Q: Is it wrong in God’s eyes to be rich? I’ve heard that Jesus had some harsh things to say about rich people, but does that mean you can’t go to heaven if you’re rich? I’m not a wealthy person, but do I have to give away everything I have in order to be saved? — K.W.
A: This is what the New Testament has to say on the topic.
- In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple
- Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
- Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back
However, I would venture to say that the vast majority of Christians (especially here in the U.S.) do not follow these instructions. The same point can be made with other instructions in the New Testament ( e.g., do not take oaths [Matthew 5:34], do not defend yourself in court [Matthew 5:40], love your enemies [Luke 6:27]). Living according to these instructions is near impossible in the 21st century, and virtually no Christians do so. This video gives some nice examples of this. These examples are all from the New Testament but there are many more examples from the Old Testament ( e.g., stoning rape victims, killing children who are disrespectful of their parents, not eating shellfish).
Modern Christians pick which parts of their bible to follow and which to ignore. They decide that some parts (that they do not like) are not to be trusted. As Christians, on whose authority do they do this? How do they make these decisions? I would argue that for someone who believes the bible was divinely inspired by a god, ignoring parts of the bible invalidates the authority of the entire bible. If these people thought about this rationally, they would likely come to the same conclusion. There are many other reasons to not place credibility in the bible. Once you accept this, you will not have to worry about giving away all of your possessions or whether you’ll be going to heaven. You won’t. No one will. It doesn’t exist. We can’t know for sure if some type of afterlife exists, but it seems unlikely. We can be fairly confident, though, that Christianity and it’s heaven are false.
Feel free to leave your answer to this question in the comments.