In “The Gospel According to Kass” [Hot Type, April 21], Michael Miner lists as one of the details that make him a religious doubter “the eternal damnation of Christ’s betrayer.” But there is no Christian teaching that condemns Judas to eternal damnation. Christianity teaches that it is possible for any sinner to repent up to his last moment. It puts nobody in hell by name, not even Judas, and only one of three biblical references to Judas’s death attributes it to suicide. Indeed the Anchor Bible Dictionary suggests that Judas could have come under the prayer of Jesus from the cross: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

As for being a doubter, Mike Miner belongs to a distinguished club. Graham Greene maintained that the only reason he remained in the fold was that, despite serious religious doubts, he always managed to doubt his own doubts. Even the diaries of Mother Teresa reveal her own serious religious doubts. Doubters have their own prayer: “O Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief” (Mark 9, 24). They even have their own patron–the apostle known as “doubting Thomas.”

Finally, thanks, Mike, for quoting Saint Paul’s “We hope against hope” (Romans 4, 18), showing that, when necessary, even a doubter can borrow from a believer.

Joe Wiley

Near North