At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites, who have no allotment or inheritance of their own, and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand (Deuteronomy 14: 28-29)
In the society, we need authority to organize our life, whether it is in religious, political or commercial sphere. However, most of the times, these leaders manage large group of people from various backgrounds and whom they hardly know and hence it will be expected that as the times pass by, these leaders will be self-oriented and imposing unreasonable demands on their followers.
I have criticized usury in my previous post as I think it is a type of robbery and that is also the reason why I put my money in Islamic bank which generates no interest. Usury necessitates endless economic growth as money supply need to continue expanding for paying debt and it is destructive to environment.
However, tithing is another type of extortion which is even more wicked than usury. Although usury is evil, at least the people who did it are plainly non-religious bankers. However, this extortion is done by quoting holy book of God, the same book who prohibited usury (Leviticus 25: 35-37; Deuteronomy 23: 19), advocating generous giving without expecting return (Luke 6: 35a) and congregation are told that not tithing is a sin!
Until now, I have seen a lot of my friends and professed Christians never examine what have been taught to them critically, whether in their church, university or media, using their own common sense and conscience. Understandably, checking everything what you think is true required boldness to overcome fear of social persecution and convenience. Not many people are willing to do that.
But assuming that these church leaders are right and tithing need to be given (from our gross income before social security, taxes, allowance to parents, etc). Here, I will disclose to you the typical income and expenses for ordinary expatriate like me:
Income: = S$3,500
Social security: 20% * 3,500 = S$ 700
Food expenses = S$ 400
Phone + internet = S$ 70
Electricity = S$ 100
Transport = S$ 100
Personal hygiene = S$ 50
(My dad, mom, step-mom) = S$1000
Rent = S$ 600
Income tax = S$ 20
Miscellaneous = S$ 50
Tithe = S$ 350
Church offering = S$ 40
Total expenditure = S$3,480
So, apparently, I left with only around S$20 permonth which is almost nothing.
Tell me pastor, are you saying I need not to have any cash because tithing???? Do you think that I have no need for emergency fund in case of unemployment or if I am sick???
And do not talk about promotion. Are you my boss, pastor? Do you know that in my company, there is only two managerial layer, the manager and owner and 3 employees? Do you think I will ever be promoted? And do not even talk about need to find the new job, unless you are willing to find the job for me.
So, you see, it is easy for religious elites to talk about important of ‘generousity’ and ‘sacrifice’ when most of them live in luxurious apartment which pay no rent and no obligation to care for 3 parents like me. It is also easy to preach about tithe when you are mid-level managers, gold-collar workers, or business owners who earn more that S$6000 per month.
So, pastor, are you saying that Bangladeshi Christian construction worker who have a wife and a child earning S$2,000 permonth should also do gross tithing????
Right now, it is obvious that this doctrine is scam perpetuated by religious elites as easy way to pay for their luxurious lifestyle. Oh, do not talk about multi-million building project and one-time evangelism to obscure place for couple of days as if it is more effective than befriending and evangelising your neighbors.
However, in case that people are so brain-dead and do not think that this is a scam, let’s take a look at Scriptures. Usually, the favorite verse for these religious leaders is Malachi 3: 9-10. They will not usually dare to say, however, that the material promise accompanying this verse will also be true (Malachi 3: 11-12).
And the ultimate weapon against these religious elites is the verse in the beginning of this post (Deuteronomy 14: 28-29). For interpretation of any scriptural verse should not contradict another verse. Firstly, it is stated that:
– The priesthood should not own any allotment or inheritance (how many pastors do this? Instead, I see many of them have their own house, car, stocks, etc)
– Every three years, all tithes should be released to feed the aliens, fatherless and widows
Since these religious leaders advocate tithing which is Old Testament based, why don’t they also spend all tithes every three years? And why on earth the church is charity organization when it has to impose religious tax like this to their followers?
Because of the thought of not giving tithing is sin and nobody want to sin against God, the church will surely have a lot of money. Was not our Lord himself tell the rich man to sell all his possessions and give it to the poor (and not to the church)?
This is another reason to be critical to elites since most of them have no clue on the struggle of working class