You're sitting at home, enjoying dinner with your family when suddenly a SWAT team bursts though the doors and windows. They grab your mother and beat her do a bloody pulp with their nightsticks right there in front of her family. Then they drag her outside and kick her until she loses consciousness after which one of the officers takes out his gun and shoots her in the back of the head. Traumatized and horrified by what just happened, you ask "WHY?! Why did you do this?" The officer closest to you tells you, "Because we found out she had been gossiping".
What is your response? Do you say:
A - "Oh, right that does make sense. We warned her that gossip was really bad. I'm sad of course but she brought this on herself"
B - "ARE YOU INSANE?! HOW DOES THE FACT THAT SHE GOSSIPED MAKE THIS OK?? WHAT KIND OF PSYCHOTIC LUNATIC WOULD THINK THIS IS THE APPROPRIATE PUNISHMENT FOR GOSSIP?!"
So which did you choose? Did you pick B? I hope you picked B, that was the only remotely sane option. In fact I hope everyone would pick B. Problem is, not everyone does. A lot of people have to choose A because they believe that option A is the right, kind and loving option. Despite any and all internal struggles this might provoke, they will have to pretend that is the right option, the good option. They will have to do that because they are Christians and this is what they believe about their God.
So yeah, this is really what millions of Christians believe. Funny thing, this is not what millions of Christians actually practice. I'd like to think that most of them would read my little thought experiment and agree that yes, this is an insane way to react to something as insignificant as gossip. This is because they go through their lives able to forgive small offenses. Hell, they might even consider some offenses too small to actually count as offenses! Isn't it odd how people can be more merciful, more kind, more loving and more forgiving than the perfectly merciful, kind, loving and forgiving God they pray to? Somehow millions of people manage to be more moral than the alleged source of their morality.
If you wouldn't kill someone for saying a bad word, or for that matter thinking it, doesn't that make you better than a God who would? Eternal torture for inconsequential, temporal wrongdoing seems like something only an insane psychopath would do because it is something only an insane psychopath would do. Deep down, you know it's true.