This issue came up in the letter to Dr Laura thread and rather than letting that thread deviate from its topic I thought I would deal with the issue here. Various scriptures in the Bible tell us that our life ends when we die. It is a complete and final end. There is no life after death. There is no immortal soul. And there is no eternal suffering or hell. I know this is not what Judaism or most so-called Christian churches teach but it is what the Bible says. Most supposedly Christian churches just do not teach what the Bible says. They create their own doctrines and over time these doctrines become entrenched teachings. Let us look first of all at what God told Adam. After commanding Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil God said: "in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Note the consequence of disobedience. Adam would die. God did not say: "If you disobey me your physical body will die but you have an immortal soul that will go on living forever and you will suffer eternal punishment". Let's move forward now to after Adam has eaten the forbidden fruit. God pronounces sentence on Adam and Eve and finishes with the statment: "For dust you are, and to dust you shall return." Here is a statement from God clearly explaining what death means. Adam would simply cease to exist. There is no mention of an immortal soul or eternal punishment in a fiery place of torment. Some scriptures expressly deal with the condition of the dead and indicate that far from being a place of suffering, the common grave of mankind is a place of inactivity: "For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going." - Ecclesiastes 9:10 Another scripture equates the condition of dead humans with dead animals. In life man is superior to animals but in death we are all alike: "For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; ... as one dies, so dies the other ... All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust." - Ecclesiastes 3:19-20 Jesus described death like being asleep. When Jesus learned of Lazarus' death he travelled with his disciples to Lazarus' grave intending to resurrect him. On the way Jesus said to his disciples: "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up." If Lazarus had already passed on to a life in heaven it would hardly have been kind of Jesus to resurrect him back to an imperfect life on earth. Let us consider one more argument based on logic and common sense, not scripture. Assume for the sake of this argument that God is indeed the loving God that he tells us he is. Even we imperfect humans would not do what some churches accuse God of doing. I'm reminded of many western movies I've seen where the cowboy's horse goes lame and rather than let the horse die of thirst in the desert the cowboy shoots the horse to spare it the torture of a painful death. Even the worst kind of evil gunslinger in these movies will not walk away and let his horse suffer. Yet most supposedly Christian churches teach (and many people swallow) a story about what would have to be the cruelest act that God could do - create a place of eternal torment and suffering, a place where God would put anyone who rejected him, and this God would look forever on this place and watch humans endure pain and agony. That is not the God of the Bible and it is not the God of this universe.