You really don't know what you're talking about.
I accept your criticism. I'm not a scholarly person, but I have faith in the Sutta that hell is physical realm where beings can take rebirth. As mentioned previously, the Sutta leaves no room for interpretation, or even debate. If the Buddha taught the hell realm as a means to explain mental states, why did the Buddha give so many details of the sufferings in hell, even names of various levels of hell?
If you have read the quote from Ajahn Maha Boowa which I posted, you shall find implication that the hell realm can be perceived as a physical realm by those who are advanced in practice. The Venerable Ajahn Maha Boowa spoke from his own realization of the Dhamma. The scholars on the other hand, not having their own realization of the Dhamma, are making mere suggestions based on academic research. There is a world of difference.
From Ajahn Maha Boowa in The Path to Arahantship:
Then the consequences of good and evil and the existence of heaven and hell strike one with the irrefutable force of the obvious. I wish they could strike all you skeptics with such force; all of you who have allowed the kilesas to deceive you into believing that there is no such thing as the consequences of evil, no such thing as the consequences of goodness, no such thing as heaven and hell. They have existed since time immemorial and they have been all-pervasive. You just have not perceived them yet. Do you understand? These things have existed always. They continue to harm those who are foolishly ignorant of their existence and so blinded by the kilesas’ deceptions that they never glimpse the truth.
Whatever helps us to practice with commitment and vigour is good. If believing in literal hells motivates you, helps you keep the momentum of practice going, that's great. If it gives rise to anxiety, fear, mental illness, then it's probably not such a good belief to hold to.
I think we have very little understanding of the nature of this
realm that we currently inhabit. This is where the efforts should be focused. If we don't practice, we will continue being bound to the wheel of samsara, deluded, ignorant, subject to the worldly winds, a slave of desires and hates. Once we taste the freedom even a little and begin to see that there is no happiness that can be possessed, nothing to chase or desire except the opportunity to practice and to serve others, then the fear of the hell realms fades in importance. Until then, perhaps it is the only thing that can get most of us focused on the Dhamma.
But like everything else, it should be in balance. I can't for the life of me see how so much focus on the hell realms can be healthy when the practice in right here, right now, the realm which our kamma has led us to. But if the belief in the hell realms helps one treasure the opportunity of human birth, bring vigour to practice, cultivate the brahmaviharas, give yourself to your every undertaking completely, and avid wasting time as much as possible, then great! Ultimately it is about practice, not realms. Otherwise it becomes another samsaric race - run from the lower realms and aim for the higher realms - more attachment and aversion.