According to this answer of the question: "Do Jews think that all the unbelievers would go to hell someday?" a response is:

If by "unbelievers" you mean those who are not Jewish, then the answer is "no".

By this answer I would guess it means "no" even Christians and Muslims won't go to hell (because they are literally not Jewish). But I also feel the term "Not Jewish" could be interpreted as in people who doesn't believe in God at all. Therefore that term might not include people that believe in a religion other than Judaism but believe in God.

So I'd like to confirm, does Judaism teach that Christians and Muslims will go to hell?

And after the confirmation, I'd like to know if there are different of opinions? If so, by who?

If they won't go to hell, does that mean that they are going to paradise? Or are there alternatives?

  • 2
    To the best of my knowledge, all people who follow the Seven Noahide Laws diligently will enter heaven. This mandates belief in the One God. In general, Muslims fulfil this requirement. Debate arises concerning Christians who believe in a distinct Trinity. Other religions are open to more debate.
    – JJLL
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 14:47
  • Discussion about whether this question is a duplicate and related meta policies has been moved to chat. Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 15:23
  • @JJLL the seven noahide laws are just for the non jews living under jewish rule not those outside our rule. the seven noahide laws are including in hilkoth malakhim for a reason. it is the jewish king that imposes it on the people of his land and not the entire world. jews have no obligation now to go and make everyone follow these laws Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 19:33
  • @MoriDowidhYa3aqov Our obligation to make them follow the 7 and their obligation to follow the 7 are not the same thing.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 19:34
  • 1
    @DoubleAA puu.sh/qVnUC/9df44042a5.png hakhom jose faur's horizontal society Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 19:46

1 Answer 1


Halachically, when we need to define "who is a heretic" for laws like minyan, conversion, handling wine, etc... we follow Rabbi Yosef Albo (Iqarim, 1:2) Rav Shimon ben Tzemach Duran (Ohiev Mishpat 15a) the Radvaz (Responsum 1248), and apparently the Raavad (note on Laws of Teshuvah 3:1), among others, who say that it is not belief in heresy that makes one categorizable as a heretic, but rebelling against G-d to the point of embracing heresy that does.

And so, the dominant belief with regard to the afterlife is correspondingly that someone seeking Truth but through no fault of his own reaches the wrong conclusion is not a heretic and not deprived of a place in the World to Come. We tend to see human perfection in terms of morality, ethics, and culpability in general. Not "does he believe heresy" but "is it his fault?"

This is true of a Jew who is misled by reading the scriptures overly literally (the Radvaz and Raavad's case), one who was raised by people with a different belief system, or, I presume, the non-Jews in question.

According to the Rambam, personal redemption is a product of knowledge. He thus opens the Guide to the Perplexed with a discussion of how pre-sin Adam had to distinguish between truth and falsehood, and the need to distinguish between good and evil is a consequence of that first sin. In 3:18 we learn that humanness is proprotional to such knowledge, and therefore Divine Providence is as well. 3:27 describes prophecy as a step beyond philosophy. (See also 3:31, his explanation for mitzvos, and elswhere for more of the same.) And in the closing paragraphs, he ranks perfection of knowledge above moral perfection.

And so it's consistent for him that he writes that proper knowledge is what causes reward in the afterlife (Laws of Teshuvah ch. 8). It's knowing about the Eternal One that grants one eternity (Commentary on Mishnah, introduction to Sanhedrin ch. 10). It's a causal thing, and therefore guilt and cupability don't really enter into it. (Beyond saying that someone who doesn't act G-dly wouldn't possibly know Him.)

But this is a minority view, and not what any stream of contemporary Judaism that I know of still preaches.

And even the Rambam, who would say that the wrong belief itself causes a lack of reward in the World to Come, would not say necessarily that it must cause its absence altogether. After all, he credits Islam and to a far lesser extent Christianity as steps along the way to the world reaching the truth. (Laws of Kings 11:10-11) With more truth, one gets more reward. Proportion, rather than all-or-nothing.

(This depends on a long-standing debate about how Maimonides defines "gehennom". There is indication (Commentary on Mishnah, ibid) that he may believe that the ultimate punishment isn't "hell", but a cessation of existence. If that is indeed his position, then a proportional resolution isn't likely.)

  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 19:25
  • I think this is a good representation of Rambam. the Q. would be interested in reading up Menachem Kellner. He has a lot to say on this subject regarding Rambam.
    – Turk Hill
    Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 14:25

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