If we wish to reform the world we must rely on truth, on fact, on reason. We must teach men that they are good or bad for themselves, that others cannot be good or bad for them, that they cannot be charged with the crimes, or credited with the virtues of others. We must discard the doctrine of the atonement, because it is absurd and immoral. We are not accountable for the sins of “Adam” and the virtues of Christ cannot be transferred to us. There can be no vicarious virtue, no vicarious vice. Why should the sufferings of the innocent atone for the crimes of the guilty. According to the doctrine of the atonement right and wrong do not exist in the nature of things, but in the arbitrary will of the Infinite. This is a subversion of all ideas of justice and mercy.
Robert Green Ingersoll – “Myth and Miracle”(1885)