MGT2 writes: “I believe that the Bible teaches eternal conscious torment (and I still cannot see how one can deny that after considering the whole of Scripture)….”
Allow me to explain.
First, many scriptural passages appear to teach a universal restoration of all things. The advocate of ECT interprets those texts in light of the passages they have already decided teach ECT. But you can reverse that direction and interpret the prima facie ECT texts in light of the universal restoration texts.
Second, many scriptural passages appear to teach that the wicked will cease to exist. The same reversal of hermeneutical priority outlined in the first point is possible here too.
Third, the scriptural passages that are typically marshalled to support ECT can be reasonably interpreted as not teaching ECT. Advocates of universalism and annihiationism have plausible interpretations of passages like Matthew 25:41,46, Revelation 14:9-11 and Revelation 20:10.
Fourth, nobody interprets scripture apart from their own intuitions of divinity and morality (and it is naive to think otherwise). For example, when texts depict God as being ignorant or losing his temper, most Christians readily interpret those texts as anthropopathisms, and a significant reason they do so is rooted in their own intuitions of divinity and morality. With that in mind, ECT presents overwhelming problems for our moral intuitions. For example, if I am saved and my daughter damned, then ECT (on its most common and coherent formulation) obliges me to think there is a time where I will rejoice in my daughter’s damnation. I have overwhelmingly strong intuitions that this claim could not possibly be true and thus that ECT must be rejected.