Christopher Hitchens (a popular atheist or as he prefers “anti-theist”) was recently interviewed by Marilyn Sewell (a Unitarian minister). In that interview there was an interesting exchange about the true nature of Christianity. And oddly enough, Hitchens got it right!
Sewell: The religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I’m a liberal Christian, and I don’t take the stories from the scripture literally. I don’t believe in the doctrine of atonement (that Jesus died for our sins, for example). Do you make and distinction between fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?
Hitchens: I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian. (read the entire interview)