There's a post at Vox Nova - Living in Fear of Hell - about an article by Mark Shea - Scruples and the Fear of Hell. The Vox Nova post takes issue with some of what's in the Shea article, and I thought I would too. Shea writes ...
[...] Jesus' diagnosis is that our race is sick with sin. Hell is the fruition of a life obstinately ordered toward sinful selfishness. The endstage of sin is hell just as the endstage of cancer is death. It’s not an extra added punishment for sin. It's just what sin fully is. So it’s not something God does to us. It’s something we do to ourselves. God is not Daddy Dearest, standing there threatening to shove you into the box of scorpions forever “to teach you a lesson” if you don’t clean up your room this minute. He is the guy on the beach waving his arms and trying to get the oblivious (and contemptuous) bathers out of the surf and into the Land Rover that will speed them to high ground before the tsunami makes landfall ..... He doesn't want you to be afraid any more than you want to be afraid ..... He hates hell more than you do, because he loves you more than you do.
The argument attempts to place God within, and powerless to act against, a system that actually was created *by* God and which he stands outside of. It attempts to blame the victims for their eternal punishment (it’s not something God does to us. It’s something we do to ourselves) but the NT shows a God who does indeed send people to a scary hell against their will (Luke 16:19–31, Matthew 25:46). No argument can logically square a good God - a Jesus who preaches forgiveness, non-violence, and love - with one who forces people into an eternal and awful punishment, so these kind of arguments instead try to move the goal posts.
I guess I too go off the rails - I want to believe there *is* no hell. The difference between me and the people who justify hell is that I'd rather believe in a God who never created it than try to make him look good while having done it.