“Whether hell is other people, a place, or just a bad date, it’s deeply ingrained in society’s collective consciousness. But why?,” asks Candida Moss at Daily Beast:
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Whether hell is an expletive, a coercive threat to keep naughty congregants in line, or a euphemism for a bad date, it seems that hell is thoroughly ingrained in our religious and cultural consciousness. But this wasn’t always the case. And there are many believing theologians today who think that hell is immoral, nonexistent, or both, prompting the question: where does hell come from and why do we have it?
Chronologically speaking, hell didn’t always feature in conceptual maps of the afterlife. In the Hebrew Bible there are frequent references to Sheol, a place of shadows located physically beneath us. This is where everyone goes when they die, because people are buried in the ground.