Shelby Laser asked:
Why do you suppose Dante decided to place those who came before Christ in Hell when they would never have had a chance to prevent themselves from ending up there? If these people never had the chance to worship Christ, I don't understand how they can be condemned to such a place.
Kumari de Silva It wasn't up to Dante, he was describing the Church doctrine that existed in his day. Given the deep respect he has for the writers and philosophers he meets from ancient Rome and Greece he might well have been arguing for the defense, i.e. maybe he agreed with us: that they did NOT deserve to be in Hell. As I understand it, eventually the church changed it's official view on this situation.
Andy Taylor In addition to the Adam and Eve story, it has been theorised that they should have considered the coming of Christ and existence of God. Instead, they led virtuous lives limited by human imagination, therefore, their afterlife is as good as they could conceive with all of their knowledge and wisdom. Socrates said his ideal afterlife would consist of having conversations with wise men from the past and future. That is what he got. Because they denied an existence of powers beyond logic, they are denied them in the afterlife.