This is the core issue. All abrahamic religions have hell. Maybe all religions do. If there is a hell, there is a punishment, there is fear. As I outlined above, the conscience is YOURS. If anyone retains control of it, it has to be through the use of fear. Otherwise we would never let anyone else control it.
There's a problem here with your logic, D. Consequence, or as you have labeled it, punishment, does not necessarily induce or create fear. I think it would be helpful to look at fear a little more closely and not assume there is only one kind.
Instinctually we all fear jumping off a cliff to our death and because of this we avoid it - I think this is a healthy type of fear. Another type of fear is a paranoid-like fear where someone is constantly on guard in an otherwise safe environment.
Most of us wouldn't fear smoking a single cigarette (just to see what it's like.) This is because it is a danger that takes a long time to create noticeable harm. However, it would be wise to avoid it knowing the risks and gains (for those who say it's meditative, don't you agree that any meditative benefit could be substituted, and more effectively, with simple meditation?)
Let's assume the universe has a purpose. If it does, then there are certainly actions and motives that are more in line with the purpose than others. It seems also, assuming the previous stated is true, that these actions and motives would create a more purposeful and happy life.
I believe hell is a real place. But I think, like the infinite shades of the color blue, there are infinite degrees of hell. Hell would be a deviation from things that create happiness and fulfillment - we're back to the consequences or punishment. Now do we have to fear hell? Not anymore, I think, than we should fear cigarette smoke. Why fear something you don't have to choose?
If you're looking for proof of hell, I can't give you that. I know that I've experienced hellish things in my life time and it's convinced me enough not to want to experience them again. It's like I'm striving for a higher plateau of fulfillment and happiness. Is that the same thing as avoiding and fearing hell? I'm more repulsed by hell than afraid of it.
Fear seems to come from a lack of control or choice. What I'm trying to point out is that if you have a choice to follow "The Way" or not then how could you possibly fear the consequences? No one's forcing you one way or the other - but it seems like the difference between going up stream or down stream.