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October 25, 2009


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Some people view tithing as a voluntary act, others as a duty, but either way it's difficult to imagine that it's just and good to help others at the suffering and expense of one's own family. This author makes a good point - Charity begins at home -

Tithe or Pay Off Debt - Which One Should You Do First?

Well the Department of Ed thinks I should pay them first, and they have (and are executing) garnishment power, so...

James and Terry,
I think the question is what are you doing other than paying off debt and tithing. If you are in the bottom 20% of earners (around 27,000$/year for a family) I can see cutting back on giving as a wise financial move. For those in the bottom 40%, under 47,000% per family, giving is certainly possible, but it might compete with things that are close to necessities (depending on family size-as a single male, I was able to tithe from an income of 15,000 a year just a five years ago). For those in the top 60%, there are millions of people in the country living on less than 90% of the money you make. I have limited sympathy.

Now I'm an atheist so it should be obvious that I don't tithe. Honestly the concept of tithing bothers me because it seems that for some people it's a bit of a cop out. They gave to their church so they done their "good deed" and don't have to think about it any more (leave aside the guilt and pressure that it sometimes puts on those who can't afford to tithe).

I think charity needs to go deeper than that, to dig your hands in and really do something. While I do give money to charities if I have an option to volunteer I'll do it because it's too easy to just write a check. By volunteering you really see the effects of what you are doing.

The point that was made on reducing charity/tithing because of suffering and expense of ones family is one that intrigues me. I see tithing as a sacrifice by design to see if we will put God first in our lives. If your family is unable to tithe because of the "suffering" of ones family, then put put your house in order! However, I do agree that it does makes sense to put off giving to a charity until your finances are in order (I believe that is why Ramsey has that chapter towards the end of the Total Money Makeover).

I myself have seen way too many blessings come from Tithing that I wouldn't even consider skipping a contribution. And BTW, I think it is just as easy to pay tithe on earnings of $15K a year vs $100K a year (it's only $125 a month vs. $833, assuming paying on the gross)


nothing in what you posted is specific to "tithing" as compared to "giving". Is there any way that tithing is good for you that giving (possibly more than 10%, and not necessarily to the church) isn't?

I'd argue that there's at least one way that giving is better than tithing: by being thoughtful about the amount and recipient of your gift, rather than simply putting a pre-determined amount to a pre-determined recipient, you train yourself to see and meet needs, to act with love and compassion, and in general to be even more like Christ.

FWIW, the Dept of Ed garnishment takes me below poverty level. Even the IRS (when I owed them almost a couple thou on a year's worth of SE tax) didn't take me below poverty.

I am officially Very Low Income, which is defined as under 30 percent of median income for my household size in my area.

I agree with Noadi, why give to something you dont believe in. Religion itself is something great, the institutions that manipulate them to be what they choose are the reason I do not 'believe in religion'.
What really lights a fire under my @ss is the catholic church, and institution that is almost broke due to its executives covering up the fact that they knew about their priests molesting individuals and did nothing about it. Just sickening!

Sorry, tithes go to run various church organizations---but I'd rather spend the $ on my own family.

Why should I support the remodeling or churches to levels better than my own house, church lobbying for political figures who I wouldn't vote for myself, or cover-ups for child molesting priests?

When I give, it's to planned parenthood, united way, or unicef. Churches don't spend on the poor.

+1 what MC said. Also I might add that I have always been told that God has no use whatsoever for mans "Money". The only benefit I see is it building bigger, fancier churches. Not to mention it's ALL tax free! What a Scam churches are.

D and MC

I am with you. I have been all over the world, met people of many different religions, and attended ceremonies of many different faiths.

Obviously there are bad things about nearly all religions, i.e Moslem suicide bombers, and child molesting priests come to mind imediately. Of the most familiar religions the one that bothers me the most is Catholicism. Particularly the irony of the enormous wealth displayed in the Vatican Museum in Rome and the immense amounts of gold and silver displayed in great cathedrals in countries I have visited such as Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Peru and Ecuador. At the same time when visiting some of these great cathedrals the steps leading up to some of them are filled with very pitiful beggars, including mothers and small babies.

Of all the faiths that I have had contact with the one that most impresses me is Buddhism, and the spiritual leader I most admire is the Dalai Lama. Buddhism does not consider itself to be a religion but rather a Way of Life.

I do not have a religion, hence I am not looking to be TRANSFORMED into anything or anyone else (either on earth or anywhere else for that matter) so consequently I do not TITHE.

My favorite charity is a foundation that acquires and preserves open space land for recreational use by the public in the area in which I live.

RJ and MC,
I just wanted to be clear that when I talk about 'tithing' from the pulpit, I make it clear that I don't mean just giving money to the church. I would be worried if people were giving my congregation to the exclusion of the United Way or Unicef. Our church tries to spend 30% of the budget on missions, some on mission workers overseas, some on a local food bank we're associated with, some on peace programs we support in our own community. There is no doubt that churches that spend all their money on bigger fancier buildings and not on those who are in need are sinning. And don't get me started on the morally bankrupt Roman Catholic hierarchy. But Catholic Charities does some amazing work.

An interesting set of opinions, but obviously, with some research a number of these posters would find out how wrong they are. There are a large number of church groups that do incredible amounts of work in serving the poor. As STL Pastor said, Catholic Charities are good example.

I grew up Catholic and never saw any good come from the money my grandparents and parents tithed to the church. Their churches were rebuilt and there were a bunch of gatherings for members, but I do not know if the money ever helped anyone in need.

When I donate, I try to donate my time first. If that is not possible, then I donate our money. I want to ensure that the organization I am supporting is actually getting use out of our donation. That's why I'm a volunteer for the Houston SPCA, a foster parent for PugHearts: Houston Pug Rescue, donate canned goods to the Houston Food Bank, and donate money directly to organizations I am unable to volunteer for but wish to support.

This year, our money has been spread over PugHearts since we stopped fostering for a few months, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Harris County Public Libary, and Houston Public Radio. My Kroger card is set up to donate to the Houston SPCA as well.

So I guess my opinion seems to be anti-tithing but pro donation. I'm not sure if we will ever reach donating 10% of our gross pay, but I hope the months we spend fostering and the hours I donate to the HSPCA count for a bunch too. It seems to lead to similar advantages I've seen listed in pro tithing posts...we feel good, think less about ourselves all the time, and it leads to a closer relationship with our community.

I see countless ways churches accross America have stepped up to serve others. Unfortunately, many people just want to believe just the opposite. For another example, here is the most recent program our church is doing to serve those in need in our local area as well as various global programs:

I do admit that the website address is a very interesting name. However, it goes in hand with the sermon we had on this topic.

Go search out churches in your own area and just ask how they are involved. I think many will be surprised.

You may be interested in this article, which talks about a characteristic that many of the very, very wealthy share -- they say that they become rich by giving.

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