The Gospel According to Gaga: A Modern Commentary on Jesus, Judas, Betrayal, and the Human Propensity Toward Evil
On boisterous bikes rolling down the highway, Jesus led his pack of biker-disciples all garnering embroidered leather jackets with skulls and holy names. Such is the image Lady Gaga paints of the twelve disciples in her new music video and single Judas, in which Gaga herself plays the role of the famed harlot and repentant prostitute Mary Magdalene. The video itself is a conglomeration of cryptic references, telling imagery, and layered meanings, albeit beautifully filmed and wonderfully written.
Still, this latest single from Lady Gaga has and will continue to cause a firestorm of controversy over the depictions of Christ and misinterpreted lyrics. Gaga is no stranger to controversy nor to outlandish Christian bashing. One need only peruse through YouTube and discover that Lady Gaga is actually not a Lady at all but a horned-beast secretly attempting to destroy Christianity, elevate the Illuminati, and through her secret 666 hand-signals will brainwash millions of “monsters” to worship her as a god. While no doubt these people are genuinely fearful, many of their claims are downright strange. From claims that if you play her music backwards you can hear her worship the Devil to the consistent images of “demonic” animals (goats, etc.) in her videos. For such “conspiracy theory” and paranoid types, this is more than enough to show Lady Gaga’s true identity as the Anti-Christ. And no doubt minions of these people are creating videos and writing blogs on just this fact for Gaga’s new video.
Judas, however, will attract the attention, criticism, and condemnation of millions of main-line Christians. And while Lady Gaga firmly asserts that the song is not an attack on religion or Christianity, the distorted imagery of Christ and the apostles is palpable.
When asked about the video and its’ religious content, Gaga said “This video is not meant to be an attack on religion. It is not meant to be an attack on anyone’s beliefs. I respect and love everybody’s beliefs….the song Judas is essentially me going back to an ex-boyfriend and still being in love with someone who has betrayed me….The video, in essence, suggests that forgiveness and betrayal are hand-in-hand.”
Though the song was written about relationships and the propensity of all to have this sort of “Jesus” and “Judas” within and at odd’s with one another, the depictions of Christ and the apostles are overtly offensive to many. Jesus is seemingly portrayed as a silent and passive figure who garners well manicured eyebrows, a slacker-stash, chin-stubble, a crown of golden thorns, and a plethora of gold crosses about his neck. Ruling along-side him is the harlot who famously washed Christ’s feet with her hair and perfume (Luke 7:38). Gaga has Christ in a relationship with this prostitute—a modern and common error. Christ was never in a sexual relationship in the Gospels.
The video depicts the disciples as a partying bunch—drinking, flirting, and womanizing. The image of Judas, in particular, is of a brawling and obsessive man who lustfully longs for Mary. This sexual urge is the source of his betrayal.
Such is the meaning of the closing scene when Mary is stoned for her betrayal of Christ with Judas—both washing his feet and Christ’s. “Jesus is my Virtue, But Judas is the demon I cling too.”
While many have interpreted Lady Gaga’s imagery and lyrics as a blasphemous call to tear down Christ from his throne, to “bring him down, a king with no crown”, Gaga is pointing to something deeper. Indeed, she is describing her gravitation toward the “bad boy” in her life. But further, she is pointing to the evil—the Judas—that lives within us all. And though we love Christ, we often act as though we want to dethrone Him. In word, we say He’s our devotion but in action we betray our lust and longing for evil.
Lady Gaga’s vision of the disciples and of Christ has problems, to be sure. But it also holds some powerful truth to which those willing to explore their own inward conflict. In fact, Paul the Apostle pointed to a similar truth in his Letter to the Romans.
“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:21-25
May Lady Gaga’s Judas create opportunities to talk about Christ, Judas, and the Human propensity toward evil in us all.
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