As for heaven and hell.
I'm a Catholic so I should believe in heaven and hell, and also in purgatory.
According to my faith we have time here on earth to change ourselves for better to get to this better place after death.
As for hell it is a place of eternal sufferring and condemnation. It's a place for those who throughout their lives did almost nothing else but evil. As I said it's not the point how you start but how you finish.
Where do you think Hitler, Stalin, Hussain, and other cruel dictators might have gone when they died? You wrote: are we so evil that we have to be condemned to eternal hell. I think some people are, because they don't want to change when they have time for it. They are selfish, greedy, and won't hesitate to even kill someone to achieve their aims. Where do you think they should go after death? They should be rewarded or punished? There are no pure people, everyone has good and bad sides, everyone once did good and evil, but some people want to change and some don't, or maybe rather- they don't care.
You wrote: All of us have both good and bad qualities. I agree. It's hard to say for anyone of us if someone deserves to go to heaven or hell. Why? Because we do not know the whole life of the given person. But we believe that God knows everything, and that's why HE's the only one who can pass an objective judgement upon you, and no one else.
Of course there are many things I'm not sure of. For example, what about those who are good, honest, just people, but they do not believe in God. What about them? Frankly speaking I don't know, I would have to ask a priest for instance.
Thank you for your learned and impartial comments. It is such a pleasure to communicate with you especially so, now that knowing you are a Catholic. It is quite unusual for a Christian to be so interested in Buddhism for such a long period. You are a good Catholic and my respect for you. It is beneficial to know of others' beliefs although we may not agree with them. Only with respect and understanding for others can we live in peace and happiness.
Regards, justinchoo :-)