I thought I'd make this a post rather than it getting lost in the depths of comments... :-)
The idea is a 'Hell' is possibly one of the reasons I do not believe in mythology over reason. Funny, when you consider it was such an effective technique in medieval times!
An 'all loving' god that has the capacity to create such a dreadful place? Now there's your problem.
Fortunately, I don't believe in 'Hell'. Unfortunately, theists do. And it's the theists that actually want me to go to Hell scare me.
Let's think about it... there are things in the world that I would not wish on my worst enemies. There are things that I would not wish on ANYBODY.
But there ARE theists who wish the obscene, violent, suffering of Hell on me for ever! At the very least, they think I will go there and they don't have a problem with it! That is just sick. And I really pity them. To be so twisted by what they believe to be right, they can see no wrong in any of their actions.
Ladies and gentlemen, a fine example of religious morality! (sigh) And this in a world where people are outraged about conditions in prisons! Where liberals campaign about suspected terrorists tortured in Guantanamo Bay to keep our countries 'safe'. But when it's religion... oh of course - burn the heathens and followers of false (depending on where you live) religions. Make them SUFFER!!!
But, to keep a sense of balance...
I have had conversations with (much nicer) christians who believe that 'Hell' is merely the absence of a god. And because I would never be embraced by his love, it would be 'hell' in comparison.
This is a considerably more pleasant approach than the 'fire and brimstone' bollocks I so often hear. But I do argue that the bible does make it quite clear about what will happen to the likes of me. It all depends on what percentage of the bible you consider an analogy, I guess. ;-)
Personally, and I say this as a parent of three very well behaved children and as a teacher, threats do not convince people to behave. Only by setting a good example, treating people fairly and with respect, will you have any chance of getting a message across.
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