Wanting to believe in the afterlife is one of the most common reasons people flock to religion.
Facing death is frightening and people need to feel as though the end is not truly the end. There are the basic afterlife scenarios: heaven and hell, purgatory, and weird dimensions in between.
Throughout the ages, there have been some pretty weird religions and with them, some pretty weird beliefs about what comes next. Here are the stranger beliefs about the afterlife from around the world.
FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints)
Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints is a group of splinter factions of The Mormon Church who think the church really screwed up when it got rid of polygamy.
It makes sense since the basis of the religion was the idea that men who held the priesthood would rule their own planet in the afterlife as part of the so-called “Celestial Kingdom” and the more wives he had, the more he had to rule. Those who live evil lives would float around in the “Outer Darkness”.
While they don’t believe in polygamy anymore, they still believe in the whole planet in the afterlife thing.
What’s weirder — they believe that the only way for the dead to have peace it for them to be Mormon, so they often induct dead people into the Mormon church.
In fact, they did this once to a whole host of Jews that died in the holocaust. Suffice to say, a lot of people weren’t too pleased about that.
Heaven’s gate was a cult that believed the human race originated when aliens landed on Earth and planted crops, which turned into homo sapiens.
They believed the aliens would be back one day to retrieve the lucky ones who led a devout life, free of material pleasures. The cult members believed they would depart this world for the “next level” with the Hale-Bopp comet.
Of course, one couldn’t just board the comet-like an airliner. No, a ritual suicide was in order to rejoin their alien friends.
So that’s exactly what the cult members did in 1997 when they committed suicide with the return of the Hale-Bopp comet.
Wiccans believe in reincarnation, but they believe that you’re always reincarnated as a different species. While you wait to be reincarnated, your soul rests in between in a world called Summerland.
You’re probably thinking that Satanists believe you go to hell when you die. Think again. Satanists of the modern era are basically atheists. As such they believe that when you die, it’s over.
Ever wonder why they used to put coins on the eyes of the dead? It’s for Charon, who rowed the boat to the afterlife in Greek mythology.
It was said that if you didn’t put coins on the eyes of the dead they couldn’t pay the fare and they’d be stuck in purgatory. After that, they either went to heaven, which was called, “Elysium” or hell which was called “Hades.”
Diyu comes from Chinese mythology. It’s an underground, fiery maze. Contained in the maze are different hellish chambers. No matter how good or bad you are, you have to spend some time in Diyu.
The chambers have different punishments, like climbing a mountain until your body is destroyed, having your body ground up in a grinding machine, or frozen until you succumb to frostbite.
You can actually die from the pain, again! If you do, you’re reborn in whatever hell chamber killed you.
In the Qur’an, this is where really, really bad people go. You actually are only sent here for the ultimate sin of worshipping multiple gods.
In Jahannam, you’re subject to multiple punishments, like having your skin burnt off, regenerated and burnt again. Otherwise, you have to wear clothes that are made of flames while your brain boils and you walk across hot coals.
In Babylonian mythology, the dead went to Ikala, a place where all dead people go but where they keep their decomposing, zombie bodies.
They must use that old rotting corpse to cross seven gates. Posted at each gate is a guard that steals whatever clothing or jewelry you have on you.
Once you make it to the end, you don’t really get any reward. You just sort of sit around and exist.
Once among some of the largest religions in the world, Zoroastrianism had its own heaven and hell. In order to get to them, you had to cross the Chinvat Bridge or The Bridge of Judgement.
If you lived a good life, the bridge is easy to cross. It’s a nice sturdy bridge that broadens as you cross. When you’re done, you make it to The House of Song where you spend eternity in peace.
If you were bad, however, your bridge twists and turns as you walk across it, and then narrows, until finally a hideous woman appears out of nowhere and scares you until you fall off into the House of Lies.
In Buddhism, one’s fate is based entirely on karma. Naraka is their equivalent of hell and you only go there if you have really bad karma.
Their hell is broken up into different realms. Avici is the worst realm. It’s super hell. Avici is a massive cube structure buried deep beneath the ground.
You have to do something really bad to go there, like murder a holy person. Fortunately, Avici is only temporary.
Once you work through it your bad karma is discharged you get to leave and be reborn.