Ask a modern, western Christian this question, “What type of punishment will non-believers suffer for rejecting Jesus as their Lord and Savior” and you will get a variety of answers. Remarkably, however, unless you are speaking to a fundamentalist, most Christians today will not respond with “eternal damnation in a fiery Hell” as most of Christianity has taught for two millennia. Many modern Christians will say that the punishment for non-believers will be something non-painful, such as eternal shame.
So if my punishment for rejecting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior is simply a matter of the Christian god shaking his finger at me (and other non-believers) and saying,
“Shame on you for not reciprocating my love as I commanded you.”
I can deal with that.
I will respectfully respond by saying,
“Well, Jesus, if you had made yourself known to me personally, as you did to all the disciples and to Paul, then maybe I would have believed in you. But you didn’t. You only gave me a confusing holy book, unconfirmed claims of miracle cures, and a bunch of conservative Christians, the vast majority of whom in no way resemble your behavior and attitude on earth. So don’t blame me, blame yourself.”
I will not feel ashamed one bit.
However, if a sense of shame is forced upon me; something I have no control over; then that is a form of psychological torture. And if Jesus inflicts psychological torture on human beings for all eternity, or even just a few millennia, or just a few centuries, that is unjust and immoral by any standard of criminal justice in the western world.
The punishment does not fit the crime.
Jesus is either not the loving, just, merciful being that the Bible claims he is; he is a sadistic monster; or, the whole concept is a nonsensical superstition.
I’m going with superstition.
I don’t believe that Jesus, the man, would ever torture another human being.