Christian Universalism: Judas Iscariot

I know that I said I’d write this week about Christian Universalism and cosmologies, but this week has gotten away from me, what with the launch of Social Phonics and all.

Also, I’m leading the sermon discussion this Sunday at Solomon’s Porch, along with my dear friend Rabbi Joseph Edelheit, the official Rabbi of Solomon’s Porch.  I asked him to sit on the stools that spin with me this week because the text we’re to tackle is John 18, which is Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.  John is arguably the most anti-semitic Gospel, probably because it was authored decades after the synoptics and the Christians were intent on differentiating themselves from the Jews from which they had sprung.  (Judas=Jew-dus)

But it also occurred to me that Judas is a a perfect case study for exploring the possibility of Christian Universalism.  Judas’s place in history is notorious, and he became more and more the scourge of Christian history.  For example, Dante puts Judas in the lowest ring of hell, head first in Lucifer’s mouth, being eternally chewed by Satan but never consumed.  Sounds like Hell to me.

One of the arguments against Universalism is, How could a God who believes in justice allow Hitler to not be in Hell?  That rather contemporary question is superseded in Christian history by the same question about Judas.

We definitely have some Judas sympathizers at Solomon’s Porch who agree with Andrew Lloyd Webber that Judas was, in fact, a tragic hero, so I’m sure that it will be a very interesting conversation on Sunday evening.

But my question here is an important one for the consideration of Christian Universalism: Is is palatable to worship a God who allows Judas (and Hitler) to enjoy eternal life in God’s presence?