My early Christian Education, when I began to consider basic religious beliefs, was during preparation for my confirmation, in part by the study of Luther’s Small Catechism. The concepts of “original sin” and Christ’s “atoning “ death on the cross seemed to be the centerpiece of what was taught: “Christ so humbled Himself to redeem me, a lost and condemned creature.” As I recall, there was little room for exploring or questioning even though, as I would learn later, theologians for centuries have written volumes on these topics, with little consensus.
As I have wrestled with these beliefs in my own faith journey, I have given up trying to determine whether Jesus was Divine or if he knew his death was to redeem sinful humankind. I have come to the point where I am more comfortable believing Christ’s crucifixion as more of a metaphor for my own atonement, a personal reconciliation with The Sacred. When that part of me, which acts selfishly in my own interests (sins), dies or turns around and is resurrected or is transformed to become more Christ like, then I am bringing about God’s Kingdom here on earth.