When I first floated my notions about atonement, my parish priest Father Nicholas Knisely assured me (well, "assured" may be a bit a strong) that I was not a heretic. My concern is that whenever a guy like me with no formal theological training starts coming up with notions about theology, it turns out that some monk in the 4th Century came up with the same idea and got soundly thrashed over the head repeatedly by Augustine of Hippo (and a dozen other early church fathers) as a heretic for having the same idea.
Well it turn out that the Mad Priest (of the Church of England no less) has the same notions as me, and he calls them heresy. Here is what he says:
For a middle way, may I suggest you consider THE MADPRIEST HERESY. This states that Jesus died for our sins on the cross. Not because God demanded it but because we demanded it. God cannot be wrathful because, according to the Son of God, wrath is a sin. If anything can forgive its enemies it would be God. God's love is unconditional. We are forgiven. But because we live among people who are unable to offer us love unconditionally (and yes, mothers, that includes you as well), we don't believe God can be unconditional with his forgiveness and love.
So, because we feel guilty for the shit things we do to each other, we demand punishment from God. However, we believe that our punishment would not be sufficient to "pay the price" for our sins. So, God allows his Son to offer himself as "the scapegoat" and is punished as the representative of all humankind. A role he can assume because of his divinity and humanity. God then shows his unconditional love by accepting the sacrifice but then giving Jesus his life back (which is what he would have done for us if we had only asked in the first place).
To tie salvation to belief is so stupid and nonsensical that anybody who believes in it should be put into remedial education immediately. Unconditional means unconditional. Like, if somebody doesn't believe in God, he storms off to his bedroom in a right sulk and refuses to come out until the Holy Spirit and Jesus persuade him, through the closed door, that everybody, everywhere really thinks he's wonderful. What sort of a petulant, childish god would that make him? GET REAL.
Read it all. Of course, there may still be that 4th Century Monk as well. I am still looking.