It isn't really "freedom of choice" when you're imposing such a steep punishment - the worst punishment imaginable - if they refuse to believe and/or worship you forever. That's called blackmail, and decisions made while being blackmailed aren't decisions made of by free will, they are made while under duress.
If I believed God was real, I certainly wouldn't want to burn forever in an endless torture realm, so of course I would worship him for fear of that. If he really wanted people to worship him out of free will, he wouldn't have imposed such a steep penalty for NOT worshiping him.
Answer : God gave you free will. Free will brings responsability, and every choice brings consequences. Do you wanna be healty or obese ? You can't be healthy if you choose only to eat junk food and lay around on a coach. So, similarly, if you choose to live as a unrepentant sinner, you will equally have to face the consequences. And furthermore, God respects your choices, he does not want to have anyone in heaven with him, that rejects him.
Look at it this way: there are four possibilities:
1. You believe in God and there is a God.
2. You believe in God and there no God.
3. You don't believe in God and there is a God.
4. You don't believe in God and there is no God.
Of these four, there is only one that can hurt you: Number 3.
The only way to protect yourself from Number 3 is to believe in God.
Good question...What kind of a choice is THAT?!
One of the classic problems that people bring up is: How can a God of love send anybody to Hell? Well, there are several answers to that.
One of course is that God doesn't send anyone to Hell. You send yourself there. God has done everything He possibly can to keep you out of Hell and still leave you as a person with free will and not just a robot. That's the way He made us--after His image, after His likeness, the power to say “yes” or the power to say “no,” the power to reject our own Creator, and of course to take the consequences.
Across the road to Hell he has placed the cross of Christ.
In one sense you can say He doesn't send anybody to Hell, because across the road to Hell he has placed the cross of Christ. There are also the prayers of parents, pastors and Sunday school teachers, and all the other things that God brings into our lives to stop us on our selfish way and to bring us to the Savior. We have to go wandering on past it all and put ourselves in Hell.
Sometimes you hear people say, "God wouldn't send His children to Hell." God certainly doesn't send His children to Hell because when we're His children we're in the family of God. We're born again and part of our salvation includes deliverance from judgment. We're not all children of God except through faith in Christ Jesus.
Can a God of love send anyone to Hell? You might as well ask some other question to make just as much sense. Does God allow disease in the world? Does God allow jails and prisons for some people? Does God allow the electric chair sometimes? Does God allow sin to break homes and hearts? Does God allow war? All of these things are the consequences of sin entering into the world, and in some cases the direct result of man's rebellion, and the result of greed and pride and egotism and hunger for power that doesn't have any use for people--only the desire to get ahead.
This is the incredible fruit of sin. Sin brings suffering into the world. There's no way of getting around it. And the greatest sin in the world is to reject the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.
We have our catalog of sins. We have rape and incest and murder ; and we have them all cataloged and classified--but there isn't one of them (or even put them all together in one big hunk) that comes close to the sin of keeping Jesus Christ out of your life. Did Jesus say, "I'm going to send the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin because they rob banks"-- or, "because they believe not on me"?
Photo copyrighted. Courtesy of Films for Christ.
It is folly to expect that you or I can trifle with the Lord Jesus and not have a penalty attached to it. What ridiculous thinking people have in this area! We expect penalties for doing much less. Life is just built that way.
You jump off a high building, the law of gravity will take care of you. You might say, “God is love,” all the way down, but you're still going to get splattered when you hit the bottom! You break the law of gravity, and it breaks you! You may love your little child, but if he puts his finger up on that hot burner on the gas stove or the electric stove, he's going to get burned!
Fire burns. Gravity kills. Water drowns. And you can say, "God is love, God is love, God is love," until you're blue in the face. But water will still drown you, fire will burn you, and gravity will kill you, and sin will damn you no matter how much you say about a loving God.
God just set up life that way. He set up the rules. He set up the laws by which we are to live. And if we break those laws, they break us, and we pay the consequences.