I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. She used to be a cool person, with an open mind and a surprising intelligence. Well, she has since rediscovered christianity, much to my dismay. It's not that I have anything against christianity per se (I don't really have the time to get into it now), but she mentioned something that appalled me.
It seems that she and her husband pay tithes to their church.
OK, I'll be the first to admit I don't keep abreast of the goings-on of organized religion, but my first reaction was, "Jeez, I had no idea anyone paid tithes anymore." I guess I thought tithes went out with the Puritans or something. Imagine my surprise. She went on to describe how well tithing worked for them. She seems to feel that they have greater financial success when they give 10% of their post-tax income to the church.
Is it just me, or is the idea that you must bribe your god for good financial luck just a bit absurd? I mean, does this just smack of televangelism or what? "Send us $100 a month and god will make your life better." This is the message tithing sends to me.
It's entirely possible that her church is doing great things in her community with the money, like feeding the homeless or reading to shut-ins, or whatever passes for "good works" in the Bible Belt. But it's equally possible that the money goes to lining the church's already fathoms-deep pockets, or buying imported beeswax candles or something.
Tithing just strikes me as wrong. Maybe if it were called something else ... Or maybe if my friend didn't feel as though, if she failed to tithe, that evil financial things would happen to her. (She is convinced of this. I am at a loss.)