I highly recommend this article!!! How Does "Dying For Our Sins" Work? by Brian Zahnd. It is one of the best Christian takes on the Atonement that I have ever read - and so encouraging! See blog below for further comment, but here are a few snippets from this article that really should resonate with UB readers, and others...
"Particularly abhorrent are those theories that portray the Father of Jesus as a pagan deity who can only be placated by the barbarism of child sacrifice. The god who is mollified by throwing a virgin into a volcano or by nailing his son to a tree is not the Abba of Jesus!"
"So let's be clear, the cross is not about the appeasement of a monster god. The cross is about the revelation of a merciful God. At the cross we discover a God who would rather die than kill his enemies. The cross is where God in Christ absorbs sin and recycles it into forgiveness. The cross is not what God inflicts upon Christ in order to forgive. The cross is what God endures in Christ as he forgives. Once we understand this, we know what we are seeing when we look at the cross: We are seeing the lengths to which a God of love will go in forgiving sin."
Click to read the article
Atonement - a False Doctrine
One of the most controversial parts of The Urantia Book is its teachings about the atonement doctrine - the doctrine that wants us to believe that a vengeful and jealous God was so upset with his erring children that he sent an innocent child to die as an appeasement to his wrath; only then can man come to God as his child and be forgiven. The teachings of The Urantia Book make crystal clear that the atonement is false; more, that this doctrine is actually a philosophical assault on God:
2:6.5 Righteousness implies that God is the source of the moral law of the universe. Truth exhibits God as a revealer, as a teacher. But love gives and craves affection, seeks understanding fellowship such as exists between parent and child. Righteousness may be the divine thought, but love is a father's attitude. The erroneous supposition that the righteousness of God was irreconcilable with the selfless love of the heavenly Father, presupposed absence of unity in the nature of Deity and led directly to the elaboration of the atonement doctrine, which is a philosophic assault upon both the unity and the free-willness of God.
Jesus told his followers: "He who has seen me has seen the Father." This is a strong, unequivocal statement. If we are to believe the atonement doctrine, how can we reconcile that kind of violent attitude of God with the life of Jesus? It can't be done...
In Part I of The Urantia Book we receive a beautiful revelation of the Father and his nature. And in Part IV of The Urantia Book, we see that revelation fulfilled - in the Life and Teachings of Jesus.
Our world certainly is in need of help - certainly in need of salvation - but the idea of killing an innocent as the means to acheive that salvation does not actually make any sense. Jesus came to reveal the Father - to REVEAL him as the loving, forgiving, tolerant Deity that he is, and so, entertaining this violent idea of God is completely out of character with both Jesus and God
Jesus' Mission - More than You Might Think
In The Urantia Book, we also discover another of the cardinal missions of Jesus' incarnation on earth: to live the life of a mortal from start to finish - to live an average life and to die a natural death. It was only in this way that Jesus - sovereign of this universe of his making - could acquire the experience to be a wise and just ruler of this, his domain, and us, his children.
Dying on a cross - murdered by wicked men - was NOT the will of God, but it WAS his will that Jesus die a natural death - and in Jesus' time, and as Jesus was, his murder became an inevitability; not because God willed it but because men did. Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane that he not have to drink the cup of this horrendous suffering and sorrow, but when he realized that he would have to do it in order to fulfill his mission of living life and experiencing death as a mortal, he accepted the cup and went willingly to his death as a common criminal, all the while FORGIVING those who inflicted such suffering upon him.
About the cross, and about this very willingness of Jesus to accept the cross:
188:5.9 The cross is that high symbol of sacred service, the devotion of one's life to the welfare and salvation of one's fellows. The cross is not the symbol of the sacrifice of the innocent Son of God in the place of guilty sinners and in order to appease the wrath of an offended God, but it does stand forever, on earth and throughout a vast universe, as a sacred symbol of the good bestowing themselves upon the evil and thereby saving them by this very devotion of love. The cross does stand as the token of the highest form of unselfish service, the supreme devotion of the full bestowal of a righteous life in the service of wholehearted ministry, even in death, the death of the cross. And the very sight of this great symbol of the bestowal life of Jesus truly inspires all of us to want to go and do likewise.
Revising our Thinking
The authors of The Urantia Book devote a good deal of time throughout the book explaining Jesus - who he was, why he came, and why we need to know more about him, but these two sections should help anyone who now believes in atonement to revise their thinking about the cross:
Click to read the "Meaning of the Death on the Cross"
Click to read "Lessons from the Cross"
If the article cited above is any indication, the world is becoming more ready to hear the truths of the Father's love and the truths of Jesus' mission to the world. Both are stunningly portrayed in The Urantia Book, so consider this an invitation to check it out for yourself!!!