Hi Dr Pancake, nice to meet you.
We're having a conversation somewhat on this topic over here: http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,25741.0.html
More about why heaven makes no sense, which sort of leads to why hell doesn't either. Its a good thread but the part that might interest you starts at the 6th post or thereabouts.
I was raised Catholic, more than "cultural" but not too
loopy - I got out before being confirmed, around 17 or so. I remember going through a similar thing when I first started to realize that I didn't believe the religion I was following. It sounds so crazy to say this, I knew that I absolutely didn't believe in the christian god by the time I was 20 or so, but on some level I was still pretty sure I was going to hell for it. I didn't
believe in god but I did
believe that the god I didn't believe in was going to send me to hell for not believing in him.
It literally sounds like the rantings of an insane person. Knowing that I really
believed two mutually exclusive things was such a (apologies for the language) mindf*ck that I just slammed the mental door shut on the whole topic for years. There's only so long you can look at that conflict inside your own head without doing damage to your psyche when you can't budge the damn thing.
It was actually infuriating for a while after I finally dealt with it - I was angry over all the years I wasted being afraid to examine my fears. It's like I was sort of... trapped in my own mind on this one thing - my intellect couldn't get past my beliefs no matter how hard I tired to line them up, because deep down inside, I remained pretty sure that I was going to fry for an eternity. I knew
it wasn't true but I didn't yet believe
I can't promise you a way to resolve this for yourself. I can
tell you that eventually, it just wasn't there anymore. I deliberately avoided dealing with my religious "beliefs" (which I now recognize as imposed rather than chosen) and when I finally opened that locked mental door, the space where all of my god beliefs had once lived was empty. I hope your journey is much shorter, your real freedom from that fear much closer.
Welcome. Find a chair and make yourself comfortable. Enjoy!
Edited to add: realizing that you are under the influence of strong conditioning may actually be quite beneficial. If you see it as breaking a behavior habit, that may be easier to approach.