Recently, I had an online spat with a friend who has a degree in 'Christian apologetics.' He had posted about his approval of a conservative priest denying communion to people who support abortion and/or gay rights. I expressed my belief that communion should be open to everyone and not restricted to a few pious people who swear allegiance to certain politico-religious doctrines or creeds. My friend then leaped to the conclusion that people who share my views and reject his views are in danger of going to hell.
I was rather taken aback that our disagreement had devolved so quickly into threats of eternal condemnation. But that is what churches teach today and millions of Christians have it ingrained in their sub-conscience such that they rarely reflect on its logical inconsistencies and moral repugnance.
It's not that I think there will be no judgement or punishment for wickedness. The Bible is filled with passages warning of final judgement and people being cast into darkness or flames that never go out.
In nearly every case, the judgement is based on what someone did, not on what they believed. But these passages are cast aside when the church teaches that there is nothing we can 'do' to achieve our 'salvation' and that our only hope is based on what we BELIEVE. As long as we BELIEVE the correct dogma, our sins will be forgiven and we will be welcomed into God's Kingdom. Failure to BELIEVE, however, will unleash God's holy wrath on us for all of our subsequently unforgiven sins, regardless of all the good works we might have done during our life.
When the full realization of this church teaching hit me as a young man, I knew then that it was wrong. Based on this understanding of the faith, there would be billions and billions of people pouring into hell for the sole crime of not believing the correct dogma.