/euh tohn"meuhnt/, n.1. satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury; amends.2. (sometimes cap.) Theol. the doctrine concerning the reconciliation of God and humankind, esp. as accomplished through the life, suffering, and death of Christ.3. Christian Science. the experience of humankind's unity with God exemplified by Jesus Christ.4. Archaic. reconciliation; agreement.[1505-15; from phrase at one in harmony + -MENT, as trans. of ML adunamentum; cf. ME onement unity]
* * *Religious concept in which obstacles to reconciliation with God are removed, usually through sacrifice.Most religions have rituals of purification and expiation by which the relation of the individual to the divine is strengthened. In Christianity, atonement is achieved through the death and resurrection of Jesus. In Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and some Protestant churches, penance is a sacrament that allows for personal atonement (see confession). In Judaism the annual Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, is the culmination of 10 days centered on repentance.
* * *▪ religionthe process by which a person removes obstacles to his reconciliation with God. It is a recurring theme in the history of religion and theology. Rituals of expiation and satisfaction appear in most religions, whether primitive or developed, as the means by which the religious person reestablishes or strengthens his relation to the holy or divine. Atonement is often attached to sacrifice, both of which often connect ritual cleanness with moral purity and religious acceptability.The term atonement developed in the English language in the 16th century by the combination of “at onement,” meaning to “set at one,” or “to reconcile.” It was used in the various English translations of the Bible, including the King James Version (1611), to convey the idea of reconciliation and expiation, and it has been a favourite way for Christians to speak about the saving significance attributed to the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Various theories of the meaning of the Atonement of Christ have arisen: satisfaction for the sins of the world; redemption from the devil or from the wrath of God; a saving example of true, suffering love; the prime illustration of divine mercy; a divine victory over the forces of evil. In Christian orthodoxy there is no remission of sin without “the shedding of [Christ's] blood” (Hebrews 9:26).In Judaism vicarious atonement has little importance. For a traditional Jew, atonement is expiation for his own sin in order to attain God's forgiveness. He may achieve this in various ways, including repentance, payment for a wrong action, good works, suffering, and prayer. Repentance and changed conduct are usually stressed as the most important aspects of atonement. The 10 “days of awe,” culminating in the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), are centred on repentance.
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