The basic message of Christianity, the key part that distinguishes it from the Judaism it grew out of, is that Jesus died on the cross in order to save humanity from our sins. His death was the final, greatest sacrifice which provided atonement for everyone, provided they believe in him as the Messiah and son of God. I hope this characterization of the Christian faith is not controversial.
Here’s what’s been really bugging me lately about this story: Pontius Pilate, Judas, the Jewish high priests … all the people who (according to the Bible stories) played a role in Jesus’ crucifixion, they’re all depicted as bad guys. Good Christian children are not supposed to look to Judas as a role model. He is a betrayer, a traitor to Jesus. We’re supposed to be saddened and outraged in when we read about Jesus’ pain and suffering as he died on the cross, crying out in anguish. What a terrible thing to do to the son of God, to the King of Kings, we are supposed to think.
But … if we are to trust the teachings of Christianity … wasn’t the whole point of Jesus coming to Earth so that he could sacrifice himself and atone for our sins? Wouldn’t it have been, like, extremely shitty for humanity — within the framework of the Christian worldview, of course — if we hadn’t crucified Jesus? There’d be basically no way to get to heaven! We’d all be doomed to infinite torment in hell!
So, I don’t get it. Why don’t Christian pastors routinely celebrate and thank Judas in their sermons? Why isn’t there a holiday commemorating the Sanhedrin for the role they played in securing salvation for humanity? Why, instead, have Christians throughout history slandered Jews by calling them “Christ-killers”? For that matter, why is it even a bad thing to be an essential part of what is supposed to be the greatest gift given to humankind since the Garden of Eden?
Terribly inconsistent, isn’t it? I mean, it’s almost like this whole story is a myth cobbled together after the fact by people scrambling to explain why their megalomaniac cult leader got himself killed…