The Christian narrative goes something like this:
Sin entered the world with Adam and Eve.
Four thousand years later that sin was paid for, and mankind redeemed, by the blood sacrifice of Jesus.
It’s all perfectly pleasant (unless you happened to be on the receiving end of Yahweh’s wrath in the 4,000-year interim), but did it really happen?
Fundamentalist Christians will blithely state (with zero justification) that it’s all historical fact.
Moderate Christians who (ironically) know their bible better than their fundy cousins, are more hesitant to do so.
That raises a problem though.
If it didn’t really happen, then what … ?
Is it just an elaborate metaphor? Is the mere story of Jesus’ sacrifice so iconic that it merits all this attention?
Surely not. As a sacrificial story, it’s far from impressive.
Despite Mel Gibson’s special effects budget, Jesus’ suffering was no worse than any other enemies of the Roman Empire.
And unlike his fellow crucifees, Jesus got to go home afterwards, as if nothing had happened! Some sacrifice.
If you really want to talk sacrifice, and I mean sacrifice with genuine human consequences, then I’ve got some stories much more worthy of analysis from the pulpit.
Stuck in an African backwater, Rick is given the opportunity to keep his long-lost love or contribute to the war effort. It tears him up inside but he chooses to give up both the girl and his sacred neutrality.
I’m fine, I’ve just got something in my eye.
Donnie Darko 
To save Gretchen, Donnie has to give up his own life. But with time spinning around like a psychotic 4-year-old he has to do it before she ever actually meets him.
So she never knows what he does for her.
And finally …
The Dark Knight 
Gotham needs its hero, but Batman will have to be that hero without any recognition. Worse, he’ll be hated and feared by the people he’s helping. He knows this, and he goes ahead and does it anyway.
I love this last one. It kind of makes Jesus’ constant demands to be revered and worshipped seem a little pathetic, doesn’t it?