Social Question

MrGrimm888's avatar

Could you please give a detailed description, of what your interpretation of this saying is? (Details)

Asked by MrGrimm888 (13499points) February 2nd, 2018

Source. Google. Mark 10:25

“It is easier for a camel, to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man, to enter the Kingdom of God.”

This statement, had me thinking about the “billionaire, morality” thread. Is the implication, that the rich are inherently evil?

Would they normally go straight to Hell?

What would be the motivation of this saying?

Your thoughts?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

21 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

“If a rich man interprets the rules creatively enough, it is easy for him to enter paradise.”
Be reminded, that the size of the camel and the size of the needle are never specified.
Or the developmental status of the camel.
For example, if the camel is only in the state of fertilised egg cell, it can pass through the needle without issue.

zenvelo's avatar

Two things to start off my explanation:

1.“Hell” is a church construct; Biblical references were to the trash heap outside of the city walls.
2. The Kingdom of God is here and now, in the present, just being open to the wonders of the universe that are present in our daily lives.

Jesus was stating that a rich man is never satisfied, is never content, never at peace, and is disconnected from the world and nature all around them.

There is a gate in Jerusalem that is so small that a camel must have all of its loads removed in order to get through; it is called the “eye of the needle”.

Mariah's avatar

I’ve always taken it to mean that it is immoral to stay rich. It’s fine to become rich, but a rich person should be giving much of their good fortune away to others less fortunate. By the time someone dies they should therefore not be rich. If they are, they weren’t charitable and they won’t qualify for heaven.

KNOWITALL's avatar

My understanding is that we are to cast off worldly things like Jesus told his disciples, putting faith in God to supply our needs. It’s difficult in this time to trade security for faith, but thats where being a Giver comes in. I’m not rich but I’m ok and we give back to others, but excessive wealth, to my religion, means you are not helping God enough. Look at a Catholic church then a Southern Baptist church, ostentatious vs austere. We are to be humble servants not egotistical and greedy.

Bill1939's avatar

My understanding is that the “eye of a needle” is an entrance with a portal so low that a camel must kneel in order to crawl through. A rich man is likely so full of self-pride that he sees himself as too important to kneel. Unwilling to kneel before God, he will be unable to enter the Kingdom.

CWOTUS's avatar

I like @zenvelo‘s explanations, and they make sense. The ones that follow are good, too.

I think the whole point of the metaphor is, as @zenvelo alludes: “you can’t take it with you”. The rich man – solely as a man, that is – can certainly enter Heaven (in the belief of the followers, anyway), but he won’t be rich any more. He’ll be stripped of all his possessions.

kritiper's avatar

It is almost entirely impossible.

seawulf575's avatar

I think the point Jesus was making when He gave us this statement was that material world and spiritual world are necessarily separate. If you cannot let go of material things, you cannot hope to enter Heaven. And generally, the wealthy are far more tied to material things than the poor. But the same applies to the poor as well…it applies to all of us. If you aren’t willing to give up your material things, you cannot fully commit to God and find your way to Heaven.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There is no way to die rich without ignoring the suffering around you.

NomoreY_A's avatar

In the context of 1st Century CE Judea, I think he was asking people to accept their lot in life in hope of a better world to come. A lot of wealthy people in that era and that part of the world were Roman collaborators and were despised by the common people. Even the Temple authorities played along as long as Rome didn’t interfere with their religious practices.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, how many rich people do you know who aren’t arrogant about it and thinks it proves their superiority? I know a few, but it seems like most of them can be turds about it.

Zaku's avatar

“This statement, had me thinking about the “billionaire, morality” thread. Is the implication, that the rich are inherently evil?”
Not necessarily evil per se… but certainly the aspect of someone that might be a wealthy person, is not the aspect of someone which has to do with love and bliss, and so has no place in “the Kingdom of God” as Christians put it.

I think it operates on multiple levels, and like almost all such things is a metaphor and a prompt for thought, reflection, the subconscious, and wisdom.

But yeah, Trump and venal evangelists and environment-destroying CEOs and the Koch brothers etc are pretty much “on a highway to hell” so to speak… not for their bank balance, but for their mindset, lack of compassion, all the suffering they cause, etc.

Though it’s a metaphor. Slightly more directly, this translates to the language and thinking that I use more as that their inner humanity is already in torment.

Or in my own metaphoric language, people with evil asshole syndrome, which money-obsessed people (and child abusers, and others) tend to get, still have an inner benevolent humanity somewhere, but it’s trapped inside ego defenses and thought patterns that have them behaving like monsters, while their core self suffers. It seems pretty hellish to me.

MrGrimm888's avatar

What great responses! Thanks to all. Keep it coming.

One aspect that I haven’t seen shared, is jealousy. Could God, not want anyone entering his presence to have more than him? I faintly recall that he doesn’t want people to worship other gods, because he is jealous. Although that’s an interesting (human) character flaw, let’s run with it. Money is power. Could someone accumulate SO much wealth, that they are as powerful, or more so, than God? I might pray to Bill Gates before some god… Gates could be like a Bond villain, and form an army, and make weapons of mass destruction. Instead, he and his wife are seemingly helping the world. If I pray to God, I probably won’t get an answer. If I send Gates an email about my strife, he might help, or donate to a foundation or charity that could help me…

Or. Is this just a way to manipulate people into giving more to their church?

Or. Is this a way to fight pagan religions, that told of accumulating and taking wealth, and power into the afterlife?

I absolutely LOVED the mention of the “eye of the needle,” being an actual gate. Could this all be from an error in translation?

Oh. And Loli. You and I had the same thought. Except that in my version, the camel was liquefied, and poured through the needle.

For the record. I have a basic understanding of sewing. I can barely get the damn thread through in 10 tries…

MrGrimm888's avatar

I also have trouble understanding that this is “The Kingdom of God.” I get the basic premise. But it just seems like a witty way of trying to explain our existence…

This is, by my observations, a kingdom of suffering. A place where ruthlessness, and greed are rewarded. Charity, or good intentions are no match. History, does not favor this. It contradicts it…

seawulf575's avatar

@MrGrimm888 I think you are missing much about what Jesus was teaching. Material world is separate from the spiritual world. And the spiritual world is the Kingdom of God…that place where He rules. And if you look at it, that could very well impact the material world. If your spiritual self clings to wealth and greed, you are going to want that above all else. But your spirit isn’t in the right place to enter the place where selflessness is more highly honored. And Jesus didn’t suggest taking the wealth and giving it to the church. He stated the wealthy would be better served to give their wealth to the poor.
I used to wonder about the “other gods” thing. It was the first commandment. Why so important? But then I started thinking about it. At the time, many, if not all, other religions (gods) had rituals and beliefs that stoked bad things in us such as lust or greed. By wanting people to avoid other gods, He is taking one easy step to start people down the road of a good life.

kritiper's avatar

@seawulf575 That depends, of course, on your POV. Speaking as a devout Atheist, your “God” implications are worthless. You speak as though everyone sees things the same as you.

Zaku's avatar

@MrGrimm888 “One aspect that I haven’t seen shared, is jealousy. Could God, not want anyone entering his presence to have more than him? I faintly recall that he doesn’t want people to worship other gods, because he is jealous. Although that’s an interesting (human) character flaw, let’s run with it. Money is power. Could someone accumulate SO much wealth, that they are as powerful, or more so, than God? I might pray to Bill Gates before some god… Gates could be like a Bond villain, and form an army, and make weapons of mass destruction. Instead, he and his wife are seemingly helping the world. If I pray to God, I probably won’t get an answer. If I send Gates an email about my strife, he might help, or donate to a foundation or charity that could help me…”

Well, no, on many levels.

God is a metaphor for all of the universe. So even on a material level, no mortal concept of owning anything amounts to jack squat compared to everything over all time, and that’s just considering the material universe.

More importantly, in a spiritual context, “the Kingdom of Heaven” is a metaphor about spiritual well-being and connectedness to everything, which transcends all material concerns, making them ultimately irrelevant.

If you pray to God based on material wish-making, you may be unlikely to get a material assist (not sure if that’s more or less likely than from a letter to a material wealth-amassing human, or not). But if you pray to a God based on an intuitive connection for wisdom and guidance, you very well may receive some very powerful wisdom from that.

seawulf575's avatar

@kritiper No, but when the OP cites the bible and is asking for our interpretation of it, I feel I am well within my rights to explain my understanding of it. Even as an atheist, you are allowed to read the bible and make opinons about what is in it. Please don’t think I am trying to convert anyone or that I believe I have more of an “in” with God than anyone else. Just explaining my understanding of what was asked about.

kritiper's avatar

@seawulf575 See if you can word it more that way. Thanks.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^ @seawulft575 is correct. I was asking for “his” interpretation. And yours. @seawulf575 , and I are very different, in some ways. I value his input, as I do yours. Thank you both, for your responses…

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther