I don't mean to come off as sacrileges, but this is the truth: In a way, Harry Potter has helped me understand the atonement just a little bit better. Yes, I'm drawing a bit on comparing the two, but before I'm burned for heresy, let me explain myself.
Harry goes into the Forbidden Forest for the express purpose of allowing Voldemort to take his life because he doesn't want any more of his friends and supporters to die for him, and also because he recognizes his need to die for Voldemort to also die. He willingly and courageously is willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of others. Sound familiar to you? It did to me.
Later, once Harry is discovered to be alive, (in the book) Voldemort's curses on people stop working. This is because Harry, who willingly gave his life/ was willing to give his life, had done the same thing for his friends that his mother had done for him. His love, to the point of sacrificing his own life, protected them.
Anyway... Somehow in my brain something about the atonement clicked for me after thinking about the final scenes of the final Harry Potter.
Christ laid down his life for us. He loved us enough to suffer and to bleed and to die for our individual sins and mortality. Through this great and everlasting sacrifice for us, this atonement, His love has given us a full protection from the evil that surrounds us, on the conditions that we accept His sacrifice with gratitude and obedience and godly sorrow for our sins. Faith, repentance, and baptism put us on Christ's side of this war we are in -and my friends we are IN a war. Every bit as intense as the one in Harry Potter, with just as much at stake -more, actually. Only our war is not fiction. It's real. And it is every. single. day.
Just as Voldemort lost strength and power when Harry laid down his life/ was willing to, Satan also lost strength and power when the Savior died/ was willing to die (the atonement was saving people before it was actually performed.) for us. The Savior sealed us His -and the only way Satan can have any control over us is if we give it to him.
I find quite a lot of strength and freedom in that particular realization. I mean, somewhere in my heart and mind I knew that all along, but I don't think I really grasped it until I was mulling over the ending of Harry Potter. Which, makes me also realize that I really need to study the scriptures more, don't you think?