Thanks for this discussion. I have no argument with the actual "eye of the needle" quote, nor did I refer to it in my post.
I was referring to misrepresentations of that statement by individuals and groups that use it to indicate that only "___fill in the group___" will make it to heaven.
There are two confounding facts about the statement that may confuse its use. First of all there is a gate to a walled city in the holy lands that is known as the "eye of the needle." Second, in the time of Christ this gate was located where numerous thieves and beggars hung out. Someone riding on a camel was relatively safe from being mugged but a rich man on foot just did not have a chance.
On the other hand, I have always interpreted this statement that one's soul can be "owned" by possessions or yearning for wealth. It does not mean that wealth alone is the corrupting influence.
What it means is letting wealth decide what your actions, values, ethics etc will be. In this light, the Popular movie "American Beauty" really shows how affluence and striving for more affluence at the expense of integrity and values can corrupt life and cause misery. I can't believe people interpret this movie as "Dark Humor" there is nothing funny about lying, greed, addiction, infidelity, abuse and murder. People who laugh during this movie, just don't get it.
Occasionally, archeologists and other scholars write things related to biblical history in "Science" or "Nature", some scientific journals I read. For example, I enjoyed reading a piece about "the valley of the shadow of death" which actually is a ravine just outside of jerusalem where Zoroastrians would leave burnt offerings and where the sewage from jerusalem would and still does drain. Because it was so "unclean" it was forbidden by the pharasees to go there. I also learned that the word Armageddon made reference to a real place where numerous wars were fought between arabs and israelis, although we interpret it to mean the end of the world.
Lots of statements in the bible may have been made with specific reference to events, people and places that are fixed in time to that era, so when we read it today we interpret it to mean what it never was intended to mean because we are in a different time.
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