While every good Christian knows he/she is a sinner, and knows about hell as a consequence of sin, he/she almost always thinks other people’s sins are much worse than their own.
Preachers understand this about people. The topic of hell is not discussed as much these days as in the past. It is not easy to construct a sermon about sin that does not to point the finger at anyone in the pews.
One of the reasons hell is difficult to preach about is because the concept does not seem fair. Starting back during WWII it was popular to think of fallen soldiers as automatic candidates for heaven. This was comforting to all those left to grieve.
There is, of course, no provision in the Bible giving an automatic pass to sinners just because they died fighting invaders, Germany and Japan. Invaders, like the U. S. when it invaded Iraq, do not get an automatic pass either. Babies are born sinners–the hell story gets complicated when you think about it.
In a way, hell has become a foreign concept. Today’s laws on crime do not sentence anyone to eternity. In the very worst cases, there is life in prison. Even that is not eternity.
For most infractions, there is a defined period of imprisonment and the debt to society is paid. The sentence of eternity does not fit today’s standard of justice.
While punishment has been a part of Christianity since its beginning, new thinking may remove it from the faith’s theology.