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“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Jesus asks in the King James Version of the Bible.
So what’s a spot in heaven worth? Somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 — or that’s where eBay stopped the bidding after 30-year-old atheist Ari Mandel put his up for sale on the auction site.
It started as a joke. “I didn’t think anyone would take it seriously,” the Army vet told NBC News.
But many of the hundreds of messages he got through email, phone calls and Facebook showed that people did.
The initial listing was 99 cents, but 181 bids pushed the auction up to $99,900 before it got eBay’s attention. While the original auction page was removed, you can view a copy online.
This was obviously not the first time eBay had seen such a listing. Its policies prohibit intangible items other than services or downloads, and even specifically mention souls: “Listings that offer someone’s ‘soul’ or a container that claims to have someone’s ‘soul’ are not allowed.”
Some people played along with Mandel’s joke. One commenter asked for specifics about the heavenly home, because “I want to make sure I am in prime real estate somewhere over a rainbow, right between the lord and a few angels,” NBC says. Another asked for square footage.