In “the death of christianity,” Lawrence Swaim argues that the doctrine of substitutionary atonement “makes God out to be a vengeful, homicidal deity who can be satisfied only with the death of his son.” He eloquently elaborates how the doctrine of blood atonement is a product of Roman imperial power, injustice, and terrorism, and presents the cross as a sign of conquest that has shaped Christian identity and ecclesiastical might throughout the centuries. Urging us to embrace a counterstory of Jesus’s life, Swaim goes on to suggest that we replace the symbol of the cross with the image of “a woman holding a child.” Since the cross sends a message that violence can be redemptive, he argues, Christians must jettison the doctrine, story, and symbol of the cross.

I do not think that we should drop the symbol of the cross, either from the...

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