Huwebes, Abril 13, 2006

On 'The Gospel of Judas'

There has been a lot of fuss about the release of the translation of the Gospel of Judas. It was sensationally put as "a shocking revelation." Though intriguing and interesting, I found myself not questioning but reaffirming what I believed in the Catholic Christian faith as I watch the whole documentary that was shown on National Geographic.

First, the idea that the Gospel would change how we see our faith is over emphasized, even sensationalized. The Gospel was written by a branch of early Christianity called the Gnostics. And the Gnostics were, as I have heard, deemed heretics by the early Church. Their beliefs are actually quite different to that of the theology that the Catholic and Orthodox Churches believe. Many Gnostics didn't believe in the Trinity (in the Gospel of Judas, Jesus laughs at the prayer of the disciples to the Father the Creator) to name a few. There are a lot of things that the Gnostics contest that Christianity today whole-heartedly believes (Just loook of the Councils). What I am just saying is that Gnostism is not compatible with today's Christianity, it's a different kind of theology. What the news people should try to do is also understand what the Christian beliefs are today and counter-impose it with the Gnosticism. In that way we would have a balanced understanding of Christianity, which the documentary did quite well. All I'm saying is, if you don't know or understand or believe in the Christian theology of today, your so-called "faith" will definately be "rocked."

Second, the idea that Judas was 'convinced' by Jesus to betray Him strikes me as a little fanatical. Would I kill for the glory/will of God? Would I do evil for the greater good? A tricky moral question but, looking at the Gospel of Judas, it seemed quite clear though not easy, "Yes, you should." Again, it is quite fanatical. If it applied then, would it apply now? Hardly. But If we see the whole teaching of Jesus, it is not about the evils that we do but the good that we do that should always concern the will of God. Yes, the betrayal of Judas, in some sense, was necessary for the whole Passion to come full circle. But the question that the Gospel puts forward is the power of free will vs. God's. Judas, having premonitions in the Gospel, knew what was going to happen. And Jesus, God egged him on. It is a tricky proposition this free will vs. God's will. But Jesus wanting evil to happen? It's all about faith.

Though the importance of the Gospel of Judas cannot be denied. It gives a theological and historical understanding of the opposing beliefs that was fought out during the early phase of Christianity. It's funny that all this theological rivalry happened during the height of the persecutions. As we can see, on has to be buried for 1700 years while another thrived for the past 1700.

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