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It all started, as most bombshells do these days, with a cryptic tweet.
On May 8, Elon Musk tweeted, “If I die under mysterious circumstances, it’s been nice knowin ya,” which, as one might expect, spurred no small conversation on Twitter about Musk’s eternal destiny.
When one of his now 122 million followers responded that Musk should consider whether there is a “creator of this world” prior to his death, Musk fired back, “Thank you for the blessing, but I’m ok with going to hell, if that is indeed my destination, since the vast majority of all humans ever born will be there.”
While in the past, Musk had previously hinted at his rejection of the existence of any deity, his tweet was the most explicit statement yet on some of Musk’s most deeply held beliefs — or lack thereof.
When you’re the richest man in the world, there’s not a lot of personal information that’s not available for public consumption, particularly for a high-profile South African-born billionaire like Musk.
And yet, beyond that aforementioned tweet, we know relatively little about where Musk stands on God, eternity and the Gospel.
Certainly, his moral beliefs are ambiguous, at best: he told The Office star Rainn Wilson in a 2013 interview that while he has devoted his life to the “advancement of humanity,” he doesn’t “really worship anything.”
When asked whether science and religion could ever coexist, Musk said, “Probably not.”
And as for prayer?
“I didn’t even pray when I almost died of malaria,” he revealed.
Even the blessing of having a biblical name has yet to bear the fruit of biblical faith for Elon Musk.
Most Christians might not know that even though Musk comes from South Africa via “Pennsylvania Dutch stock,” the name Elon is actually a Hebrew word that means “oak-grove” and is found six times in the Old Testament.
In addition to being the name of a place in Palestine, and of a Hittite and two Israelites, Elon is also named as a judge of Israel in Chapter 12 of the book of Judges.
While the contemporary Elon is a household name around the world, his biblical counterpart isn’t nearly as famous, with no links to any great historical exploits or key events in the Bible.
All we know from Judges 12:11-12 is that “Elon the Zebulunite led Israel 10 years. Then Elon died and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.”
For having a name with such a biblical pedigree, some might find it disappointing that Musk doesn’t appear to have much interest in the things of God.
During a Babylon Bee podcast last December, Musk appeared to initially struggle for a response when he was asked about the origins of the universe.
CEO Seth Dillon told The Christian Post that Musk gave him the impression that while he doesn’t appear to have established a dogmatic belief of any kind, “He’s not ruling out the possibility of God’s existence.”
“I don’t think he’s closed off to it,” Dillon said, adding that he believes Musk has the “humility to say, ‘We don’t have all the answers and I’m happy to hear what you think about this topic.’”
Musk, who was baptized as a child and took communion, has often been described as atheist or agnostic.
But after the Dragon Capsule completed a splash landing in the Gulf of Mexico in 2020, the chief engineer and CEO of SpaceX admitted that he turned to prayer.
“I’m not very religious, but I prayed for this one,” Musk said.
In the course of the Babylon Bee show, Musk spoke about a mixed bag of religious instruction as a child: he attended Anglican Sunday School as well as Hebrew preschool, but clarified that he is “not Jewish.”
“I was singing ‘Hava Nagila’ one day and ‘Jesus Our Lord’ the next,” he recalled.
But after a self-described ”existential crisis” that led him to read the Bible and other religious texts, Musk said he came to the conclusion that “there’s a whole bunch of things in there they didn’t teach you in Sunday school.”
And while he wouldn’t “accept Jesus” right there on the spot, as Bee Creative Director Ethan Nicolle playfully prodded him to, Musk did express admiration for the “principles that Jesus advocated,” such as forgiveness and “treating people as you wish to be treated.”
“Things like ‘turn the other cheek’ are very important, as opposed to an eye for an eye. An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind,” Musk maintained.
“As Einstein would say, ‘I believe in the God of Spinoza,’” said Musk, seemingly referencing the deist beliefs.
The Bee interview wasn’t the last time Musk voiced his admiration for the teachings of Jesus.
Earlier this month, he tweeted: “Jesus taught love, kindness and forgiveness. I used to think that turning the other cheek was weak & foolish, but I was the fool for not appreciating its profound wisdom.”
It’s comments like those that, at least, for Dillon, suggest Musk hasn’t yet rejected the Gospel.
“I do sense in him openness to have conversations and be willing to hear other people’s arguments and consider them seriously,” he said. “I think he has enough humility to do that because he hasn’t made up his mind on these things in a dogmatic way.”
But not everyone is convinced that Musk is on the “straight and narrow” path that leads to eternal life.
“Saying ‘Jesus is good’ is a far cry from accepting Christ as Savior,” Todd Hampton of the “Prophecy Pros Podcast,” told CP. “But based on that video, I would say he is definitely not anti-Christian.”
Hampton believes at the moment, Musk has expressed views that would be best described as “agnostic naturalist,” someone who is a “really gifted person, but one who probably believes in evolution and that there may or may not be a God.”
I like that he does not seem to be controlled by anyone in power and thinks independently,” said Hampton. “I also like that he is for free speech and that sort of thing.
“That being said, I don’t believe he is a believer.”
Hampton added while there’s no evidence of Musk’s salvation, that shouldn’t stop Christians from interceding on his behalf through prayer.
“Could you imagine if he did become a believer?” said Hampton. “From our perspective, it is not likely, but with God, all things are possible.”