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The Wall Street Journal reports today on a former pastor who engaged a young atheist to attend a dozen church services in order to critique how Christianity was being offered. The pastor got the young atheist’s services by buying his soul off of eBay.

People have put their souls up for auction on the Internet shopping site before, including a British man who forked over his eternal spirit in 2002 for less than 12 pounds, a move that local clergy called “dangerous.” This time, Jim Henderson, a maverick evangelical minister whose Christian website, called Off the Map, is dedicated to “helping Christians be normal” paid $504 for the soul of DePaul University student Hemant Mehta. (The WSJ story, not available to nonsubcribers on their site, is reprinted on Off the Map.) Henderson proposed that Mehta write his critiques for the site. Mehta in return asked that Henderson donate the money to the Secular Students Alliance, which supports agnostist and atheist groups at schools.

Full disclosure: Beliefnet did not purchase my soul in return for this or any other writing, though they do retain possession of my favorite weird orange tie, which I left in my office closet when I left my position there.

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