What happens (according to Christians) to people who specificially rejected the idea of God, the Bible and the christian teachings after they die?

Is there a difference to people who believed in another deity, maybe even several deities?

We have seen questions what happens to people who have never heard about Jesus, unborn babies and children. I did not see that question before, so I asked right away. Additionally I don't ask if we can go to heaven, but simply what happens after our life has ended.

  • 4
    A perfect answer to this question includes a variety of views, from the common "acceptance of Christ leads to Heaven, all others go to Hell" to Christian Universalism, Annihilationism, and other ideas on the subject.
    – user202
    Sep 21, 2011 at 19:50
  • Related: Is Hell eternal, or do some/all escape it? Sep 23, 2011 at 20:32
  • @IanPugsley Agreed, there is absolutely no one agreed upon answer from this one, there is a spectrum of beliefs depending on who you talk to. Sep 23, 2011 at 20:38
  • possible duplicate of Can an atheist go to heaven?
    – Waggers
    Oct 6, 2011 at 15:23
  • 1
    There is no agreement on this. If you ask universalists they will give a different answer than other Christians...
    – curiousdannii
    Mar 18, 2015 at 21:55

3 Answers 3


The Bible is very clear that all atheists and non-believers will be sent to the Lake of Fire after they die. It even goes further than that by specifying a list of people that are not accepted (which covers more than your question!):

Revelations 21:8 (NIV)
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.

To answer the question, it's pretty clear that the Bible does not distinguish between "non-believers" (atheist, agnostic, or what have you) and "believers of other religions". When it says "the unbelieving" it refers to all non-Christians.

Furthermore, it's the belief in God that brings salvation, not the works. We can see from this verse that it's what's in a man's heart that determines his salvation. Every one of these evils can be directly related to a problem in the person's heart.

Acts 16:31 (NIV)
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

However, works are an outpouring from faith:

John 14:15 (NIV)
If you love me, keep my commands.

And without the faith that produces works, there is no actual faith behind it:

James 2:14-18 (NIV)
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

Ultimately, to answer the question, all non-believers (people who do not believe in any god, the Christian God, or who believe in another God) along with all people who claim to believe in God but do not have a solid faith will end up in the lake of fire.

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    @Sven, according to the Bible - there is no distinction between "big" and "little" sins: if you have broken one law, you are guilty of all of it
    – warren
    Sep 21, 2011 at 18:57
  • 4
    @Sven that's why all sin is equal. There are no 'small' sins. see this answer for an explanation christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/2113/… , But that is the good news of the gospel that "While we were still sinners, Christ Died for us" Christ died to pay for all our sins, but if you reject him you stay in the same condition you are already living in, condemnation, If you accept Christ you pass from death to life. see John 3:16-18
    – 2tim424
    Sep 21, 2011 at 19:02
  • 1
    "Atheist" and "agnostic" aren't mutually exclusive. In fact, most atheists you'll find are agnostic atheists like myself.
    – user729
    Oct 5, 2011 at 22:52
  • 2
    @Atheist: Actually using dictionary definitions they ARE mutually exclusive. Atheists claim to know that there is no God, Agnostics claim it's not possible to have that kind of _know_ledge.
    – Caleb
    Oct 5, 2011 at 23:35
  • 3
    @caleb, It's a common misconception
    – user301
    Oct 6, 2011 at 0:35

I would just like to add that the book of Romans talks about those who have not heard the gospel and those of other religions.

Romans 2 Let God Be the Judge 1 So do you think that you can judge those other people? You are wrong. You too are guilty of sin. You judge them, but you do the same things they do. So when you judge them, you are really condemning yourself. 2 God judges all who do such things, and we know his judgment is right. 3 And since you do the same things as those people you judge, surely you understand that God will punish you too. How could you think you would be able to escape his judgment? 4 God has been kind to you. He has been very patient, waiting for you to change. But you think nothing of his kindness. Maybe you don’t understand that God is kind to you so that you will decide to change your lives.

5 But you are so stubborn! You refuse to change. So you are making your own punishment greater and greater. You will be punished on the day when God will show his anger. On that day everyone will see how right God is to judge people. 6 He will reward or punish everyone for what they have done. 7 Some people live for God’s glory, for honor, and for life that cannot be destroyed. They live for those things by always continuing to do good. God will give eternal life to them. 8 But others are selfish and refuse to follow truth. They follow evil. God will show his anger and punish them. 9 He will give trouble and suffering to everyone who does evil—to the Jews first and also to those who are not Jews. 10 But he will give glory, honor, and peace to everyone who does good—to the Jews first and also to those who are not Jews. 11 God judges everyone the same. It doesn’t matter who they are.

12 People who have the law and those who have never heard of the law are all the same when they sin. People who don’t have the law and are sinners will be lost. And, in the same way, those who have the law and are sinners will be judged by the law. 13 Hearing the law does not make people right with God. They will be right before him only if they always do what the law says.

14 Those who are not Jews don’t have the law. But when they naturally do what the law commands without even knowing the law, then they are their own law. This is true even though they don’t have the written law. 15 They show that in their hearts they know what is right and wrong, the same as the law commands, and their consciences agree. Sometimes their thoughts tell them that they have done wrong, and this makes them guilty. And sometimes their thoughts tell them that they have done right, and this makes them not guilty.

16 All this will happen on the day when God will judge people’s secret thoughts through Jesus Christ. This is part of the Good News that I tell everyone.

Just thought it worth mentioning


What happens to people, who reject God and the bible, after they die?

They go to the grave and remain there, until the second coming of Jesus Christ. Is there a difference to those people who believe in other deites? No.

John 5;28,29

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming: in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Matthew 13;30

Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the time of harvest I will say unto the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

1 Timothy 4;12

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

2 Corinthians 6;14

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteouness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Acts 2;25-27

For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the LORD always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

After the crucifixion, Jesus went to the grave and remained there until the resurrection.