Recent research published by PLoS makes for very interesting reading. The “outdated” believe in hell actually does have positive results for society!
In the study “Divergent Effects of Beliefs in Heaven and Hell on National Crime Rates” concludes:
“It is quite possible that the present findings, which tie belief in hell to lower levels of anti-social behavior, may serve as one of the key explanatory mechanisms underlying this economic trend. Indeed, simply given the strength of the results compared to standard economic indicators such as GDP and the Gini coefficient, social scientists and policy makers might more deeply consider the cultural impact of religious beliefs in future work.“
However, forgiveness and “Supernatural benevolence” may lead to less prosocial behavior. There is always the problem of grace and forgiveness understood apart from God’s holiness, righteousness and justice.
In any case reading the research is quite insightful.