Tithing Part 1
Okay, I'm going to talk about a very controversial topic in my first new article of the year. It involves tithing and what I believe regarding it. Tithing is giving money to your church.
For most it's very simple, if you go to church and you are obedient you give money. It's a staple of every church on Sunday morning or Saturday(rather Sabbath) if you are Seventh Day Adventist.
Most people never even question why they are giving money. The preacher tells them they should and states that it says so in the bible and of course most would never question their pastor because if they did they would be admonished for doing so always being referred back to scripture.
I'm christian and I go to church but I definitely question it, tithing that is. I can just as easily hand my money to a homeless man on the street. Afterall, isn't that the whole purpose of tithing? I know people reading this will think anyone daring to question religious authority must not be christian or they would never question those in charge namely the pastor. They would be wrong.
But does the bible, rather God, actually command people to give money? Money to the church, that is. My first question is this, what can God do with the money? He doesn't need it and doesn't want it. Money is a man made object used to buy things. Things that God never created. He didn't create cars, computers, appliances, buildings, cell phones, ipods, playstation, toys and all those other gadgets we so heavily rely on to keep our life going in an orderly fashion and keep the kids happy so they stay out of our hair so we can get some work done.
I understand that the pastor and church staff need to be given a salary and the utilities such as power and water have to be paid. There is no getting around this.
In essence however, we are paying someone to translate the bible for us and we don't even know if the person preaching it has any clue as to the real meaning of the scriptures.
Case in point: Our church recently gave us a little booklet that addresses all of the important topics such as marriage, prayer, education, baptism, witnessing, death, Hell, judgment, tithing, spiritualism and many others with references to the bible verses that explain God's meaning.
But how do we know the interpreter is correct?
So here I'm going to address this. The topic being tithing. In Deuteronomy 8:18 it says, "But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day." This is from the King James version. In the New century version it says the power to get rich.
Now where exactly does it say in this passage that getting wealth or getting rich rather(I'll address this in a moment) means giving that wealth to the church? If we pass our wealth on to the church it doesn't make it's way up to God. He has no need for money so why would he instruct us to give part of our salaries to the church?
Granted the church uses some for utilities, salaries, etc and gives some to the rescue missions, soup kitchens, etc to help those less fortunate. But exactly how much do they give to help those less fortunate souls? If you ask your church for an accounting for every single penny that comes into that church and the records that go with it I guarantee you won't get it.
The King James passage referring to wealth to me means the money we accumulate to live. However if it actually means rich and it can be interpreted either way that means the majority of people do not have to tithe since the majority of the population is not rich and has not acquired any wealth whatsoever. In fact many people are living paycheck to paycheck and many are relying on government assistance which is paid out by the taxpayer. Yet it makes no difference to the churches where the money comes from. If it did you would hear phrases such as, "If you are a drug dealer or obtained your money through illegal or immoral means please do not pass it on to us because we do not want it." You will never hear these words. And just because you may not be a criminal doesn't mean how you obtained your money was moral. Another case in point: A shifty car dealer, to make a sale, tricks a poor widow or a single mother into buying a car out of her price range knowing full well that within a few weeks or months she's going to be unable to make those payments and the car will be repossessed and she will be unable to get to work and put food on the table for her children. That may be legal but it is not moral.
If you ask the church about such a scenario they will tell you what he did was a sin but they will continue to take the scheister's money regardless of how he got it. The same with the drug dealer. They will welcome the drug fiend each and every week and treat him like royalty because he donates hundred's and thousand's of dollars to their church. Why" Because they want the money.
On the opposite end of the scope are the people that can barely put food on the table, are out of work and barely surviving but still tithe religiously each week because the church tells them to do so. The church will never tell them to keep it and buy their child a much needed new pair of shoes.
This verse clearly states it is God who gives us the power to obtain wealth and according to the churches we are supposed to give some of our wealth back to the church. This means that even though the drug dealer obtained his wealth through illegal and immoral means it is God who gave him the power to enrich himself and he(the drug dealer) who made his covenant(agreement) to give away his earnings(tithing). Since he can't give it to God the church is the next best thing, according to the church that is.
I still can't get past giving to God. The church is not God. And what about the morality and sin associated with how someone may earn his/her money? Just because a person doesn't get his/her money through illegal means doesn't mean his/her earnings are acceptable and righteous.
1 Tim 6:7 states we brought nothing into this world and we can carry nothing out. Very true. "You can't take it with you" is a very old and wise saying. So this means we must give it all to the church?
In Luke 12:34 it states where your treasure is is where your heart will be also. Treasure meaning riches often forgotten or lost. The Greek thesaurus meaning is treasure store. So if we give our money to the church which we haven't forgotten about our heart will be in that place. With this meaning we could put our riches anywhere and that's where our heart would be. The churches say them because they want your money and will say anything to get it. Whether this is the true meaning is speculative since the verse says nothing about giving to church.
Do we really know what God's meaning is? We hear the word treasure and think money and riches but treasure may refer to things we cannot touch, smell, hear, see, etc such as faith, hope, love. What if that is the true meaning? As a matter of fact I don't believe money is the meaning. Hope and love may not be it but I don't think money is either.
Make no mistake church is a business first. It's also a great place to fellowship and be with friends. But don't make the mistake of thinking that because it is a church they have all the answers and know everything. They want you to believe they do but that's far from the truth.
Some churches are better than others.
One of the things I question and always have is the fact the bible has been translated many times and how much of the original text has been changed? Not out of fault on anyone's part because they simply translated from one language to another.
Many new versions have popped up that tout how much easier it is to read than the original english version. To my knowledge the King James version is the original.
It really doesn't matter which version you read, what's important is to read and think for yourself and not be influenced by what the pastor or other people within the church says. They are, afterall just people who are not infallible. Not everything a pastor says can be safely relied upon and some are not trustworthy. You may think this is not the norm and hopefully it is not but don't let anyone else think for you.
I end part one for now and God Bless!