Not all Christians believe that hell is an actual place of torture. Some believe that hell is really just the eternal separation from god, which is supposed to amount to hell. But if hell is indeed a place where the damned are tormented, then how can we say that the commandment to love god is truly a free choice given the alternative?
It's like imagining that someone puts a gun to your head and demands your wallet. You technically have a free choice to either give that person your wallet or not, but considering the prospects of being shot if you don't, can you say that it really is a free choice?
I ask this because many Christians will say that the purpose of life is to know god and freely enter into a loving relationship with him. But if god has prepared a torture chamber for us just in case we "freely" reject this relationship, then couldn't we say that it wasn't really a free choice, but one possibly coerced by fear?
If god really did want to create a world where his creatures could freely chose to love him, then wouldn't it have been more practical if there was no such thing as hell? It seems to me that if there wasn't the threat of hell looming over you just in case you didn't want to love god, then people who chose to love god would truly being doing it out of their own free choice. To me, once the threat of hell enters the picture, the choice to love and worship god can't truly be said to be "free".