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The doctrine of hell presents the most intractable version of the problem of evil, for though it might be argued that ordinary pain and evil can somehow be compensated for by the course of future experience, the pain and suffering of hell leads nowhere. This work develops an understanding of hell that is common to a broad variety of religious perspectives, and argues that the usual understandings of hell are incapable of solving the problem of hell. Kvanvig first argues that the traditional understanding of hell found in Christianity suffers from moral and epistemological inadequacies. Historically, these shortcomings lead to alternatives to the traditional doctrine of hell, such as universalism, annihilationism, or the second chance doctrine. Kvanvig shows, however, that the typical alternatives to the traditional understanding are inadequate as well. He argues that both the traditional understanding and the typical alternatives fail to solve the problem of hell because they share the common flaw of being constructed on a retributive model of hell. Kvanvig then develops a philosophical account of hell which does not depend on a retributive model and argues that it is adequate on both philosophical and theological grounds.
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