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From the Eyes of Judas

April 14th, 2009 · Posted by Hugo · 14 Comments

(This was going to be at the bottom of the previous post, but that one grew into a monster and I didn’t want to bury this *that* deep.)

Ikon’s Easter Sunday gathering gave me goose bumps.

You will need some time if you want to work your way through it, you have to listen to four audio clips, and maybe prime yourself by first experiencing U2’s “Until the End of the World” linked to (it worked for me) — the description on that YouTube clip contains the lyrics, so you can follow and think about it. Basically, I’d say you need to click on each link, in order, except maybe the very first and the very last. And you’ll need to have an ear adequately tuned to the Irish accent. 😉

So who might benefit from this? Any Christian, all Christians, I’d say. Especially those that might feel a bit challenged by this. Of course. 😉 If you want to maintain a simple black-and-white prejudiced bigotry (yay tautology) towards Judas, don’t bother. However, if you want to think a bit more, exercise your humanity, follow in Jesus’ footsteps, that kind of thing… pondering and musing over the character that was Judas, is certainly a worthwhile exercise.

Furthermore, this isn’t an intellectual endeavour, it is an experiential one. Wait for a time when you’re not stressed, when you’re not in a hurry. Find a time in which you can sit down and let your emotions flow, like with a good movie. You’d want to have the opportunity to feel Judas, not just see the arguments. A chance to feel the goosebumps, to get a lump in your throat.

If you want the full experience that is.

Back to the who: non-Christians too! If you have something of a spiritual side, an emotional side, if you are interested in exploring the truths of humanity that can be illuminated by narratives that are nearly two millenia old, you could also find value in this. Some background understanding of the story is useful, and lets you get more out of it, but it is not even necessary.

Memocidal anti-theists might prefer to go isolate themselves in some corner somewhere. But atheists with an anthropological curiosity should also be able to take part.

Without much further ado (having had too much ado already), a post on Peter Rollins’ blog: Ikon: Judas

Now the conversational challenge: have a good conversation about this. If you went through the experience. Share your thoughts in a friendly way. Encourage interesting discussions around it. Encourage reflection. Secularists, try to find secular equivalents to the questions asked. Christians, how has this changed how you view Judas, or yourself? Which comments/answers by the Ikon community did you like, which shocked you, which challenged you? Everyone, what other questions should I have asked here? Be positive, be creative, even when being critical!

Categories: Worldviews
Tags: · · ·

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bendul // Apr 15, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    categories: shofar?


    don’t quite know what to make of the ikon theodrama…

  • 2 Hugo // Apr 15, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Ah thanks for pointing it out, the category slip-up, dunno when I mis-clicked that.

  • 3 Hugo // Apr 15, 2009 at 11:01 pm


    So, a couple of questions then: the first take is the traditional one, right? I did not go back to the text to see how well it supports other interpretations. Then again, I’m not a strong literalist. (And Acts says he fell and had his head dashed open on the rocks, if I remember, whereas in the gospels he hanged himself. That’s just me motivating my non-literalism, literalism is not the topic here.)

    My questions then: how did you feel about the different takes? Do they feel heretical? Or do they feel… um… “mind-broadening”, ‘scuse the horrid construction. I suspect Peter motivates his take (fourth take) in his second book, “The Fidelity of Betrayal”.

    Having pendulum-swinging heretical tendencies, I was originally a fan of “any theory but the original”, and was excited about reading Peter’s second book. (Still waiting for me.) So what actually impressed me about this presentation is the “equal time” given. I mean, that was borderline “returning to my roots” for me. 😉 I remain a fan of it, because I’m such a fan of multiple interpretations, since it isn’t so much about “what really happened” to me, as it is about what difference the text can make in people’s lives. Hence, the ability for people to hear the text speak different things into their lives, that’s something I *do* like.

    I think some of the more controversial things will be found in the ikon community’s answers to the four questions. Those answers pretty much paint a picture of their “theological position”, firstly, but also of their theological roots. (So I’d say there are “post-fundies” there, though others might have phrased it “deconverted fundies”.)

    Below are some questions I’d like to ask of anyone here then, including the more secular leaning people, that were interested enough in engaging with the ikon gathering. (and I don’t know if this will work. The answers at ikon were anonymous. Want to try anonymous? Email me? 😉 ):

    – (From “What would you do for four months wages?”) -> Reflect a bit, and provide some honest examples of where you might compromise on your values, for… four months’ wages? (Four months, that’s a bit small, maybe? This would turn into something of a public-confessional though…)

    – What have you been blamed for that wasn’t your fault?

    – What is the most screwed up thing you have done in the name of doing good, to the best of your intentions? (From “in the name of God”) I.e. you meant well, but in retrospect, it was really screwed up…

    – The last question was: “What have you done for love that has brought you pain?” These were not read though. So… (a) Do you want to share something on this question? (b) Why do you think they chose to not share this particular question? (I haven’t thought enough about that yet.)

    Also: what do you think about this exercise? In the form it was at ikon, in the form I’m trying to present/translate it here… Do you think it might be useful? Do you find it a waste of time? Do you think ikon’s community might have found it useful, even if you don’t, because they have a different context?

    Etc. These are some ideas of discussions we can have. Take a bite at what seems tasty. Feel free to present some other ideas. Etc.

  • 4 bendul // Apr 15, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    I guess what I wonder about is where do these ideas come from? are they creative efforts on behalf of ikon? researched out of apocrypha and other “alternative” sources? I am aware that theology is a creative enterprise; but it does still (at least) reference the original canonical texts, which I am not certain is the case with the musings of this theodrama…

  • 5 Hugo // Apr 16, 2009 at 12:30 am

    I’d think some of the ideas were inspired by “The Gospel of Judas” – a text which didn’t make it into the Bible, thus, apocrypha. (The suggestion then, if this were more accurate than we’d think, is that the early Christians considered Judas a traitor and didn’t want to hear more about it.)

    How much of this can be found in the “canonical” texts, I don’t know. Yet. I’ll write about “The Fidelity of Betrayal” when I eventually get around to reading it.

  • 6 Hugo // Apr 16, 2009 at 12:34 am

    My comment #5 is about the fourth interpretation mostly.

    The second interpretation draws from Biblical texts out of Genesis, as I’m sure you picked up? The bit about God hardening Pharaoh’s heart? It also draws from the “orthodox” view that the crucifixion was God’s Plan, that Jesus had to be handed over thus. Thus Judas was necessarily a pawn in the grand scheme of things. If God planned it all, can Judas be faulted for it?

    The third, I’m not sure what might have served as inspiration for that one. It seems to me to be the most radically creative. (Read: most heretical, unbacked by scripture, canonical or apocryphal.)

  • 7 Hugo // Apr 16, 2009 at 1:25 am

    The Gospel of Judas is probably from no earlier than the second century, since it contains theology that is not represented before the second half of the second century, and since its introduction and epilogue assume the reader is familiar with the canonical Gospels.


    So that does suggest the earlier Gospels have greater authority. My ponderings “that the early Christians considered Judas a traitor and didn’t want to hear more about it” is then not a good explanation of why it was excluded in the canonical texts. The reason it wasn’t included: it was scripture of the Gnostic followers, who “lost the battle” with regards to what was to become the canonical scriptures, theology, etc.

    I’m of course still curious about Peter’s second book, and I also have Philip Harland’s podcast series I want to go through. (He approaches it from a “historical perspective”, and talks about the rival “Jesus following” communities in the first couple of centuries, the title of the category on his blog is “Opponents and ‘heresies'”.)


  • 8 Bendul // Apr 16, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Personally I prefer Dylan’s approach to the subject:
    (even though I do appreciate ikon’s attempt at pluralism FWIW – though I find it disconcerting that the “canonical” is barely reflected upon)


    Oh my name it is nothin’
    My age it means less
    The country I come from
    Is called the Midwest
    I’s taught and brought up there
    The laws to abide
    And that land that I live in
    Has God on its side.

    Oh the history books tell it
    They tell it so well
    The cavalries charged
    The Indians fell
    The cavalries charged
    The Indians died
    Oh the country was young
    With God on its side.

    Oh the Spanish-American
    War had its day
    And the Civil War too
    Was soon laid away
    And the names of the heroes
    I’s made to memorize
    With guns in their hands
    And God on their side.

    Oh the First World War, boys
    It closed out its fate
    The reason for fighting
    I never got straight
    But I learned to accept it
    Accept it with pride
    For you don’t count the dead
    When God’s on your side.

    When the Second World War
    Came to an end
    We forgave the Germans
    And we were friends
    Though they murdered six million
    In the ovens they fried
    The Germans now too
    Have God on their side.

    I’ve learned to hate Russians
    All through my whole life
    If another war starts
    It’s them we must fight
    To hate them and fear them
    To run and to hide
    And accept it all bravely
    With God on my side.

    But now we got weapons
    Of the chemical dust
    If fire them we’re forced to
    Then fire them we must
    One push of the button
    And a shot the world wide
    And you never ask questions
    When God’s on your side.

    In a many dark hour
    I’ve been thinkin’ about this
    That Jesus Christ
    Was betrayed by a kiss
    But I can’t think for you
    You’ll have to decide
    Whether Judas Iscariot
    Had God on his side.

    So now as I’m leavin’
    I’m weary as Hell
    The confusion I’m feelin’
    Ain’t no tongue can tell
    The words fill my head
    And fall to the floor
    If God’s on our side
    He’ll stop the next war.

  • 9 Bendul // Apr 16, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Now – That’s my kind of heresy

  • 10 Hugo // Apr 16, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Brilliant! Thanks!

  • 11 Ben-Jammin' // Apr 19, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    OT: I’m sure I pointed out the Haidt Foundations of Morality to you before and you didn’t like it then – too ‘liberal/conservative’ black and white. (shrug)

    For people who like text instead of video, here is Haidt:


  • 12 Hugo // Apr 19, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    OT (this is about the miniblog) – Thanks for the links.

    [The rest of this comment is light-hearted self-reflection, considering how I come across and whether I have changed much.]

    I think you are remembering incorrectly. Here’s what I remember, off the top of my head:

    I *think*, it was a discussion with some conservative, you pointed them at the Haidt video hoping to discuss of five-pillars vs two-pillars. I can’t remember the details of the discussion, but I didn’t have time / make time that day to look at the video. I rediscovered the clip yesterday, and remembered “ah, this is what Ben’Jammin was talking about that other time!” – watched it, and thought “this kicks ass, pity I hadn’t watched it already!”

    Now checking if I remember correctly… [time passes]

    Hmmm, I found this:
    in a discussion with Amanda. I don’t see myself responding to it. Don’t know if you shared it earlier than that?

    What I find interesting then is the general picture/expectations you have of me: “you didn’t like it then – too ‘liberal/conservative’ black and white.” 😉 Have I come across as *that* anti-black-and-white? Hehe, maybe. This talk didn’t bother me at all though, maybe I am more accepting of studies that need to divide into boxes in order to be able to learn something.

  • 13 Ben-Jammin' // Apr 19, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Don’t know if you shared it earlier than that?

    I think so, but I have failed to find it. It could easily be a faulty memory on my part.

    Have I come across as *that* anti-black-and-white?

    Well, yes and no. 😉

  • 14 Hugo // Apr 19, 2009 at 10:09 pm


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