If I do not know who I am, I have two choices. Either I sincerely ask for the answer of who I am from someone who knows, simply shutting up and listening to the answer, or I come up with an answer of myself, making up an image or concept of myself to which I give meaning and justification.
Fundamentally, it is not possible to not know who I am. How could I not know who I am. Every living thing knows what it is. God certainly knows Who He is. Yet a human being does not know who he is. How is that possible? Let's look at it; to say I do not know who I am, implies that I do know, otherwise, how could I even say it? What would it be, that I do not know? Therefore, I am forced to admit that I am really saying, I do not want to know. In order to deny anything, I have to know what I am denying. Otherwise the action would be completely meaningless, pointless.
Every human being has lost its touch with his own reality, his awareness of his own reality. He must however still have contact with it. It is hidden, but not lost. What is he doing to compensate it? He seeks. He seeks for meaning, for happiness in everything he is doing. He wants to die, hoping to find it afterwards. He continually searches. He searches everywhere, often not even recognizing that he is searching. He feels guilty, mostly unconsciously guilty and driven by that guilt, he is afraid and highly insecure. Yet he never finds happiness. He does not find meaning, all he ever seems to find, is the meaning that he has given to the things he looks upon. He tries to get rid of his guilt by pushing it outside, he tries to excape judgement and punishment by condemning and punishing others, he seeks revenge for his own failures and attacks upon himself. Yet he never finds happiness. He tries to live by certain codes of conduct, and standards of behavior, following ideals of his own choice and making. He gives everyone a role. When that role or function is not met, punishment is guaranteed. Just see, how they are after Don Imus. Hypocrites go to war against a man who slipped, denying their own teaching of love and forgiveness. What is it that they have to refuse to look at in order to pick out one guy like Ismus and bring him down for the sake of their idols?
Can you ever be correct in this world? How could you? You don't even know yourself. You are a joke! So what does Atonement have to do with all of this?
Here is Jesus in A Course In Miracles in one of the most socratic and lucid arguments you'll ever get:
"Atonement remedies the strange idea that it is possible to doubt yourself, and be unsure of what you really are. This is the depth of madness. Yet it is the universal question of the world. What does this mean except the world is mad? Why share its madness in the sad belief that what is universal here is true?
Nothing the world believes is true. It is a place whose purpose is to be a home where those who claim they do not know themselves can come to question what it is they are. And they will come again until the time Atonement is accepted, and they learn it is impossible to doubt yourself, and not to be aware of what you are.
Only acceptance can be asked of you, for what you are is certain. It is set forever in the holy Mind of God, and in your own. It is so far beyond all doubt and question that to ask what it must be is all the proof you need to show that you believe the contradiction that you know not what you cannot fail to know. Is this a question, or a statement which denies itself in statement? Let us not allow our holy minds to occupy themselves with senseless musings such as this.
We have a mission here. We did not come to reinforce the madness that we once believed in. Let us not forget the goal that we accepted. It is more than just our happiness alone we came to gain. What we accept as what we are proclaims what everyone must be, along with us. Fail not your brothers, or you fail yourself. Look lovingly on them, that they may know that they are part of you, and you of them." (A Course In Miracles, Workbook, Lesson 139.6-9)