Obviously, as an atheist, few religious behaviors make sense to me, but Tithing is especially interesting. Objectively, even if there was a God I can't imagine why he would ever require money... but I do understand that a church needs money to function. However a shared responsibility amongst followers to support the church is distinctly different from a preacher telling the congregation that "all blessings come from sown seeds", which is specifically what I have heard many preachers say. This line of thinking perverts taking money from often poor people even further. The members now are essentially investing money for future returns in the form of "blessings" as though Jesus is also
acting as a holy stock broker. Even more disturbing, already tight for money, people couldn't be more eager to give away the little that they have. I don't know the intentions or beliefs of these pastors but either way I find this methodology to be despicable and dishonest. I sometimes wonder all pastors aren't just intentionally full of BS with intentions to manipulate or if they do indeed believe what they are selling... Anyways, any thoughts on the subject?
I don't deny for a second that religious groups do some good things with their money. It could even be argued reasonably that better PR and marketing raise more money for those good things in the long run.
But the negatives are undeniable too. What a churchgoer views as charity might be far from it in our eyes--donating to creation museums or anti-evolution education lobbies for example.
There was a time when tithes went to funding military action as well. Those days are gone for the Christian faiths, but for Islam it's still a concern. In Saudi Arabia & Pakistan the zakat (Islamic tithing) is collected by the state, and they're not very nice states.