This deception has probably done the most damage to Christianity, e.g. "How can God send people to hell where there is eternal suffering?".
I think this comes down to how well you know God. Would God really allow people to be tortured forever in a place run by satan?
The Bible is quite clear here.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- Romans 6:23 (KJV)
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
- Revelation 20:14 (KJV)
So there is death (on earth), and then there is the second death for the wicked (in the lake of fire).
Satan (the root of sin) and his followers (the branches) will be turned to ashes.
For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.
- Malachi 4:1-3 (KJV)
So where does all the confusion come from then?
The Bible does contain the word hell in some places, but as it turns out these words simply mean things like "grave", or a place (south of Jerusalem) where the dead were buried. If there's ever any confusion about words in the Bible, you need to go back to the original translation, e.g. Greek, Hebrew, etc. Newer Bibles don't even contain the word "hell" as much anymore. Check out www.ecclesia.org for a full study of all the different Greek and Hebrew words used to describe hell.
Some people refer to a verse that talks about "everlasting punishment".
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
- Matthew 25:46 (KJV)
Death is everlasting punishment. No one comes back from that. It lasts forever.
Others refer to a fire that can not be quenched.
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
- Mark 9:44 (KJV)
But that only means that the fire can not be quenched while it hasn't fulfilled its purpose. No one can quench it during that time. Then it will go out by itself.
The same happened with this "unquenchable" fire in Jerusalem.
Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
- Jeremiah 4:4 (KJV)
It's not burning anymore today obviously, e.g. the unquenchable fire went out.
Then people refer to torment that goes on "forever".
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
- Revelation 20:10 (KJV)
Please understand that "forever" can refer to both "a finite period", or to "everlasting". It depends on the context. For example, it took me "forever" to get to work this morning. How long did it take me? All that the verse above says is that the devil (and his followers) are in the lake of fire where they will be tormented day and night (seems like "forever"). Then they will die, and then the fire will go out.
The Bible ultimately does not contradict itself, and in fact, it's quite clear.
The soul that sinneth, it shall die.
- Ezekiel 18:20 (KJV)
It just doesn't get any clearer than that. The "eternal hell" doctrine is a false one.
The only one who wants you to believe in eternal hell is satan, because it turns people away from God.
Believing in this lie, will immediately put you in "defense mode" trying to defend a God of Love that lets people suffer for eternity?!? It just doesn't make any sense, and it will do terrible things to your faith, and your understanding of God. God doesn't want to be worshiped out of fear that you might go to hell, He wants you to genuinely love Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.
God is Love.