The fourth Christian dogma is that of the Atonement. Christianity declares that by disobeying God's Order not to eat of the forbidden fruit of knowledge, Adam sinned. The sin of Adam is inherited by all the children of Adam: all human beings are born sinful. The requirement of God's Justice is that a price must be paid for every sin. God cannot and will not allow a single sin to go unpunished. Now the only thing which can wipe out sin is the shedding of blood. As St. Paul Puts it,
"Without the shedding of blood there is no remission"
But this blood must be perfect, sinless, and incorruptible blood.
"As the original sin, being directed against God, was of infinite proportion, it demanded infinite recompense."
So Jesus Christ, the Son of God who had come from heaven, shed his holy, sinless blood, suffered indescribable agony, and died to pay the penalty for the sins of men. Because Jesus was
infinite God, he alone could pay the infinite price of sin. No one can be saved unless he accepts Jesus Christ as his redeemer. Everyone is doomed to suffer eternally in Hell because of his
sinful nature, unless he accepts atonement made for his sins by Jesus Christ by his blood?
This dogma is divided into three parts: (i) the Original Sin, (ii) the belief that God's Justice requires that the penalty of blood must be paid for sin, and (iii) the belief that Jesus has paid the
price for the sins of men by his death on the cross and that salvation is only for those who believe in his vicarious sacrifice.
As to the first part, the Rev. De Groot writes:
"Scripture teaches us that Adam's sin passed unto all men (our Blessed Lady excepted). For in the words of St. Paul: Therefore as by the offence of one (Adam) unto all men to condemnation; so also by the justice of one (Christ) unto all men to justification of life. For, as by the disobedience of one man (Adam) many were made sinners, so also by the obedience of one (Christ) many shall be made just. (Rom. 5:18,19). These words make it plain that all men have inherited Adam's sin."
Like many other Christian beliefs, the doctrine of the Inherited Sin also finds no support in the words of Jesus or of the prophets who had come before him. They taught that every man was accountable for his own actions; the children will not be punished for the sin of their father. For instance, it is written in the Book of prophet Jeremiah:
"In those days they shall say no more, the fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge. But everyone shall die for his own iniquity, every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge."
The prophet Ezekiel also rejected the dogma of the Original Sin in almost the same words:
"The word of the Lord came unto me again, saying, what mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge. As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine, as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine; the soul that sinneth, it shall die. But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, and hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbor's wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman, and hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with garment, he that hath not given forth on usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, hath walked in My Statutes, and hath kept My Judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God... The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father: neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all My Statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die."
That Jesus himself regarded children as innocent and pure, and not as born in sin, is clear in his reported saying:
"Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of God. Verily, I say unto you whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein"
Islam condemns the dogma of the Original Sin and regards the children as pure and sinless at birth. Sin, it says, is not inherited, but it is something which each one acquires for himself by doing what he should not do and not doing what he should do.
Rationally considered also, it would be the height of injustice to condemn the entire human race for the sin committed thousands of years ago by the first parents. Sin is a willful transgression of the Law of God or the law of right and wrong. The responsibility or blame for it must lie only on the person who has committed it, and not on his children.
Man is born with a free will, with the inclination and the capacity both to do evil and also to fight against it and do good. It is only when, as a grown-up man, capable of distinguishing between right and wrong, he makes a wrong use of his freedom and falls a prey to temptation, that sin is born in him. That many men and women have resisted and conquered evil inclinations and lived their lives in harmony with the Will of God is clear from the sacred records of all nations. The Bible itself mentions Enoch, Noah, Jacob, John the Baptist, and many others as being perfect and upright and among those who feared God and eschewed evil.
It is the height of misanthropy and cynicism to consider children to be sinful at birth. How unreasonable and hardhearted a man can become by believing in the dogma of the Inherent Sin
shown by the theological dictum of St. Augustine that all unbaptised infants are doomed to burn eternally in the fire of Hell. Till recently, the unbaptised infants were not buried in consecrated grounds in Christendom, because they were believed to have died in the Original Sin.
The very basis of the doctrine of the Atonement, that is the belief in the Original Sin, having been found to be wrong on the authority of Jesus Christ as well as reason, the superstructure of dogma built on it must also be false. But let us consider the Christian scheme of salvation a little further.
 Cf. God's Plan For Your Salvation, Phoenix Arizona, U.S.A.
 Rev. J. F. De Groot, Catholic Teaching, p.l40.
 The Bible, Jeremiah, 31:29-30.
 The Bible, Ezekiel, is; 1-9, 20-21 .