It occurred to me after buying so many books on apologetics and philosophy that I only have a broad understanding of the Faith. I could look at a crucifix and “just know,” you know? But now, I look at a crucifix, and I am baffled. Why was the Christ crucified?
I have fundamental issues which prevent me from even understanding Atonement and Redemption. For example, I do not understand how Jesus’ death is a sacrifice - he was not presented before a sacrificial altar (thank goodness for that, too), he was arrested and put to death for crimes he did not commit. How is that a sacrifice? And what does it mean for a man to be a sacrifice, anyway? Does this not imply the human sacrifice of pagans that we abhor as servants of the one true God? Is the shedding of blood necessary for the remission of sin?
You must understand, even the notion of animal sacrifice is strange to me, so I am quite far from having the conceptual framework that is probably necessary to make sense of the theories you have outlined. This is why I think an understanding of Jewish beliefs and practices might be helpful. It also might be helpful to take a look at the typology which foreshadow Jesus - the Sacrifice of Isaac and the slaughtered lambs of Passover. I would take a look at these myself, but I am terrible without a guide.
So you see, I am really out of the loop on this one. Can anyone recommend a Catholic book on this topic?