It's a BS scheme to get money.
"Jesus is also acting as a holy stock broker"
Amusingly, the tithing religious would lap that phrase right up. I am not sure if tithing is specific to Christianity or not. Ten percent of one's income is a serious consideration if you are strapped for cash. I wonder the reaction if someone were to take from the "plate" rather than leave something?
Giving money to the church, to me, is akin to giving blood to the leech. If the preacher is up front, and asks for donations to help pay the utilities and keep the place in good shape, then big deal. But if, as it usually happens, that he's asking for offerings to god, in exchange for... whatever it is that people think they're getting out of it, then no. That's not only immoral, but disgusting as well. Tithing is just taking it the next step up and basically paying the mafia for protection.
I always considered it to be a tax. In a theocratic dictatorship, Kings rule by by divine right, monastic orders functioned as the civil service of the times. tithing supported the bureaucracy.
Also, I may be mistaken on this but tithes could historically in trade items such as livestock, textiles, grain etc.
All depends on how it is presented.
I've heard churches say "God is asking for your money to test your obedience," which is absolute bullshit, but I have also heard others be honest and say they need the money for rent and upkeep; not mandatory.
In the latter case, I don't have a big issue with it, because it is up to each person to decide whether to give or not (not counting peer pressure).
My thoughts on tithing? Have you seen the Vatican? Gold and polished marble and priceless works of art as far as the eye can see. The Church wrote the bible. The bible says you should give 10% to the Church. Wow, that's a lucky coincidence. The Church is for-profit.
Case in point:
I live in the Katrina zone. After the storm, a lot of catholic churches in the area closed their doors because not enough parishioners were left to make it worthwhile; they had evacuated far and wide. Never mind that the ones who remained were in desperate need of hope and charity, not to mention food and water, and were unable to travel to where there were still churches open. The Church was unwilling to operate at a loss, for the good of the followers who stayed, for even a few months until enough residents could move back to turn a profit again. That makes the Church's true motivation pretty clear to me.
The notion that a typical Catholic parish "turns a profit" I find very amusing. Most suburban parishes live hand-to-mouth, and frequently do not allocate enough money to maintenance. Almost all urban parishes run at a substantial loss, and many rural parishes run at a loss. Functionally, like most charity, wealthier suburban communities and larger donors subsidize urban work, and to some extent rural work. Men and women religious who don't take a personal salary help substantially with the urban work, and with some rural work (like the work on Native American reservations).
Donations within Catholicism typically run about 2% in close-knit ethnic communities, and about 0.5% of income in a typical suburban area, so nowhere near "tithing". Most everyday Catholics consider charitable giving of all sorts, not just to the Church, to be a form of tithing.
I have no idea what happened in New Orleans, but a lot of urban churches across the U.S. are being closed/consolidated. Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, New York I all know personally have engaged in or are engaged in that sort of decision process. Sometimes that's done poorly (Boston, Cleveland). Sometimes it's done well, with a lot of community input (New York is trying right now). I expect it's not a result of Katrina, it's a result of changing demographics and the national shortage of priests.
As to the Vatican's priceless works of art, I think what you're really seeing is just a function of the Vatican's long existence. If you were to successfully invest $1 in something back in 1400, then you'd be quite wealthy by now. Simple banking compound interest would be sufficient.
In the Vatican's case, the works of art are priceless, and the view is that they can't be sold since those things are held in stable patrimony for all humanity. Would you really want Michelangelo's Pieta sold off to a billionaire's private collection?
What about the Bishop of Bling???
What an a** that man was. That wasn't from tithing, though. If I remember correctly, that was partly from tax dollars and partly from private donations. I was delighted when Pope Francis demanded his resignation.
Meanwhile in Germany it was announced that Catholics who did not pay their “Church Tax” would not be entitled to sacraments.....It brings in circa €500 million per annum!!
WTF...the Poope who lives in a palace is pissed because a Bishop wants a nice place to relax after a tough day of hiding pedophiles from the authorities, sounds like a kettle/pot thing.