People will do anything to get away from the idea that they are responsible for what they become. Be it saint or monster. Unless something happens to us that causes us pain, in that we experience evil etc., we tend to down play our own role in creating 'evil' in the world. The whole Gospel message is based our need to become more human, more humane, as well to admit the fact that in many ways we are quite helpless when it comes to living out what many seek to do. It is call 'sin', when it is an act freely done, when it is more of a compulsion, it is not free, so not a sin, yet the harm is still done and the hold of evil becomes stronger in the world.
Monsters have to be restrained, so there is hell, which is chosen because people choose not to surrender to what they are actually made for.....a relationship with God, a oneness with our creator, that would be called heaven. Hell is self created, a prison that is a free choice, it is not real in the since that it is true. Heaven would be reality, which would be the reality of God, of our relationship with God and our need for mercy and healing. Which we are then called to show others.....that is how Christ Jesus rules......he becomes one with us in love.
I am not sure how free we are, but I believe that in our choices we move towards ever deeper freedom if we move towards seeing others with compassion and love. So if that is a dictatorship, "it don't rain in the summer time". Life is not a silly game, it is serious, we either allow grace to create us, or we create ourselves, we get what we want.
Hell is isolation, non-love, a loss of humanity, for eternity, how that can be viewed as freedom is beyond me. Eternity is ever new, because we are made for relationship, one that will never end because as finite creatures we have an infinite capacity to change, learn and to grow in love.
We show grace to each other all the time when we forgive, or offer friendship. No one can demand to be forgiven, it can only be offered and accepted, or not. It is not about rule, but union with true reality. Either Jesus is who he said he is or he is not. Either he rose from the dead or he did not......he did, the New Testament was written because of the reality of that event in history.......those who do not believe, well, I am not their judge, only God sees the heart, all of it, that is why mercy is always offered, all will have the chance to see and choose.....like the two disciples who encountered the risen Christ, we will have our Emmaus experience if we are believers, or like the Damascus if we are not like St. Paul. What our heart becomes will respond one way or another, in freedom, not in ignorance etc.