I suppose I could be more sympathetic to this punishment idea if there were bad forces at work, like the devil and so on, that had power over you, but god is supposedly all-powerful. So even if he's being all hands-off and saying "It's your choice. You can choose me or the devil" he's doing it all while knowing he could save you from the devil/evil/damnation/etc. whenever he wants and he's not doing it. He's letting you suffer a fate that he himself created. I just can't relate to that. The way modern, mainstream Christians describe how their god works in relation to freewill just doesn't make sense.
Now, the people who say "it doesn't matter, god will still accept you even if you don't believe" are people I can get behind. That seems much more in keeping with the idea of an "all-powerful, all-loving" god.