Punishment has to serve a purpose, other than satisfying the punisher's lust for vengeance, in order to be of use. However, the Biblegod's version of punishment means that if you don't believe, your punishment never stops. It's pure vengeance. Unconditional love means that you use punishment only to correct and reform the wrongdoer. It's still tough love enough, for punishment is always tough to go through, but of course temporary, corrective punishment for sins is "too vanilla" or "too soft on sin" to please the conservative/fundamentalist segment of Christianity, heh. There's that lust for violence in the believers who adamantly preach that anyone who doesn't believe as they believe go to hell. It's a perversion, really.There are several points here I think are missed by people who holds Erkki's view of God's nature, character, and what hell is.
I'm an atheist and I'm opposed to any religion that teaches the monstrosity of everlasting hell. So revolting is this concept that I can't see why any rational human being could accept this fear-mongering nonsense. But I'm sure if God exists, he's much nicer than the religious fanatics portray him to be. And more willing to correct even the worst villain ever and punish him only to cleanse him of his sins altogether. Because this is true love: to redeem even the worst among humans. Otherwise Satan or whoever is responsible for making humans sin is more powerful than God himself.
1. Hell is not just about punishment. No one goes to hell for what they did but because of what they are - sinners. We all deserve to go to hell. We all have earned God's wrath because we are not holy.
2. Think about what Erkki is saying: Unconditional love means that you use punishment only to correct and reform the wrongdoer. It's still tough love enough, for punishment is always tough to go through, but of course temporary, corrective punishment for sins is "too vanilla" or "too soft on sin" to please the conservative/fundamentalist segment of Christianity, heh. Who said? How was this conclusion reached? We have a characterization of "unconditional love" given without any proof that it's correct. I would argue that God has provided the means so that we can be cleansed of sin and be with Him forever - Jesus' atoning sacrifice and resurrection. Why should God allow you to avoid hell if you reject his grace and demand that you do it your own way?
3. How is this fear-mongering? How is this nonsense? Do you let people come in your house and do whatever they want no matter what you think? Nope. We live in God's universe. Why would God not have the right to enforce His will and standards regardless of what you think of those standards? He has every right.
4. What is there to fear if you obey God? In Jesus there is no condemnation. If hell frightens you, just put your faith in Christ. Simple.
Debunking Christianity: Quote of the Day, by Erkki