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June 24, 2007

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Why would the world be a much better place if Christians tithed more? There is a fallacy here, tithing doesn't outright make the world a better place, everybody becoming Christian wouldn't make the world a better place, where is that argument? I'm not against tithing or Christianity or saying that some of what these organizations do is good, but the majority of money goes to missionary work rather than solving problems like hunger and such.

Religion has caused more deaths than I can stand. What do you have in common with the terrorists? Religion. Blacks killed with a burning cross, jews killed, irag civil war etc etc etc.

Warren Buffet, Abraham Lincoln, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Thomas Jefferson.....

What do all these great minds have in common? All atheists.

Justin, you're correct that more Christian's tithing doesn't automatically make the world a better place. The point FMF was trying to make was that it would provide enough resources to enable the church to make a difference in those areas.

Tyler, you are incorrect in your assumption that all those men mentioned are atheists. In fact, the only person on that list that might be atheists is Warren Buffet. Now, to be clear, I'm not claiming that the rest were Christians mind you. Just that they weren't atheists.

Whether Theist or Atheist; agnostic or gnostic: tithing, or giving can be viewed as an alternative to taxes as a reallocation of resources. Where as tax money are generally agreed as spent very inefficiently; tithing or other giving are:
A) more efficient, thus greater impact
B) more directed for an intended effect of the giver

Having been an atheist* once and a Christian today; a Christian's view of tithe isn't because God needs it**, but because it's a manner in which Christians discipline ourselves from one set of behavior to another. Whether it's replacing materialism with Charity or replacing hoarding with givings.
*...though more aptly described as apathetic; or one who didn't care
**...from our perspective: God after all did create the world

What I wonder is why a genuine humanistic atheist or agnostic with altruistic tendencies would object to Christian tithing so vehemently?

Bringing the post back to the original question posted on this blog: "What Would Happen If All Christians Tithed/Gave More?"
I would venture to say there might be a less of a need for all the government social programs; and more efficient handling of the resources would mean an even greater impact upon all the social ills of today's society.

Wait a minute? Tithing more efficient? Didn't the Catholic church pay out hundreds of millions for that child molestation scandal? How did tithing help here?

Churches and Government are run by people - all of which have the fallacy of thinking they know what is best for the rest of us. More tithing wouldn't solve any problem on earth today; all it would do is drive up the costs of good everywhere. If church A has money to buy 100 tons of rice to ship to Ethiopia to feed hungry children, then 100 tons of rice has been removed from the US market over to Ethiopia. Less rice means a raise in cost.

All you have to do is look at gas prices to understand how a market work.

Warren Buffett is more accurately described as agnostic.

The money's all His; I don't see why 10% is so much to give back to Him.

Dude, I'm curious as to what you think would be a better way to feed hungry children in Ethopia? Do you think we could the keep markets rates stable if we helped them grow sustainable crops in their own country (if feasible)?

To answer the original question, I think that if Christians tithed more, we could see more of the mentality of the early church (Acts 4), where they all shared and no one's needs went unmet. While there is always the possible for misuse and waste, I think that if more funds were available, groups and organizations could spend less time fighting for/over dollars and more time spreading love, food, and compassion.

MrSmith said:
What I wonder is why a genuine humanistic atheist or agnostic with altruistic tendencies would object to Christian tithing so vehemently?

My response is that as a genuine humanistic atheist with altruistic tendencies I would say that the objection to Christian tithing is two-fold.
Firstly: Much of the money is spent on missionary work - from an atheist point of view, this is wasted.
Secondly: It is not unknown (but very far from universal) for Christians to view themselves as the only people who give money - a sort of 'holier than thou' attitude.

Oh, and in answer to the question, its difficult to know what would happen if all Christians gave more.

On the one hand, money doesn't solve everything and even if there was enough money to solve world hunger (certainly plausible) not all the money would go to this sort of problem.

On the other hand, at least some of the money should generate some overall improvement in the world and that is surely a good thing.

It would certainly be a nice problem to have.

It's interesting to me that people are objecting to the thought of anyone giving more -- whether it be Christians, Jews, Muslims, blacks, whites, asians, men, women, tall people, short people, whoever. Seems to me that if we all gave more than the measly 2-3% Americans give on average, the world would be much better off. Even if the extra giving was wasted (which it wouldn't be) an attitude of giving itself would have great benefits in my opinion.

cami, being a the major cynic that I am, I disagree with this:

"To answer the original question, I think that if Christians tithed more, we could see more of the mentality of the early church (Acts 4), where they all shared and no one's needs went unmet. While there is always the possible for misuse and waste, I think that if more funds were available, groups and organizations could spend less time fighting for/over dollars and more time spreading love, food, and compassion."

My gut tells me that if christians tithed more, we'd just see bigger church gyms, statues, and other building projects. Would we see more generous giving by the church to the needy? Yes, I'm sure we would. But not as a % of the overall church budget, in my opinion. I honestly don't think churches are a very efficient way to give your money to the needy. The overhead is much bigger now than it used to be, as so many churches try to keep up with the Joneses.

It's hard for me to imagine, actually, what churches would do if every member tithed. They would be so soaked in money that I have to think their heads would be spinning on how to use it. Being human, there is little doubt that some (much?) would go to waste, but perhaps a god portion of it would find its way where it needed to go. I'd like to think so, but again . . . I'm a cynic.

I'd like to challenge those who snipe at Christians over the tithing/dogooding thing to work toward giving 10% of their income to poverty causes. Start small, 3% or something, and just increase it every year until 2010. It's not hard.

I heart tithing: I like to think of it as a personal finance challenge. Once you give away 10%, something new can happen-- or at least it did to me. It made me figure out just how much I need, which is a good first step toward figuring out how to give away the rest.

IMO, the best way to give is to find someone in need and give directly to that person. I trust myself to make the determination and giving direct cuts out all the administrative costs that so many charities have!

Now if each one of us could find someone to help, we could make a big difference through our decentralized efforts.

While what you say is true - a lot more could be done if more Christians tithed - I think it's more important to point out that if more people, in general, regardless of their religious beliefs, gave charitably, the world would be a much better place. I think being charitable and giving back is not just a Christian responsibility, but a human one.

Just out of curiosity, how are non-financial contributions counted into the assessment of how much people give to charity? I donate 2% of my net income to three charities of my choice (one local/humanist, one environmental and one religious/political). I plan to contribute more in the future, but am trying to get out of debt right now.

But if I count in physical or time donations (blood donations, for example) does it come out to more? I think it's an interesting angle to look at.

I agree with the idea that the world would be a better place if -everyone- worked toward that goal, whether it manifested in money or time or goods or whatever. I'm a Wiccan, so it's not just Christians who face the tithing/charity question.

Wait a second, wasn't it just reported Americans gave more this last year then they even have before? Doesn't strike me as measely. Could we give more, why yes I suppose we could but then you better damn make sure it's allocated correctly. And that's something I've never been able to trust government to do any better than the individual or respected charities.

An Indian view:

Giving with no expectation is noble thing! But giving to destroy is evil! Unfortunately no religion has caused as much damage as Christianity has done to this world, of course Islam is not far behind. In general monoethistic religions are a danger to humanity.

"When missionaries came to South Africa, we had the land, they had the Bible. Then they told us, 'Let's close our eyes and pray.' When we opened our eyes we saw that we have the Bible, they have the land."

I am an Indian. Here's what's happening in my home.

FMF's last paragraph shocked me!

WHY?

Over seventy years ago, Mahatma Gandhi stated that: “proselytizing under the cloak of humanitarian work is unhealthy, to say the least. It is most resented by people here". The resentment that Gandhi alluded to has increased in India over the years, mostly due to the persistence of religious conversions engineered by Christian evangelists who derive their financial support from foreign sources.

If only the west understands what hell they are creating in the name of harvesting souls!

FMF said:
"Even if the extra giving was wasted (which it wouldn't be) an attitude of giving itself would have great benefits in my opinion."

Now, this is an excellent point. I'm all for everyone giving more - including myself - as it fosters a good attitude. Its up to each person to then try to ensure that the money they give does more good than harm, as I'm sure all the people commenting here do to the best of their abilities.

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