Though many Christians seem to manage it, it seems impossible to ignore in my reading of the bible, the idea of eternal punishment after death for those who are not saved at the last judgement, especially when taking into account the many early Christian writings in which this teaching is a central point.
However, the idea of universal salvation has had proponents from early times: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocastasis#New_Testament
, not to mention the idea that those outside of the physical church while on earth will be saved due to conversion during the last judgement.
Maybe your lectures will go into this Marc, but there are separate words for "hell" in the NT only one of which is the damnation after the last judgement - "gehenna".
"When the Son of Man comes in His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats, and He will set the sheep on His right hand but the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those on His right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” ... “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My Brethren, you did it to me.”
"Then He will also say to those on the left hand, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.” ... “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."(Matthew 25:31-36, 40-43, 45-46 NRSV)
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."