EBay halts bids for spot in heaven

A New Jersey man posted the auction as a joke, but nearly 200 people ran the price to almost $100,000.

By Jason Notte Jun 3, 2013 7:19AM
Sun rays coming through the clouds (© Tom Haseltine/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images)A place in heaven, even offered in jest, has tremendous market value.

In the Middle Ages, the German preacher Johann Tetzel sold plenary indulgences that promised to spare souls the fires of hell or a long wait in purgatory in exchange for an immodest sum. The sales pitch often attributed to him -- "As soon as a coin in the coffer rings / the soul from purgatory springs" -- not only kept the money coming in but eventually drew the ire of Martin Luther and kicked off the Protestant Reformation.

New Jersey man and self-proclaimed atheist Ari Mendel put his spot in heaven on eBay (EBAY) as a joke, but even that mocking indulgence drew more than 180 bids and a $99,900 price. Last week, according to NBC News, Mendel's post was removed from eBay after the auction site declared it violated its policy forbidding "listings that aren't offering anything for sale or those that have intangible items (generally things don't physically exist)."

EBay isn't disavowing heaven's existence. It's just saying that if a seller can't touch it, the site can't sell it. As The Huffington Post points out, eBay called off similar sales involving a jar of flatulence and another containing a ghost on similar grounds.

Mandel told NBC News that the whole thing was just a joke that people were willing to pay nearly six figures for. The 31-year-old Army veteran and New York University student received hundreds of phone calls, emails and Facebook messages while the item was online and, according to Opposing Views, had to guarantee his spot in heaven by making note of his good deeds, his vegan lifestyle and his adherence to Jewish law during his 23 years in the Hasidic community.

He also offered up a contract promising that he would continue to live a life without sin and not return to religion and steal the spot for himself.

Even at close to $100,000, Mandel's spot in heaven likely didn't meet its complete earning potential. The National Bureau of Economic Research says auctions make up only 15% of eBay's business these days, down from nearly 100% 10 years ago. Even as a joke, a spot in heaven is clearly a Buy It Now proposition.

More on moneyNOW

Tags: DramaEBAY
Jun 3, 2013 12:13PM
Amazing how so many want to go, but won't accept the simple truth on how to obtain.
Jun 3, 2013 12:54PM
Talk about a snake oil salesman.  You don't go to Heaven because you are a good person.  You go to Heaven because Jesus Christ was a sinless person.  Heaven isn't a country club.  You can't buy your way in.
Jun 4, 2013 3:22AM
Entry into Heaven is a free gift from Jesus by His death on the cross and simple belief, no one has to pay eBay for it, just ask Jesus.
Jun 3, 2013 12:03PM
Well, there's at least 180 suckers in this world.  Of course, there's another one born every day...
Jun 4, 2013 12:36PM
I don't see why Ebay stopped the auction. People dumb enough to bid on it are bound to get suckered out of their money one way or another....
Jun 3, 2013 3:02PM
Man and $99,901 was my high bid.  Maybe someone has a buy it now option.
Jun 4, 2013 3:52PM

Doctor, accountant and lawyer die and go to heaven. Saint Peter says "I will ask you each one question and if you get it right, you can come in."


He asks the doctor, "In 1912 a famous ocean liner struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank; name the ship"


Doctor says, "Well I studied medicine and science when I was in college, not history, but I'll guess....Titanic?"


Saint Peter says, "That's right.....welcome to heaven!"


He asks the accountant next," You friend answered correctly that the name of the ship was Titanic, now your question is, how many passengers on board?"


Accountant says, "Well I studied numbers in college that's for sure, but not history but I'll estimate that Titanic was about 800 feet long with about five decks at 300 people per deck so.......1,500 passengers?"


Saint Peter says, "Well.....that's pretty close so, welcome to heaven!"


He asks the lawyer, "OK, we know the name of the ship was Titanic and there were aboutt 1,500 passengers on board......name 'em."

Jun 4, 2013 6:06PM
Just remember every knee shall bow....
Jun 3, 2013 12:20PM
Jun 4, 2013 8:24AM

I knew those 4 bids of up to $7.65, weren't going to hold up...Dang it.

Another opportunity missed...

Jun 4, 2013 3:46PM
so there are suckers who believe this crap. like joel osteen is a real preacher with a 2 million dollar gold toilet. scammers everywhere in any field.  THATS ALL FOLKS  DD.
Jun 4, 2013 4:25PM
Jun 4, 2013 3:16AM

I smell a lawsuit in the future if that guy messes up and the one who bought it dies and cant go to heaven. rofl

Jun 6, 2013 1:27PM

You certainly can't pay for it! John 3:16 it's paid in full.....

Jun 5, 2013 10:15AM
you get selected to the best list if you suck up to god sellers
what ****

Jun 5, 2013 9:35AM
Just for a moment, set aside the argument of whether or not heaven exists.  If a person is selling something they are supposed to be able to give that something to the buyer.  There were 180 people that thought this guy had the ability to grant them a spot in heaven for a price.  Why?  How can anyone be that stupid?!?!?

It is just incredible that anyone would be willing to pay so much money for something that the buyer could not give them.  You can't just "give up your spot" to someone.  I am not a theologian but I know it doesn't work like that.
Jun 4, 2013 3:37PM

They dont need to pay. Jesus loves babies abd fools

Jun 4, 2013 2:57PM
Like the jew was going to get into heaven anyway.
Jun 4, 2013 1:33PM
wonder if there's a lease option in heaven
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