Sam Vara wrote:I can't find the bit about eternal consequences, here or in an "ever present" form.
On a more general level, there are a huge number of sophisticated and impassioned debates over the meaning of what Jesus said. I probably live among liberal and tender-minded Christians, but the idea of eternal damnation does not gain much favour with them. Nor the idea of an eternal soul which can suffer it. Some angry right-wing Christians believe it, but then again there are some people who call themselves Buddhists who think and say some decidedly odd things...
For what it's worth, from the wiki:
Failure to use one's gifts, the parable suggests, will result in judgement.
The judgment, as you note, can receive different explanations depending on which sort of Xian one asks. The point, however, is that talk of the Last Judgment is found everywhere in the Gospels, with the consequences described as 'everlasting'.
Now, the Gospel texts nominally form part of what a Xian considers authoritative. I cannot find an interpretation of the Gospels in general, or this Parable specifically, which convincingly argues for the absence of such a judgment. It's an essential aspect of Christian soteriology (to wit, ever-present).
Perhaps many modern Xians prefer that things be otherwise due to trouble reconciling omni-benevolence with eternal hellfire. One approach might be to consider that Hell isn't a permanent destination - just a really long Purgatory, say - but there doesn't seem to be any scriptural support for such a claim.