Judas Was Wrongly Vilified By Christians
By James Donahue
The discovery of the Gospel of Judas
by looters in an Egyptian cave in 1947 unearthed a whole new version of the story of Jesus that the Roman Catholic Church
appears to have attempted to destroy at the time the books of the Bible were being chosen.
The book, written by Thomas, the
twin brother of Jesus who also bore the name Judas, identifies Judas Iscariot at a close and trusted friend of Jesus, who
identified Jesus to Roman authorities when he was asked to do so by Jesus. He never betrayed Jesus, according to the text,
although Jesus warned that he would be accused of doing so.
The Christians not only got the
Judas story wrong, they misidentified Jesus as a god, when he was not that at all, according to text in this newly discovered
gospel. Thomas quoted Jesus as saying that he was a light, or messenger. Rather than promising a "kingdom" in an afterlife,
Jesus taught that "the Kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, but men do not see it."
The text continues: "His disciples
said to him, 'Show us this place where you are, since it is necessary for us to seek it." He said to them, 'Whoever has ears,
let him hear. There is a light within a man of light, and he lights up the whole world. If he does not shine, he is darkness."
Text like this can be interpreted
in various ways. If Jesus was a light bearer, it means that he was filled with the spirit of something that made his aura
bright. We believe this was a reference to the creator, or Great Light of the soul, or Mother God that we all share, although
few of us are aware of it. Jesus was not only tuned into this light, he wanted to teach humanity to share in its glory.
Reading the Gospel of Judas reveals
yet another startling revelation. Jesus was not happy about the spiritual condition of the human race when he was here, and
he failed to change a thing in spite of his dynamic ministry that led to his murder.
The text reads: "Jesus told them,
"I took my place in the midst of the world, and I appeared to them in the flesh. I found all of them intoxicated. I found
none of them thirsty. And my soul became afflicted for the sons of men, because they are blind in their hearts and do not
have sight, for empty they came into the world, and empty they seek to leave the world. But for the moment they are intoxicated."
Jesus expressed optimism that there
would be repentance and that those "sons of man" would eventually wake up, but instead of this, they murdered Jesus and continued
on their blind way of life. Instead of seeking the light within, as Jesus taught, they turned him into a god and established
a cult that became Christianity.
Something else that is considered
very important to the Christian doctrine also is missing from the Gospel of Judah. There is no mention of Jesus' crucifixion
and resurrection. That may be because it never happened, and Thomas wrote an honest record of what happened. This was probably
one of the primary reasons the book was excluded from the canon that eventually became the New Testament.
The vilification of Judas, the disciple
who allegedly betrayed Jesus by turning him over to the Roman soldiers, has been embedded in the finalized New Testament story
for some 2,000 years. The revelation that the alleged crucifixion never happened, and that Jesus was, in fact, a political
murder by both Roman and Jewish leaders, also forces us to consider that the Judas story also is a total fabrication.
To this day, the name Judas has
portrayed evil. We dare to say that no child has been given this name even though it was a popular name for men at the time
Yet within the Roman Catholic Church,
some priests and Bible scholars are beginning to defend Judas, proclaiming that he was a victim of a theological libel that
helped create anti-Semitism. Because Judas was a Jew, and a "sinister villain" willing to betray his best friend for money,
he represented the conscience of the Jewish nation.
The move to clear his name may have
emerged with the revealing of the Gospel of Judas. Even though the book was not written by Judas, it reflects the belief among
early Christians that betraying Jesus was a fulfillment of a "divine mission." They argue that if not for Judas, Jesus may
never have been arrested and killed, thus his resurrection and the promised "salvation" of believers would not have been fulfilled.
The total vilification of Judas
also creates a problem within church theology. Christians believe that no matter how dark their deeds, their trust and belief
in Jesus as a "personal savior" buys them a ticket to Heaven in the end. Even mass killers like John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey
Dahmer believed they were headed straight to the pearly gates, in spite of their crimes, because they were "born-again" Bible
If Gacy and Dahmer could claim a
way into Heaven, surely Judas also should be salvageable, the church must argue.
Of course, we examine the story
of Judas from a perspective totally outside the realm of creative fiction. If the man even lived, and served as a disciple
of Jesus, we believe that the report of his betrayal is as wrong as the rest of the story. That the story even exists may,
indeed, have been an attempt by the early church to create world-wide anti-Semitic emotions.
If that was the purpose, it has
worked well for way too long.