This attitude is found in all theistic religions. In a sense, it is found in Buddhist societies too, although it does not really fit in with the Buddhist view of things. Bhante has often commented that the gory detail in which some Buddhists speak about the torments of hell is really a means of social control, comparable to similar talk in the theistic religious traditions. It seems that most societies have considered it necessary to frighten the mass of people into morality (or at least into docility). I doubt whether such terror tactics are beneficial or even effective, but this is not the place to explore that question. The point is that this fear of a punishing power has got nothing to do with Buddhist morality as such. We should recognise that some of the difficulties that we typically face in our spiritual lives come from our inability to distinguish remorse from its near enemy, namely the fear of losing love and acceptance, or of being punished (or some poisonous brew concocted from the two)."
(from "Remorse and Confession in the Spiritual Community" By Subhuti)
In a way, there's nothing to add to that, but it's a point I struggle with others. They want ethics to have more bite. They want to judge people. The idea that ethics is something you develop for yourself, that you apply to yourself, is a foreign thing. People want to hack into others. In a way, there is something profound about just working on yourself, and letting everyone else sort themselves out. It's the thing you have most control over.