Yes, that's what I'm saying. A good God would simply forgive.
Is this what you really believe or is this your solution to the problem of sin and evil? If someone swindled you out of your life savings , say like that recent Madoff character, would you just want a judge to simply forgive him? In that case wouldn't that make the judge himself a swindler by extension, an enabler? Forgiveness without consequences and punishment is empty and isn't love. It is very cheap. God enterwines both forgiveness and punishment in/to himself.
I don't understand who the atonement was paid to, since we are to assume it redeemed us.
The current search for Madoff's wealth, when recovered is paid to who? The victims of course. But what if a multi-billionaire stepped up and wanted to pay Madoff's debt? He would pay it to Madoff who would then apply it to his debtors so he could be free. The atonement is paid to all who owe a debt, and who accept it according to the terms of the New Testament Contract and actually want to get out of prison and be free of sin and its consequence death.
But if the good guy sent his son to redeem us, why can't he just give up judgment?
Oh but he does, that's the Good News: John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. There is still a judgment for believers, but it determines rewards and not salvation. It is called the Bema Seat - or the judgment seat of Christ. For these, the issue of Salvation was forever settled with Jesus last dying words, "It is finished".
One of the reasons that people reject Jesus' atonement on their personal behalf is because they believe that they do not owe a debt to God or anyone else. The acceptance of the sacrifice implies the acknowledgement personal guilt, and this is what makes Christianity so repulsive to some of the unregenerate.
Shall we presume that there is something greater than himself, that makes scapegoats, Jesus sacrifice, and judgment inevitable? Can't he just forgive?
Let's go back to Madoff. Even if a billionaire paid him enough money so he could pay back his debt, it would still take a judicial act to free him from prison. But why do it if he has same nature as before? But, this is what Jehovah does through the agency of the Holy Spirit and the condition of the new birth. He frees them by taking away the sin nature and preponderance of sin in the spirit of man.... a new creature. This is another powerful reason to reject Jesus; many do not want a new nature, them being comfortable with their present one.
I wonder why God would appear in Jerusalem but would make it a point of people NOT recognizing him.
God is not responsible for the non-recognition: John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
He was simply not what they imagined God to be. (singing Cheryl Crow) "What if God were one of us; Just a stranger on a bus"
Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
Know one will see God until they see their debt first. Even then they must gaze upon he who was nailed to a tree, lifted up and planted in the earth up on Calvary hill.