This idea can have logic and great value even for an atheist.
Not that long ago I offered for some angry people to kick my head in, to prove a point about how men should treat women (i.e. don't bully them). (I guess they didn't have the heart to do it.)
Among the many interpretations which can be placed on the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus, we can say this:
Jesus went to his death willingly - in that he knew it was going to happen, and didn't run away, when he could have done - in order to prove and illustrate a point. That point was his life's work (well, the last 3 years'). One of his main lessons was that we can all be given the chance for our sins to be forgiven, provided we earn it and do the necessary real work involved. Provided we go to our Crucifixion willingly. If he can get himself crucified, we should be up to saying sorry and putting things right when we have to. We should be humble enough to suffer for what we have done. We should be humble enough to let something go instead of escalating to some kind of blood feud.
He also forgave the people who were crucifying him.
By dramatically illustrating the idea that God can forgive our sins, will always give us a second chance to make good: life became possible, life became good, life became fruitful. Instead of nasty, brutish and short. Hence the Resurrection.
@Barry - I agree with the bulk of what you said, and it's a huge subject which probably can't be put into one paragraph.
"Sin is nothing more than man's way to control behavior of those he wishes to subdue."
I think that sin is a failure to do the right thing - for whatever reason. Certainly, many people or institutions have hijacked this concept to make it mean whatever they want it to mean. So everything hinges on what we mean by "doing the right thing".
"that separated us from God."
This is the crux of it for me. If we define everything right back to the beginning, we can end up with this.
"The devil so many wish to blame for failures and faults is not outside ourselves but within."
I was thinking about this today. The problem is: 1) evil people; 2) weak people. There are very few evil people in the world. There are a lot of weak people who can't handle their own shit and try to give it to everyone else. These are the really dangerous ones, the ones you can't rely on. If you can find someone with courage, integrity, humility and compassion - this is a rare and valuable person. Barry - I think that's you. Archaeopteryx and Gregg R Thomas - take note.
That's why I always keep my pad and pencil at my side, one never knows when a pearl of wisdom is going to spring forth like a caged dove from Simon's mouth - funny, I've never had to sharpen my pencil.
I must be one of the few "evil people" Simon the A is talking about. :)
Here's another foine mess you've got us into!
No Gregg - weak and vindictive. As we say - "soft as shit and twice as nasty".
Hahahahaha....Yea that'll work Simony just call me a poo-poo head....hahaha...I'll probably cry myself to sleep tonight....hahaha...
You've been Simonized!
Then Gregg should feel cleaner.
It's a car wax.
Did he say, "nasty" or "tasty"?
3) irrational people - that would be you, Simon. A lifelong atheist who believes we're separated from God? Hello, cognitive dissonance!