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Author Topic: Paganism and Tithing  (Read 2497 times)

TisiphoneSeraph

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Paganism and Tithing
« on: August 05, 2012, 02:24:06 am »
I was wondering if anyone here ever set aside money for tithing. Either for pagan organizations, non-traditional churches, or charities in your deities names.

I know it's mostly a Christian concept, though to be fair the idea is in a lot of other religions just in different forms, but I wondered if it was something some pagans might feel compelled to do to. Maybe with a different motivation or a different spin.

So do you tithe?

If so how and why?

If not, why?
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wadjet

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Re: Paganism and Tithing
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2012, 09:28:32 am »
Quote from: TisiphoneSeraph;67322
I was wondering if anyone here ever set aside money for tithing. Either for pagan organizations, non-traditional churches, or charities in your deities names.

I know it's mostly a Christian concept, though to be fair the idea is in a lot of other religions just in different forms, but I wondered if it was something some pagans might feel compelled to do to. Maybe with a different motivation or a different spin.

So do you tithe?

If so how and why?

If not, why?

 
Recently I've been looking for a place to volunteer some time to. (Actually, tomorrow I have an orientation for the Audubon Society.) I sort of consider this a "tithe" of my time, I suppose, in that it is an active representation of my beliefs and a "sacrifice" to my Gods. I don't really have much else to sacrifice.

The trouble I saw with Christian tithing, when I was part of a church, was that it wasn't really a "sacrifice" for people, so therefore it didn't mean anything. It was the whole Cain and Abel story. If you're not giving your best, if you're not actually giving something of importance, there is no meaning to it.

Sooo...I guess my opinion on "tithes" is the same as my opinion of most Jewish Law; it was made for people who needed Rules in place because they wouldn't do it on their own because they didn't Understand. Like "don't eat pork"; it wasn't because it was Evil, it was because it would make you sick, dumdum.

Marilyn/Absentminded

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Re: Paganism and Tithing
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2012, 06:38:55 pm »
Quote from: wadjet;67361
It was the whole Cain and Abel story. If you're not giving your best, if you're not actually giving something of importance, there is no meaning to it.


Funny.  I always took that story as 'they both gave their best but the god they gave it to liked meat better than produce.'
 
I frankly don't care how difficult it is for someone to put a fiver in the collection tin.  The five from the rich person is the same value of money as the five from the poor one, and will do the same amount of good.  I don't see why a contribution has to be a hardship in order to be worthwhile.  Who gives is not even the important part - having the funds to do the work is.  I don't even care about the ethics of the giver (as so many seem to).  They're not giving their ethics, especially with anonymous donations, they are giving a basic tool to be used.

Sure, volunteering at a food bank is visible and laudable and all, but anonymously dropping off a carton or two of food or a cheque is not to be sneered at either.

I do approve of tithing, just not of keeping score.

Absent
« Last Edit: August 05, 2012, 06:40:34 pm by Marilyn/Absentminded »
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monsnoleedra

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Re: Paganism and Tithing
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2012, 06:47:18 pm »
Quote from: TisiphoneSeraph;67322
..So do you tithe?

If so how and why?

If not, why?


NO, I do not tithe as it is not part of my practice.  That said I do make donations to causes I find to be worthy that may or may not be connected to a religious / spiritual aspect.  Donations taking the form of money, goods or manual labor at times, though I admit the labor part has fallen off drastically since I injured my back and spine.

sailor

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Re: Paganism and Tithing
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2012, 10:32:40 pm »
Quote from: TisiphoneSeraph;67322
I was wondering if anyone here ever set aside money for tithing. Either for pagan organizations, non-traditional churches, or charities in your deities names.

I know it's mostly a Christian concept, though to be fair the idea is in a lot of other religions just in different forms, but I wondered if it was something some pagans might feel compelled to do to. Maybe with a different motivation or a different spin.

So do you tithe?

If so how and why?

If not, why?

 
When I was active with ADF followed Isaac Bonewits' suggestion of 2% for ADF.

As to motivation, running an organization that meets outside of one's living room costs money.  You have people writing for information, and at the time, that meant mailing something. Even with a SASE there was the cost of paper. Minor if only a couple of requests, but 2 or 3 cents a page adds up. Same for phone calls, etc.  

Percentage donations, no matter the small amount, at least get people to give. There is a much more limited excuse for "I don't make enough to donate; I'd rather spend money on yarn, on TV, on books, etc".  People can come up with tons of reasons that they are not making enough to donate.  At least if they are donating Something, they remain in the habit of donating money.

And yes, there is a tier society for more main stream organizations. Folks who a good deal of money can often do more good by donating 15% rather than 3 or 4% plus a bunch of time.  That large chunk of extra money helps pay the needed bills that keep the place open. Although donating at least some time is good.

sailor

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Re: Paganism and Tithing
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2012, 10:36:42 pm »
Quote from: Marilyn/Absentminded;67417
Funny.  I always took that story as 'they both gave their best but the god they gave it to liked meat better than produce.'
 
I frankly don't care how difficult it is for someone to put a fiver in the collection tin.  The five from the rich person is the same value of money as the five from the poor one, and will do the same amount of good.  I don't see why a contribution has to be a hardship in order to be worthwhile.  Who gives is not even the important part - having the funds to do the work is.  I don't even care about the ethics of the giver (as so many seem to).  They're not giving their ethics, especially with anonymous donations, they are giving a basic tool to be used.

Sure, volunteering at a food bank is visible and laudable and all, but anonymously dropping off a carton or two of food or a cheque is not to be sneered at either.

I do approve of tithing, just not of keeping score.

Absent

 
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There are eight levels of charity, each greater than the next.

[1] The greatest level, above which there is no greater, is to support a fellow Jew by endowing him with a gift or loan, or entering into a partnership with him, or finding employment for him, in order to strengthen his hand until he need no longer be dependent upon others . . .

[2] A lesser level of charity than this is to give to the poor without knowing to whom one gives, and without the recipient knowing from who he received. For this is performing a mitzvah solely for the sake of Heaven.

wadjet

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Re: Paganism and Tithing
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2012, 08:21:58 am »
Quote from: Marilyn/Absentminded;67417
Funny.  I always took that story as 'they both gave their best but the god they gave it to liked meat better than produce.'


Heh, I actually thought this while I was younger too, and was really uncomfortable with the story, because I didn't understand why God was playing favorites. To be honest, I'm not sure of the proper translation. (I frankly don't trust any English translation of the Bible as I don't speak Hebrew or Greek. Too easy to put a spin on things.)
 
Quote from: Marilyn/Absentminded;67417
I frankly don't care how difficult it is for someone to put a fiver in the collection tin.  The five from the rich person is the same value of money as the five from the poor one, and will do the same amount of good.  I don't see why a contribution has to be a hardship in order to be worthwhile.  Who gives is not even the important part - having the funds to do the work is.  I don't even care about the ethics of the giver (as so many seem to).  They're not giving their ethics, especially with anonymous donations, they are giving a basic tool to be used.

Sure, volunteering at a food bank is visible and laudable and all, but anonymously dropping off a carton or two of food or a cheque is not to be sneered at either.

I do approve of tithing, just not of keeping score.

 
Well, see, this is something I'm both agreeing with and disagreeing with. I totally agree that a score is not to be kept. The score is between you and God (in the Christian case), and is nobody's business. I was actually taught, and it is some piece that I still hold to, that I was generally supposed to HIDE the amount of money and charity I gave to others. Showing it off is bragging. If you genuinely want to help someone, you don't need any recognition at all - in which case, you're right, the amount doesn't matter either.

A feel-good story: shortly after my parents divorced my father was out of work for a time, and was having trouble with bills, of course, and I know we got food from the pantry at the Church. He was always worried about rent. One day we came home and there was a blank envelope on the door - inside was an entire month's rent, cash. No note. Nobody ever took credit.

That's what I mean by sacrifice; I don't mean the visible crap. That's got nothing to do with it. And I don't mean that it has to be a burden on the part of the giver. I just mean that the giving has to MEAN something. Not just an offhanded toss of change at a homeless person, whatever, get out of my way, and forgotten about. And certainly not something done for the sake of looks, or simply because you "should". Giving because you "should" certainly still helps the people the money goes to, but it isn't helping the person who is giving, if you know what I mean.

Faemon

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Re: Paganism and Tithing
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2012, 08:59:33 am »
Quote from: Marilyn/Absentminded;67417
I don't see why a contribution has to be a hardship in order to be worthwhile.  Who gives is not even the important part - having the funds to do the work is.  I don't even care about the ethics of the giver (as so many seem to).  They're not giving their ethics, especially with anonymous donations, they are giving a basic tool to be used.

I think it's just more comfortable for the giver, previously of "the haves", to be able to empathize with the have-nots (who are about to have.) I agree that it's not the difficulty itself.

As for ethics, wow, do I care, because if the giver is not altruistic, it will eventually show. What you take from those types of donors have strings attached. It can be quite difficult to undo or cut those strings without far more suffering than one would have had without the initial donation in the first place. But then, that's from person-to-person, rather than person-to-god, or person-to-person-of-god.

But without organization? Since my spiritual path isn't organized, I give the way I would secularly: an exchange for a service, or for a product, or because I have something that I can give to somebody else who seems to need it or seems able to make more use of it than I could.
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Jezebel

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Re: Paganism and Tithing
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2012, 09:55:42 am »
Quote from: wadjet;67361
Recently I've been looking for a place to volunteer some time to. (Actually, tomorrow I have an orientation for the Audubon Society.) I sort of consider this a "tithe" of my time, I suppose, in that it is an active representation of my beliefs and a "sacrifice" to my Gods. I don't really have much else to sacrifice.

 
^ This. I'm hoping to volunteer my time to the LGBT organisation in my local area, which while giving me something to do will also help some people out. I think of it more as being virtuous rather than 'tithing' my time but it could be both.

I think tithing has a bad image from mainstream religion, with ideas like 'give us your money because we say you must or face divine punishment' sort of thing. I'd want to give money to charity (if I could) for the want of helping people, not for supposedly pleasing my god(s).

RandallS

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Re: Paganism and Tithing
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2012, 09:57:34 am »
Quote from: Marilyn/Absentminded;67417
I frankly don't care how difficult it is for someone to put a fiver in the collection tin.  The five from the rich person is the same value of money as the five from the poor one, and will do the same amount of good.  I don't see why a contribution has to be a hardship in order to be worthwhile.

I don't think it has to be a hardship, but it really isn't considered a sacrifice unless it is. That fiver could a sacrifice to the average at-or-below proverty level person. Probably isn't a sacrifice for the average person and definitely isn't anything close to "sacrifice" for a wealthy person. Donating to a cause doesn't have to a sacrifice to be worthwhile, but if your Gods want sacrifices, that donation really needs to be big enough to "really hurt" or one is only fooling oneself if you consider it a "sacrifice" (instead of just a donation).
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mlr52

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Re: Paganism and Tithing
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2012, 04:39:03 pm »
Quote from: TisiphoneSeraph;67322
I was wondering if anyone here ever set aside money for tithing. Either for pagan organizations, non-traditional churches, or charities in your deities names.

I know it's mostly a Christian concept, though to be fair the idea is in a lot of other religions just in different forms, but I wondered if it was something some pagans might feel compelled to do to. Maybe with a different motivation or a different spin.

So do you tithe?

If so how and why?

If not, why?

 
Over the years I have had problems with giving money to churches.  Especially when there was no reports that the church used the money to help someone, However that the Minister received a new Cadillac every year, and his wife a Mink coat every two years was a sore point with me (he made enough to pay for them himself).  


At the congregation I belong to now, we pledge for the year.  Unpledged money collected during services is split 50/50 with different groups that help people, (each month a different group).  A report is made as to how much was given.  Despite criticism the 50% of unpledged money we collect is greater than the total before the discussion to split it.  Our goal is to be able to give it all away.
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mlr52

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Re: Paganism and Tithing
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2012, 04:46:57 pm »
Quote from: Marilyn/Absentminded;67417

I frankly don't care how difficult it is for someone to put a fiver in the collection tin.  The five from the rich person is the same value of money as the five from the poor one, and will do the same amount of good.


Yes, the money value is the same, but are they giveng becase they are expected to, or are they giving because they want to?  If the former it does not matter, if that latter it is what is in their heart that counts.

 Absent[/QUOTE]
« Last Edit: August 06, 2012, 04:47:43 pm by mlr52 »
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Marilyn/Absentminded

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Re: Paganism and Tithing
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2012, 08:25:36 pm »
Quote from: mlr52;67520
Yes, the money value is the same, but are they giveng becase they are expected to, or are they giving because they want to?  If the former it does not matter, if that latter it is what is in their heart that counts.

 
I don't think it matters in either case.  The value of a donation is the use it can be put to.  Period.  I'm not interested in whether it comes from the heart or the bank account, I don't care if it is a sacrifice or a thrown away bit of change, I don't care if it makes the giver a better person, or salves their conscience for some other act, or is a tribute to their god or way of life.  I care that it can buy equipment and personnel to relocate animals who have found themselves too close to spreading humanity to survive.

There are all kinds of reasons for giving, and all kinds of reasons for not giving.  I'm not about to judge any of them.  I just want the cash. :)  I've been known to corner a room full of Councillors after a public meeting and quite hypocritically convince them that supporting a particular wildlife program will make them famous and guarantee their next election.  I couldn't care less about their election - again, I'm after the cash.

Tithing is pointless without a goal.  If I support the goal, whether it is one of my pet projects (wildlife relocation and a handicap assc. that helps raise the 25% of cost of devices that the government doesn't cover) or a new roof for the church, then I don't care if the giver wants to look big to the neighbours, wants to honour their god, wants a tax write-off, whatever.  Considering the methods I have used to raise money I am hardly in a position to judge the motivations of the people who give it to me.

Also, if I receive a benefice, I don't care if the motivation of the gift is not pure.  I don't think 'clean' money spends any less well than grimy.  The state of people's souls is their own business.  Giving for all the wrong reasons is just as good as giving for the right ones, at least as far as the use the gift is put to goes.

Absent  (never lets ethics get in the way of a good deed)
I smile when I\'m angry.  I cheat and I lie
I do what I have to do to get by
But I know what is wrong, and I know what is right
And I die for the truth in my secret life

   In My Secret Life, L. Cohen

mlr52

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Re: Paganism and Tithing
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2012, 09:18:33 pm »
Quote from: Marilyn/Absentminded;67540
I don't think it matters in either case.  The value of a donation is the use it can be put to.  Period.

 
If I heard you, you are saying the use of the money is what is important, not why it is given.

For me that it is used is important, but why it is given is more important.  I do not give begrudgingly, but from my heart.  Keep in mind if people do not give, there will be no money collected.
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Marilyn/Absentminded

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Re: Paganism and Tithing
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2012, 10:04:21 pm »
Quote from: mlr52;67548
If I heard you, you are saying the use of the money is what is important, not why it is given.

Pretty much.

Quote
For me that it is used is important, but why it is given is more important.  I do not give begrudgingly, but from my heart.  Keep in mind if people do not give, there will be no money collected.

If people do not give, they are irrelevant to my point.  Whether a gift is given begrudgingly or from the giver's heart, the gift is still given.  It's nice to have people who give joyfully, but if they give unwillingly (due to pressure or whatever) the gift is just as important in so far as the use of it is still made possible.

Part of what I do is deity inspired, but I don't think my deity cares about the inner life of the donor either.  He cares about the doing of his work.  (people and their piety isn't really his prime focus).

Absent
« Last Edit: August 06, 2012, 10:05:32 pm by Marilyn/Absentminded »
I smile when I\'m angry.  I cheat and I lie
I do what I have to do to get by
But I know what is wrong, and I know what is right
And I die for the truth in my secret life

   In My Secret Life, L. Cohen

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