Does religion own the idea of "redemption" as it appears in Christian theory?

Is there space for the idea of "redemption" in atheism? Or does the term become meaningless (i.e. untranslatable) without a God, afterlife, etc.?

  • ps if you can edit the question while keeping its spirit then go for it please :)
    – banal
    Aug 21 '15 at 2:24
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    I edited the question a bit to be more inline with site guidelines. I'm not 100% convinced it is enough, but it is at least enough for me to not personally request it be closed.
    – ThaddeusB
    Aug 21 '15 at 3:46
  • As I understand Atheism it portends that there is no God. In that case there being no God, there can also be no disobedience of God therefore no redemption since there is no sin to be redeemed from.
    – BYE
    Aug 21 '15 at 16:46

I not sure if this question is on-topic so I would usually just comment instead of answering, but this is a bit long for a comment...

In Christianity, redemption means forgiveness of sins, or perhaps more precisely the removal of punishment due for past sins. In other religions it means other things, but that is not relevant here.

Since an atheist does not expect punishment for wrongs they commit (besides, perhaps, a feeling of guilt), assuming the wrong is not also a crime, what purpose would "redemption" serve? I, thus, cannot see any purpose for the Christian concept of redemption.

A more generic view of redemption could arguably have meaning apart from God - although many Christians (and some secularists too) would debate whether the concept of "sin/evil" has any meaning outside of a god/higher power. This would be something along the lines of balancing out past evil with future good acts to tip the balance to an overall "good" person. However, that sort of view would be alien to the theology of most Christians.

  • ok thanks. your opening comment was clear, and i quite like the idea of future "goodness". is redemption in theology always about the future?
    – banal
    Aug 21 '15 at 6:44
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    @user3293056 My apologies - I somehow missed your question when you asked it. The term "redemption" in Christianity is primarily about Jesus sacrifice on the cross that removed the believer's future punishment for their sins. So in a way it is about the past, but in a different way it is about the future (i.e. what happens after death).
    – ThaddeusB
    Oct 8 '15 at 3:49

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