How does redemption actually work?
If we go partway with the analogy of a pawnshop, we get a pawnbroker who is powerful enough to exact payment for our souls, in the of the life of God's son. Where does that leave God? Not powerful enough to claim our souls without paying some entity as strong or stronger? Not very God-like, that.
And I really, really don't get why a punishment meted out to someone else exculpates me. Especially someone not guilty of anything. I don't believe that people (99% of them anyway - of course there are glaring exceptions) can commit crimes against God that can't be atoned for personally, in some sort of after-lifey, purgatorial way. Metempsychosis does it neatly.
I did wonder whether the whole redemption thing wasn't some sort of uber-parable, a way of using physical symbols to explain the human relationship with God, in a way that we humans can understand, but blimmin' heck if we need a story of such sheer bloody nastiness what the hell does that say about us?
Of course the whole concept would have been much more accessible to a Jew of 2000 years ago because of their tradition of the scapegoat. Rene Girard notwithstanding, anything located so firmly in a time and place has a limited unsefulness, neh?
I am fuelling this post with far too much chocolate . . .