent to Tartarus, the bottomless pit.
- E) Be turned into a plant, animal or constellation by a god for any number of reasons.
- Quite a few ancient pre-Christian religions believed there was Only One Afterlife and it was unpleasant, making it this trope by default.
- In Old Harry's Game, everyone who's died is in Hell, and Satan is sick of it. (He believes everyone deserves to be in Hell, he just resents it being his responsibilty to deal with them.) His Deuteragonist in the first few seasons is the Professor, a very moral and idealistic man, but also an atheist, and therefore sent to Hell. Not that believing helps; just ask the Popes.
- In Nobilis, the standards angels set for Heaven are very, very high and stringent. So much so, in fact, that not a single human soul has ever gotten into Heaven. Ever. The only comfort is that you do have to be pretty evil to go to Hell, and the people who didn't qualify for either Heaven or Hell gets reincarnated instead - but still, you have an infinite number of lifetimes and you only have to be evil in a single one of them to go to Hell, meaning that your eternal damnation can never be avoided, only postponed.
- In Warhammer 40,000, everyone with a soul ends up in the Warp (this setting's version of Hell) after they die, no matter who they are or what their deeds in life were. Humans are lucky because their souls aren't powerful enough to remain conscious inside the Warp, but the default fate of Eldar takes the cake. Their souls are extra tasty to Slaanesh, who will immediately consume any Eldar soul that finds itself in the Warp, so they have to carry soulstones with them at all times so that they don't go into the Warp when they die. And if they indulge too much in any emotion (especially pleasure), Slaanesh will swallow their souls before they die. The sad thing is, the Warp used to be a peaceful afterlife long before it was called the Warp. One cataclysmic war later, that was no longer the case.
- The followers of Chaos and Dark Eldar embrace this trope, but for their own reasons which are slightly complex. Many of the followers of Chaos embrace Chaos out of personal reasons that usually can be boiled down to gaining divine power, revenge or personal gain. While this usually means damnation or being rejected by the Chaos Gods and being consigned to a miserable afterlife as a lowly Fury. Those who truly embrace Chaos and one or more of the Chaos Gods have a reasonable-to-slim chance at a decent afterlife...at least, in their eyes. And the grandest and most accomplished champions have a slim hope of being given the gift of ascension to a powerful and immortal Daemon Prince. The undevoted and secular "followers" of Chaos (for example, Iron Warriors and Night Lords, respectively) have come to terms that they would be courting damnation or that they might simply cease to exist in any meaningful way once they die.
- As for the Dark Eldar, they embrace the parasitic sadism and twisted hedonism that first gave birth to Slaanesh, and the emotional highs and utter gratuity means that Slaanesh is constantly "sipping" out their souls. This time around, they add an element of psychic vampirism: drinking up the pain of others helps rejuvenate them and stave off death for a time. In other words, they carry on the acts that carries their own damnation in order to stave it off a little longer. Each Dark Eldar fears death and the torturous afterlife at the hands of Slaanesh the most, and yet, they could stop and keep themselves safe by following the hyper-disciplined lives of the Craftworld Eldar. But Dark Eldar culture and reasoning don't see it worth switching over to this kind of life, as it would be boring and unfulfilling. In the end, the Dark Eldar are the victims of their own hubris and twisted hearts, as the feel that very real risk of one bad afterlife is worth living the kind of lives that they do. That said, every now and then a Dark Eldar grows weary of the sadism and hedonism and even joins a Craftworld.
- On very rare occasions particularly devout followers of the God Emperor of Mankind rise again as Living Saints when killed, though they usually dissipate back into the Warp after the battle is won. Though according to Gaunt's Ghosts they can reincarnate centuries later if the Imperium needs them.
- In Pathfinder, there's technically three hells, (one for each evil alignment), and while you typically only go to one for being evil, there are some other things that can earn you damnation regardless of your Character Alignment. Making a Deal with the Devil is the most common, though, more disturbingly, there are some monsters with attacks that automatically send you to hell if you die from them. They can still be brought back to life, which releases them from this fate for when they die again, but it often makes it harder to do.
- The Void, kind of, though it has more of an emphasis on "going to Heaven is hard". Ascending to a higher Limit is extraordinarily difficult and requires massive amounts of Color, while descending to a lower Limit is dangerously easy. Master Color even says, "All the easy routes only lead down."
- One of the questionable stories you can print in Mad News is a priest claiming that everybody is going to Hell, because Heaven's full.
- Revenant: Almost every single person goes to Anserak (which is basically Hell) when they die. It was originally intended to be like Purgatory rather than Hell, however, due to the gods leaving there is no one to let people out once they've done their penance. At the end Locke returns to Anserak and kills Yhagoro (the ruler) and his minions, which hopefully is enough to shut the place down.
- In World of Warcraft, souls are judged by the Arbiter to determine where they go within the Shadowlands. Only the vilest and irredeemable souls are sent to the Maw to face eternal punishment and imprisonment. Something happened to the cosmic order during the Legion expansion, however, incapacitating the Arbiter. With no one to judge souls, the Jailer, the ruler of the Maw, has been stealing every soul that dies and casting them into his realm for eternal damnation to empower himself.
- Played with in Hazbin Hotel and Helluva Boss. The universe has shades of this, with CHERUB being kicked out of heaven with no hope of redemption for killing a single human by accident while they were actively trying to save him. Hell is also suffering an Overpopulation Crisis, leading to an annual culling of the sinners by angels.
- DarkMatter2525: Many of his videos dissect this concept, e.g. here it's said more than one hundred billion people are in Hell, but Heaven has "much fewer".
- 180 Angel: Apparently all animals souls end up in Hell. This is eventually revealed to be because the loss of the Great Halo Hell has means that they can't expand anymore, so they needed the room for human souls.
- A soul is left for the Reapers to take to Hell if unclaimed by Heaven within 24 hours. If the delivery angel is waylaid, or if there is a miscommunication on how much time is left, like on Chloe's training assignment, or Chloe's mother being killed before she could pick up Zero, a pure soul could easily end up in Hell.
- Peggy and the rest of Zero's friends seem like perfectly fine people, yet ended up in Hell anyway.
- College Roomies from Hell!!!: Satan plucks out Dave's soul, for no sin at all, essentially just to show he can. Some supernatural force saves him through Margaret and Roger, but that wasn't the author's original plan. And then there's this exchange:
Satan: Now let's say I put you in a situation where you have to kill someone to save [Margaret's] life. Then you die and go to Hell. And once you're there, your ass is mine...
Dave: God would never allow that to happen!
Satan: Sssss. That's what you think. The Other Guy doesn't care if you live or die. You're supposed to settle for eternal life.
- Jack is all about this, seeing as Hell is the setting. Some examples:
- If you cannot forgive yourself for your life sins, you go to Hell.
- If you were enough of a Jerkass, you go to Hell.
- If you commit suicide for any reason, you go to Hell. In "Games We Play in Hell," it was implied that accidentally jumping to your death also counts as suicide.
- If your evil was of such a prodigious magnitude that Hell does not know how to punish you, you become Sin itself. (That's what happened to the protagonist.)
- It is stated that if you don't believe in God, S/He cannot accept you into Heaven, and you end up in Purgatory. But if you die and go to Purgatory, angels will sexually harass you until you agree to be reincarnated and live a harder life than the one you had the first time...which practically guarantees that you will go to Hell.
- If you're an unborn child whose mother went to Hell after being murdered, you go to Hell with her! But your innocence protects you from comprehending any of the horror you witness or being harmed except by your psychotic rapist sin-incarnate father. Fnar is called The Innocent In Hell and is told early on that he's just on standby before he can be born properly, but that doesn't really change the fact that he was sent to Hell for someone else's sins, and ultimately, to be someone else's punishment, leading to his Meaningful Name - he was sent to Hell for no apparent reason.
- Similarly, if you were aborted, a deformed, demonic copy of you is sent to Hell to torture your parents (who will definitely be down there) for aborting you.
- If you make the decision to repent of your sins and live a better life while you're still on Earth, an angel may come to kill you before you have the chance to act on that decision, so you'll go to Hell.
- If you manage to make it into Hell while living, you're welcome to buy souls at auction while you're there. But if you try to go back to the living world with them, it's suddenly a sin to own souls, and you'll stay in Hell.
- Maximumble: In "Goodness", one person went to hell when they died, just because of a single snide comment on the internet about getting an Android phone when the other person asked about an iPhone problem.
- Sinfest isn't quite as extreme as some examples, but it's hard to say what Slick did to really deserve his various trips to Hell. (And then there are people who fall into hellpits by not looking where they're going, or the guy who mistook the Devil for a T-shirt salesman and now burns while wearing a shirt that says "I made fun of the Devil" . . .)
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:
- In YU+ME: dream , Sister Mary routinely informs the students of things that will send them to hell. These include jumping on the bed, wearing striped socks to school, and running red lights. Then again, Sister Mary is all part of the Dream Land of an angst-filled teenager in a coma, so she's rather overblown.
- Darwin Carmichael Is Going to Hell: Presumably doesn't apply for most people, since in this comic it's possible for the living to get a "karmic reading" which tells them if they need to improve their behavior to avoid Hell, and All Myths Are True, so going to Heaven depends more on being a generally good person rather than following any one specific religion. However, there are a couple of special cases:
- No matter how hard he tries to make up for his actions, Darwin Carmichael is going to Hell for accidentally giving the Dalai Lama brain damage. Eventually, he figuratively goes to hell while alive, and is crowned the Dark Messiah. He commits suicide shortly after, and it turns out preventing the Apocalypse was what it took to get him into Heaven.
- Inverted, however, with Ella, who has so much good karma that she can get away with almost anything.
- The message of The Doomsayers of The Blind Gibberer, a cult in Oglaf, is that Sithrak The Blind God That Hates You, will torture everyone for all eternity after they die. regardless of anything done by them in life. Sithrak's realm does appear to be a Fire and Brimstone Hell, however, he's not that bad a guy. He wrote those scriptures promising eternal torment to all when he was angry, and resurrects a cultist to have them spread the news he wasn't serious. The cultist assumes he's just toying with his emotions as a means of tormenting him.
- In Rooster Teeth Comics anyone who uses a Mac over a PC goes to Hell, regardless of their morality. Apparently God is still holding a grudge over Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit that he takes it out on Mac users, since the Mac's symbol is an apple.
- It Hurts!!: there are two sins God finds unforgivable and result in someone going to hell. For men, it's touching their penis. (Yes, even to urinate.) For women, it's stepping into sunlight. This results in an odd situation where Abusive Parent Jerkass Pasqualo's dad ends up in heaven because he never touched his junk.
- I'm the Grim Reaper: You can go to hell for stealing... snails. One out of a whole plate each time. From gourmet dishes that overcharge on the plentiful snails in the first place. The Devil makes it very clear that he judges sinners based on the norms of the society they live in, which is corrupt from the start. The root of the problem is that God and Satan are both a high-functioning psychopaths. God's values are based on Moral Sociopathy, therefore, God's judgements lack important context that mortals would care about. There is no such thing as atonement or redemption either, because the universe is basically just a tool for God's research. Neither God nor Satan give a damn about whether it's fair.
- Made worse by how corrupt society has become while heaven simply observes... or even kills virtuous people to bring them into heaven before they are done making the world a better place.
- The Order of the Stick: By default, the evil god Hel has a claim on all dwarf souls, who are enslaved in her realm upon death. The only exceptions are dwarves who die with honor, who go to Valhalla instead. It's downplayed in that Thor warned the dwarves of this early on, resulting in them forming a Martyrdom Culture, and Thor himself is quite happy to use Loophole Abuse and Exact Words to bail out his followers who got particularly unlucky with their manner of death.
- This becomes a major plot point in the sixth volume, in which Hel and her followers try to manipulate the gods into destroying and remaking the world — since the planet exploding beneath one's feet wouldn't be an honorable death, the entire dwarven population would be lost to her, and she could use this power to make herself the Top God in the next world.
- Bartleby Tales. The title character went to Hell for being gay, despite barely being pubescent and never having acted on his feelings. And the number of people that made it to heaven that year, in the entirety of the universe? Six. God is such a dick in this universe that Jesus is in Hell, because God wanted Him to tell the world to obey God's laws and hate anyone who didn't, and the Father was pissed when He preached peace and love instead.
- A common urban legend about a paper made on Snopes about whether hell is endothermic or exothermic states that hell must be really hot and getting worse because everyone has been cursed to go to Hell by at least someone else in the world.
- dril says he has accepted he is going to hell "because I mispronounced church as "gurtch" once".
- Daniel Thrasher: In "Welcome to the After (music video)", Daniel ends up "down south" for only being a moderately normal guy. The sins that left him eternally damned include: not giving change to a homeless guy, being insincere to his grandad over the phone was trying to have a conversation with him and, when given the chance to know anything, asks if his high school girlfriend ever cheated on him.
Daniel: But doesn't matter that I tried to be kind?
Daniel: Like I've always tried to be a good person, ultimately. Doesn't that matter at all?
Judge: Did you try? You really tried? Like you really, really, really tried?
- Real-Time Fandub: A unique Inversion. In the Shadow Dub, Shadow is actually trying to go the Hell, but the Devil keeps telling him that everything he's doing, no matter how corrupt, violent, or destructive, is ultimately good and will earn him a place in Heaven. For example, Shadow killing the president of the US (as well as wasting military property) has good connotations because all presidents are war criminals. The Devil doesn't even consider adultery a sin, dismissing it as an outdated Christian ideal despite the fact that he loves to remind Shadow that he's the Devil from the Bible. Shadow lampshades the Devil confusing standards multiple times.
- Futurama: "Hell is Other Robots" introduces Robotology, a religion that has an easy condemnation to Robot Hell for robots. According to his agreement with his new church, all Bender has to do is sin once to be dragged off to Robot Hell. Ironically, they never mention robots who never joined that church going to Robot Hell, so Bender may have been fine if he had never converted.
- Hercules: The Animated Series expands the movie's example by explicitly showing the underworld is a G-rated hellnote except the Elysian fields, which Hades isn't allowed to control and are only for heroes. Therefore, good but not hero-class = uh-oh.
- The Preternia Warrior Heaven in Masters of the Universe: Revelation is extremely hard to get into, being inhabited by a handful of major heroes. It's said everybody else goes into the ground, presumably to Subternia.
- Parodied in Robot Chicken where a man meets Saint Peter who hands him a book that can answer any question about his life. He rapidly annoys the gatekeeper of heaven as he thinks it would be too boring to ask what he did right or wrong and instead asks how many times he heard I Touch Myself by the Divynils and how big a wall could be built using his entire life's supply of poo.
Satan: (impressed) 2.7 miles?!?
Guy: I know, right?
- Parodied and subverted by The Simpsons as Bart is on his way to Heaven on an escalator after being hit by a car, but gets sent to Hell for not holding onto the handrail and for spitting over the side (though Satan says it's more for his lifetime of evil deeds, and that the spitting over the side was the straw that broke the camel's back) Then, when Bart is sent back to Earth when his body is resuscitated, the Devil tells him "Remember Bart, lie, cheat, steal and listen to heavy metal music!".
- Smiling Friends: Charlie's grandma got sent to Hell for saying "damn" in response to seeing her husband get shot in the head by a burglar. Charlie says that seems a little unreasonable.
- South Park:
- In the show's Verse the only people who can get into heaven are Mormons. Everybody else goes to hell for pagan worship, which is why Hell is presented as way more fun, and getting stuck with the Mormons is at one point presented as Hell of a Heaven for non-Mormons.
- In South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Kenny has been killed (again) and his soul drifts up towards heaven. However, as soon as he touches it, he gets an "Access Denied" message and tumbles straight down to Hell, which has a "Population" sign showing a huge and ever-increasing number, whilst the equivalent sign for Heaven revealed a tiny population. And it's not as if Kenny has exactly had time to sin much. All Played for Laughs of course.
- The episode "Best Friends Forever" claimed that Heaven had ten thousand people while Hell had ten billion, or a million times as much. Satan was all but assured victory when he attacked, so God started letting more people in Heaven and had Kenny killed in order to lead Heaven's armies so they stand a chance.
- A famous joke philosophy essay of unknown veracity written in response to the impossible question if "Is Hell is endothermic or exothermic?" It states, "Because there are at least two mutually excommunicating religions that say all who do not follow their religion will go to hell, we can confidently predict that all people will go to hell." This prompts the further question of whether this means Hell is hot and getting hotter or cool and getting colder, which is resolved with a bit of Insane Troll Logic.
- A chaplain for some Canadian airborne troops preparing to embark on the D-Day invasion wasn't happy about the fact that condoms had been issued, so delivered a long rant from the pulpit about them facing death with the means of damnation in their pockets. Allegedly the floor was littered with condoms afterward, disposed by jittery soldiers unwilling to tempt fate.
- It's worth noting that, in addition to STD/STI prevention (a serious consideration, since rates of attrition due to infection were very high), condoms were also issued for less risqué reasons. Soldiers, especially paratroopers, often used them to keep dirt out of the barrels of their guns, and "frogmen" on the beaches of Normandy used them to protect fuses on demolition charges from water. That makes this a remarkably wide road to Hell.