A philosophy teacher named Brint Montgomery posted his blog's link as a comment to Presbyter's earlier post about Our Lord and the Rich Young Ruler. Looking over his site and his argument, they have almost nothing to do with our conversation (I assume he must've Googled us). But, since he brought it up, I'll deal with the substance of his post entitled "The Rich Young Ruler was Right", which seems to be:
It appears that Jesus was asking the young guy to turn his brain off. (Not an unusual tactic for preachers.) But there is another angle here too: one can image the young guy dying after many years, and subsequently going to heaven. God says, "You'd have had a much more impacting life it you'd taken up Jesus' offer. That would have been a pure exercise of freewill, a virtue. Still, you did the rational thing by following the evidence available to you. And that was an exercise of reason, also a virtue. Enter in, then, my good and faithful servant."
This is a very strangely constructed argument. If your premise is that Jesus challenged the Rich Young Ruler to decide between having a "more impacting life" and one which is less so, then perhaps there can be some discussion about cost-benefit and God's rewarding his "virtue". The tradeoff would be between earthly treasure and inner fulfillment with no impact on his eternal destiny.
But of course Jesus didn't couch this (or any other) discussion that way. Rather, he talked about "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" This is an entirely different kettle of fish, in which the cost-benefit analysis is between earthly wealth and eternal security (heaven and hell).
Now, if you don't believe Jesus was who he claimed to be (the Son of God, one with the Father, etc.), then you can feel free to dismiss this claim. Moreover, if that's true, you should essentially dismiss everything Jesus said, since he would have to have been a raving lunatic or a very clever liar. To quote CS Lewis:
You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
In short, if you don't believe Jesus has the authority to be "the way, the truth, and the life" as he claimed, then call him a fraud and be done with him. It would be wrong, but at least it would be intellectually consistent.
Still, before we're too hard on Mr. Montgomery, we should perhaps reflect upon the fact that much of what the church peddles as the "gospel" runs along the same lines. Rather than, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord," we read books and listen to sermons that effectively assert, "For the wages of spiritual immaturity is unfulfillment, anxiety and depression, but the gift of relationship with God is happiness and inner contentment."
No wonder he's confused.