View your list of saved words. (You can log in using Facebook.)
Religious concept in which obstacles to reconciliation with God are removed, usually through sacrifice. Most religions have rituals of purification and expiation by which the relation of the individual to the divine is strengthened. In Christianity, atonement is achieved through the death and resurrection of Jesus. In Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and some Protestant churches, penance is a sacrament that allows for personal atonement (seeconfession). In Judaism the annual Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, is the culmination of 10 days centered on repentance.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on atonement, visit Britannica.com.