"It is easier for a rich man to enter heaven seated comfortably on the back of a camel than it is for a poor man to pass through the eye of a needle," is a funny inversion of "Matthew 19:24" from Al Franken's "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them."

However, I'm wondering if there is an additional layer to the joke, as saying something is easier than doing something impossible (passing through the eye of the needle) says next to the nothing about the likelihood of the thing itself (a rich person passing into heaven). Is this meant to be a comment on double-speak and hucksterism, or am I just being thick?

  • What makes you wonder whether there's an extra layer of the sort you've mentioned ("saying something is easier than doing something impossible says next to the nothing about the likelihood of the thing itself ")? Even if what you're wondering is true, that there's an extra layer, what would the "humor added" be beyond that of the inversion of Matthew 19:24? That all talk of heaven is double-speak and hucksterism? Not that it isn't, but is that funny? :-) Just trying to understand your question. – Richard Kayser Sep 2 '16 at 5:57

This is part of a comic book in Lying Liars called "Supply Side Jesus", which mocks Republicans for worshiping Jesus Christ while advocating economic theories that help the rich and hurt the poor. The revised aphorism states that the rich and comfortable have an easier route to Heaven than the poor because being rich is a sign of God's approval and being poor is an indication of personal and moral failure.

The hucksterism that being lampooned is (US) right-wing economics.

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I heard somewhere that there was a small gate in the walls of the 1st century city of Jerusalem called "The Needle's Eye" through which it was very difficult for a camel to pass and that it was this gate that the biblical quote referred to originally. When I heard about the gate I thought that, possibly, a laden camel couldn't get through but one with its packs and saddle removed could be got through by getting it to bow its head and bend its legs. This would make the quote both more sensible and more powerful. It also makes the parody funnier in that I see the rich man being knocked off his camel by the top of the arch.

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    This gate is an old and convenient story. Jesus' statement is hard for us to take, because it is impossible, and we want to know that with enough effort, we can attain heaven. But there is no real evidence for such a gate. – Eric Wilson Sep 2 '16 at 9:33
  • @EricWilson, "But there is no real evidence for such a gate." You mean unlike all the evidence for the existence of heaven? :-) – fixer1234 Mar 4 '17 at 21:41
  • @fixer1234 Much more evidence for a creator God that will judge every one of us than this supposed gate. – Eric Wilson Mar 6 '17 at 13:51

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