At the end of each podcast, Babylon Bee leaders ask guests the same 10 questions, including this stumper: “Calvinist or Arminian?”

That caught Elon Musk by surprise, and he needed clarification on the difference between Arminian believers and persons from Armenia. After some background on Protestant history, he said: “My mind would say ‘determinism’ and my heart says ‘free will.’”

Why was the mastermind behind Tesla and SpaceX — a man worth $278 billion at the end of 2021 — talking to a Christian satire website? The answer: Musk has 69.7 million Twitter followers, and he frequently responds to them, even if it’s a U.S. senator questioning his taxes.

“You know, he engages with our content from time to time,” Bee CEO Seth Dillon told Fox News. After email exchanges about a meeting, Musk said: “Fly to me and we’ll do it.”

The result was 100-plus minutes of conversation in Austin, Texas, ranging from satire to science and from politics to pop culture. Topics included sustainable energy, superheroes (Musk would choose to be “Irony Man”), why entrepreneurs are fleeing California, the physics of reusable rockets, cyborgs, how “wokeness” threatens humor, CNN morality and the future of a planet near an expanding sun.

On celebrity websites, Musk is often described as an atheist or agnostic. Asked if he prays, Musk once replied: “I didn’t even pray when I almost died of malaria.” But after the success of the first manned Falcon rocket mission, Musk said in his public remarks: “You know, I’m not very religious, but I prayed for this one.”

In the Bee interview, Musk discussed his complex religious background, which included going to “Anglican Sunday school, the Church of England, basically. But I was also sent to Hebrew preschool, although I’m not Jewish. ... I was singing ‘Hava Nagila’ one day and ‘Jesus Our Lord’ the next.”

There was humor in these exchanges, along with serious questions, said Bee editor Kyle Mann, via email.


This chance to “pick Elon Musk’s brain and get his thoughts on God, faith, religion and the Gospel was incredibly humbling,” said Mann. “You could certainly feel him searching and working through the eternal questions everyone has to encounter at some point: Does God exist, and what do you do with Jesus Christ?”

In the podcast, creative director Ethan Nicolle did ask: “To make this ‘church,’ we’re wondering if you could do us a quick solid and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?”

After an awkward pause, and some laughter, Musk took the question seriously.

“There’s great wisdom in the teachings of Jesus, and I agree with those teachings. Things like ‘turn the other cheek’ are very important, as opposed to ‘an eye for an eye,” said Musk.

“Forgiveness, you know, is important and treating people as you would wish to be treated,” added Musk. “Love thy neighbor as thyself. Very important. ... But hey, if Jesus is saving people ... I won’t stand in his way. Sure, I’ll be saved. Why not?”

At the very end, Musk described his confusion as a 5-year-old, receiving Holy Communion without understanding what was happening and why. At that stage, he said, he was still asking basic Bible questions, “like how Jesus fed the crowd with five loaves and three fish. ... Where did the fish and the bread come from?

“They left out the details. ... I’m not saying that I know all the answers.”

Terry Mattingly leads GetReligion.org.