Looking back to history to find yet another approach to atonement will not solve the problem, but a reconsideration of the physical or mystical theory of how Christ saves us might contribute to more fruitful and civil conversation.
At one end of Matthew, Jesus goes free. At the other, cruel, ritualized slaughter befalls him.
Imagine someone who, because he is not driven by fear of death, is able to undergo an absolutely typical lynching at human hands and to do so deliberately—showing that death, rather than being definitive and powerful, is no more than a frightening mirage. Christ calls the bluff of the lynching, enabling humans to be less driven by fear and a desire for revenge.
Why does Jesus's death matter?