I personally feel that religion issues a form of fear and punishment with crimes. While what religion speaks is what I would consider "good" (ie dont kill, dont steal etc etc) it backs up breaking these rules with fear of a "hell".
In modern times more and more people do not believe in the "classic" religions and opt for a more agnostic/atheism route. What better way to cause fear than by saying these people are too going to hell as well. I dont believe peace by fear is ever a good thing.
Something I always think about is;
Is the man who is a good man because he fears the consequences of not being so, really a good man at all?
Your viewpoint of Christian theology is a bit bleak. It is a simple thing to condemn Christianity based on its post mortum consequences, but in reality, those are not of much concern.
This is my interpretation of it, whether it is "correct" or not is up to the individual in the end:
There is a God, the Father, who has created everything around us. He created man out of benevolence, because he is love. This does not mean that he is loving or that he made love, it means that God is
love. He is complete altruistic benevolence, but even that does not descibe what love is. He created man not to force him to choose, but to share His creation with him because He is love. This is the same reason that man has a child, it is not simply to procreate, it is to love. Now the question would be "If God is perfect, why does he require someone to love?" The answer is he doesn't and never has, he is love and wished to share it. That is all.
Adam and Eve made a decision contrary to God who, being the Father, wished only to protect his children. The Tree of Knowledge is often misinterpreted, the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge gave man the ability to decide what behaviors are right and wrong for himself instead of doing what his Father, who is knowledge, asked him to. God could have hung up his hat there and smitten Adam and Eve, but he didn't: he numbered their days and allowed them to further partake in his creations because he gave them free will. He never held a gun to man's head and forced him to do his will, he wanted children, not robots.
This is the concept of original sin, which is strictly man's sin. Sin is defined as anything that separates man from God. Eden was union with God, God "walked among" Adam and Eve, so they separated themselves through acting in non-accordance with God's request. As a result, they were separated. Jesus Christ, the second Adam in a sense, was born as both a man and an incarnation of God in order to die as a blood sacrifice to allieviate original sin and allow union with God once more, a task previously impossible under Judaism: one could get close
to God, but never in union with him as he once could. Blood is a significant theme throughout scripture, and was entirely necessary to forgive man of original sin if they accept Jesus Christ.
Jesus talked of Hell as "Gehenna", which was a trash furnace outside of Jerusalem in which a fire continually burned to consume the bad crops, etc. If one does not bear fruit, meaning one does not pass the seed that God gave to Adam onto his children or others, one is cast into the fires of Gehenna to be consumed when judgement comes. If one bears fruit and believes Jesus Christ to be his savior, one may achieve unity with God in heaven. The idea is not scare tactics, the idea is that we wish to be purified of our original sin and achieve unity with the One who created us all. We wish to achieve unity with love Himself, it's not that we fear Hell, because that's not even in the equation.
I hope I helped. If there are any questions or comments, feel free to post them. I'm 17 years old, so my intepretations may not be perfect, and I'd love to hear your take on things!