If you ever believed in a god or something like that, did you ever either accept or believe in the personification of evil, a being that tempts people to act or think against the wishes of a Supreme Being? A being that takes the soul of a very bad person and ensures a sort of eternal painful karma?
As a child, the demonic scapegoat was not emphasized to me. As much as I may have accepted some sort of god, I cannot recall ever going all in on the Lucifer/fallen angel myth, with one exception. The Exorcist movie scared the Hell out of me, or should I say, the fear into me? I was an adult parent with one child by then (1973 or so).
However, I probably dropped any thought of a devil or a Hell for eternal suffering long before I flushed the whole Trinity thing along with any remaining number of evil spirits. I discovered that several Catholic Priests agreed with me that at the very least, all the devil and hell stuff was nonsense cooked up to scare people. Even the Pope had said that Hell was a state after death of not being with God, not a place.
As I did the final onion peel by removing the last vestiges of religion and theistic or deistic things from my pages of mental acceptance, the first to go was related to the problem of evil, Hell as anything real before or after death, and any spirit world, either good or evil.
After I managed to get over all of that, which I only quasi-accepted in the first place, the god balloon simply popped. All religion went with it: New Age, Pantheism, Eastern Religious beliefs and philosophies, Witches, and the like. I appreciate reality and science as much as any atheist, but in no way is any of that comparable to religion or any belief in a god-like entity.
Many people want to say god is love and other worn out tropes that tell us that they probably at least downplay any concept of Hell and devils without tossing out the heavenly eternal life part. This works well for them because one merely needs to repent and all will be forgiven, at least on that side of the Christian street. I’m not sure everyone agrees.
Is belief in eternal damnation required to avoid it? If one lives a good life, is that sufficient? Believers would answer those two questions with both yes and no. I never took a course in the Sociology (or psychology) of Religion. I wish I had.
I like the idea of love or at least being neighborly and caring about people. However, when my neighbor is an asshole, I neither love her or him, nor do I care about them. In fact, I often wish karma could be real (except not applied to me). But love is still better than the other options, except…
The other two emotions I can think of that seem to have as much, or more, influence on humans are fear and hate. I am so happy that religion does not teach fear and hate. Or would that be why the Lucifer and Hell myths assume such prominence in religion, particularly Christianity and Islam, both religions of love and peace (sarcasm, in case you missed it)?
As for hate, you be the judge. Just don’t leave out the history of virtually every prominent religion on earth.