What sinners want is not hell but sin
As C.S. Lewis did, I have long thought that all that are in hell choose it. This article may have changed how I feel.
Anyway, good food for thought.
The person who rejects God does not know the real horrors of hell. This may be because he does not believe hell exists, or it may be because he convinces himself that it would be tolerably preferable to heaven. But whatever he believes or does not believe, when he chooses against God, he is wrong about God and about hell. He is not, at that point, preferring the real hell over the real God. He is blind to both. He does not perceive the true glories of God, and he does not perceive the true horrors of hell.
So when a person chooses against God and, therefore, de facto chooses hell — or when he jokes about preferring hell with his friends over heaven with boring religious people — he does not know what he is doing. What he rejects is not the real heaven (nobody will be boring in heaven), and what he wants is not the real hell, but the tolerable hell of his imagination.
When he dies, he will be shocked beyond words. The miseries are so great he would do anything in his power to escape. That it is not in his power to repent does not mean he wants to be there. Esau wept bitterly that he could not repent (Hebrews 12:17). The hell he was entering into he found to be totally miserable, and he wanted out. The meaning of hell is the scream: “I hate this, and I want out.”
* Image from Wikipedia