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Monday, December 21, 2009

A New Perspective On Tithing

Posted by patrick

By David Anttony

History of Tithing

The beginning of tithing can be seen in the Bible, yet many Christians as well as non-Christians have the habit of doing some type of tithing today.

Tithe is a traditionally a Christian term that means to contribute one tenth of your income to charity or to your Church as a form of Chrch giving. However it has similarities with practices in other religious cultures. In Islam it is called 'Zakat'. In India the Sikh religion also provides for such practice called 'Dasvandh' meaning one-tenth part of income to be devoted for religious purposes. Tenth Master Guru Gobind Singh started this practice. In Classical Indian society the Upanisads and the Bhagavadgita commend 'true alms' given with a sense of duty in a fit place and at a fit time to a deserving person from whom one expects nothing in return.

The origin of the word tithe can be traced to the Hebrew work 'asair' which also means to give one-tenth of a thing, generally an individual's income. Today, tithes, or tithing, is a cash payment and is voluntary in nature. Nevertheless, in certain European countries there is still the provision for enforcing tithing by allowing the church to make it mandatory.

Denmark is a case in point where a church tax is mandatory for members of the Church of Denmark. The tax varies in different municipalities. It is mostly about 1% of the taxable income. And in Finland members of state churches have to pay a church tax ranging between 1% and 2.25% of their earnings and the Church taxes are included into the general national taxation process.

However the practice of regular tithes was not established until after Exodus. Tithes were common throughout the ancient Near East, as well as in later Lydia, Arabia, and Carthage.

The Hebrew custom of giving tithes finds mention in the Bible, starting with the gift from Abraham to Melchizedek, the Canaanite king and priest (Genesis--:20). Tithing was also common in former Lydia, Carthage and Arabia. The practice of tithing was espoused by the early Christian church, and was discussed in councils at Tours in 567 and at Macon in 585. Formal recognition to these was given under Pope Adrian I in 787.

The practice of tithes in some Christian churches is contentious for the reason that it is putting into operation an Old Testament idea to a New Testament establishment (the Church). No proof is available in the New Testament that tithing can be applied to Christians. Actually, it was mandatory only for Jews living in the promised land to pay the tithe even according to the Old Testament, as it was in practice a form of income tax that was necessary to help not only the government of the then Israel, but also the shrines and the priestly class.

Current day Tithing

In spite of its origins in the Bible and olden day Christianity, nowadays it is a perfect way to give every time you get something. Giving EVERY time you get things is such a perfectly beautiful form of giving as it allows the giver to feel in fullness something indescribably powerful - more on that afterwards.

But back to a bit of history. Malachi 3:10 is the part of the Bible that Christians relate to when they talk about tithing. Many Christians tithe to their church because they feel it is their given duty by the Bible to do so. Many Churches now and in the past insist that their members tithe to the church to sustain its activities. In essence though, unless giving is done from free will and a with joyful focus, it does not achieve its greatest result - if in fact you ever want to create a direct result by giving.

Disagreements about Tithing

Tithing has often been a disputed issue. The subject of should a Christian pay tithe is often brought up in many Christian get-togethers.

In a Wall Street Journal article about tithing titled 'The Backlash Against Tithing', Suzanne Sataline writes, 'As Churches push donations, congregants balk; 'that's not the way God works'.'

Unfortunately, the potent mix of ideology, power equations, and a narrow perspective, can often give rise to a Jekyll and Hyde situation - the perfection of giving being lost in the mishmash and mix-up of mysticism. Despite the conflict, tithing is still a complete and amazingly forceful action that anyone can carry on to turn their lives around to come face to face with a more plentiful direction.

For those who are interested in finding out more about a Christian perspective in tithing there are plenty of materials to go through. For those who are keen on knowing the reason WHY tithing is so compelling, what follows will be useful.

Why is Tithing so amazing?

This is indeed a very forceful question because if you just heedlessly take a certain path without considering what the whole process entails you may be advancing on the wrong road.

If more of the people who do regularly practice tithing knew exactly why tithing is effective when done in the full spirit of a perfect gift, then it could possibly release a better yearning to give even more. And for those who give not on a regular basis, it could motivate them to give every time they get something.

To look at the real 'why' of how regular giving creates more we have to move into the world of Quantum Physics and Quantum Mechanics. The laws in this world are not the same as in our physical or Newtonian world.

The film 'What the Bleep' explains the quantum world through examples that can be understood by the layman. The link below explains things about how matter turns into waves and acts like fluids when viewed through a quantum physics lens:

The movie describes an amazing world viewed from a quantum space. When a beam of electrons is fired through a plate with a slit in it onto a wall - as you would expect, it would it within a single line on the wall straight opposite the slit.

If the same experiment is done using an energy wave that has the properties of a water wave, again one can get an expected outcome. As the surge hits the plate the tendency for the wave is to ricochet but still because of the cut, some parts of the wave goes in through that cut. Emerging from the cut, the wave spreads out in an arched way, thus resulting in a new wave more or less similar to the old wave. It is exactly like the experiments one would have done in smaller classes regarding the behaviour of waves. It hits the wall opposite with a lot of force at the point just opposite the cut and hits with lesser strength all around the wall. This is just like the pattern the electrons create.

If we created one more opening in the plate, again the upshot would not be totally unexpected while experimenting a wave - two smaller waves would be formed through the openings and when the waves come into contact, they would dissolve each other and make an intervention pattern. Many waves would now strike the wall across, giving a stripped effect. These are standard patterns of wave behaviour and so there is nothing unexpected in the result.

Here is where the whole experiment takes on an entirely different direction. When electrons are sent through the two cuts in the plate, what should ordinarily result are two lines in the wall opposite. On the contrary what one sees is a stripped appearance with an intersecting pattern. This is unbelievable. The matter seems to have been turned into a wave. We can perhaps imagine that electrons were hitting against each other and ricocheting and causing a wave pattern; so if electrons are sent across separately the result should be different. But it is not, it is the same. The explanation has to be that the electron leaves as a single particle, and splits into a wave on collision with the plate, then goes across through the cuts and intervenes with itself after that on the other side. This idea of solid having fluid properties -or mattering acting like a wave - is totally surprising. The world is much more than we understand it to be.

Though the world that we live in appears to be hard and solid, it is perhaps possible that in reality we are living in a place that has more properties of a fluid - liquid energy or persistent movement of a fluid, which reacts more like the fluids in our material world. According to the rules of physics, similar fluids have a tendency to congregate, while those with dissimilar properties tend to diverge and remain separate. A typical example of this is oil and water. Chromatography explains how a single substance can break up into its individual components in clear bands the way groups of people break up into smaller ones with common interests, potencies or aims.

The secret of it all is that when we give we feel delighted and know utmost joy. As a donor we get the best of gifts, which is the gift of contentment. Often we think that it is the one who gets a gift that gets the thing and thus overlook the fact that the giver is the real getter. If anybody is in doubt about this equation, then look at yourself with kids around and observe how intently you feel when you give to them and how much you enjoy irrespective of how they respond.

When we understand that we are first giving to ourselves when we give and that we do this because we want to feel joy then we have a key. This key unlocks the door of understanding to giving. And when we give repeatedly the momentum builds up just like a wave getting bigger and bigger the more we add to it with our giving.

The fact that we feel joyful when we give changes our energy literally - we feel better and in that moment we are more attractive to other people. Have you experienced someone on the street selling something that you don't want such as tissues and normally you do not buy, but one day you do and the only reason why is because the person is happy and smiling? You may have experienced the same with buskers playing music on the street.

A happy person exudes a natural warmth that attracts others to him and in doing so he becomes rich in life's lessons. It is so easy. They draw to them those who have never known that sensation and so want to feel it, or even those who have fully known the pleasures of that feeling.

Exactly like water and oil, those who give and those who do not give are compartmentalised in different groups. And the ideal place where one can receive something is there where givers congregate! But you can remain in that group only as long as you gift things! Givers enjoy giving to others who give.

So even though we can run to quantum physics for our answers, they also lie right in front of our face. Like attracts like - simple. Everywhere you look you see this happening. Lions hand out with lions, students hang out with students, women hang out with women, guys hang out with guys, 'poor' people hang out with 'poor' people and 'rich' people hang out with 'rich' people. And yes - givers hang out with givers.

So those who give out of remorse cannot benefit from it - it will only help in attracting to him others with similar guilt complexes who are not able to sense joy or ecstasy. Guilt is very close to anger in the ladder of negative emotions; for those who give out of a sense of self-reproach anger might be their next step in understanding things. Joy is very near the pinnacle of human sensations - you can graduate from there only to love - something that everyone is trying to do.

When a person starts giving he is just a couple of steps away from love - rather surprising to realize that isn't it. Particularly because most people are frantically searching for love. Now we know the answer is straightforward -start giving! And giving money is not the beginning and end of it, it is only a small part of giving - it will generate a niche of joy for us, however small what is given.

There is also a mental aspect to giving steadily. Even though at first this facet of it may not seem related to the feeling of happiness - in the end it right away brings us into contact with the supreme experience of joy.

When we gift a thing - especially a thing which is definitely not in surplus in our lives, we are sending a strong message to ourselves that life is reliable. When we have accomplished the act of giving and afterwards see that act in retrospect we understand that we can form a perfect relationship with that reliability. The opposite of reliability is fright. A group of frightened people are unlikely to be happy and delighted and so will not be able to attract any one. On the contrary, a group of reliable people would be contented and so would be quite appealing to those who are seeking such enriching experiences. At the end of the day, when reliability gets transformed into delight and again we find ourselves very close to that which we yearn most - love.

The sum and substance of what has been ignored for years is fully in front of us for anyone to bond with in finely. For Christmas my son got a good amount of money. I queried him as to what he planned to do with all that money. He replied that he wanted to set aside almost whole of it. Then I enquired how much of it he would like to give to someone. It was something that he had not even taken into account until I introduced the idea. What would be the result if upon receiving anything our first consideration was to give away part of it - do you think we would know delight in abundance?

Transaction based giving - or transaction based philanthropy

This takes us to the force of transactional giving. Many enterprises give when they have enough of money to give. When they do not have much they do not prefer to give. So their possible levels of joy fluctuate depending upon market variations - they do not have any restraint. But whoever gives EVERY time they get something is in charge and has their relationship with perfect joy forever.

Transactional giving rather than single payments is connected with the ups and downs of profit so it is an easy way of giving. The rule is that whenever you get something you give proportionately - easy. If you have a bad season you might give, but less depending on sales. And when business is better one can give more.

A key factor of transaction based venture is that a person can celebrate the joy of giving mutually with everyone involved - clientele/commune - personnel - and venture itself. A customer knows that when he buys from a business he is giving without having to expend anything other than the time to select and buy from that outlet he experiences the power of giving - reason for the conventional CSR - Corporate Social Responsibility, to change instantly to Customer Social Responsibility, with the ability of the customer to effectively respond to the sharing by valuing the venture and have that added sensitive though subtle reason, for opting to do business with the venture.

Your personnel will also be able to partake in the happiness of giving as every time they manage to close a sale, they realise that they have managed to give something to a needy person. This is an extremely satisfying experience especially in a team as it can get converted into motivating the team and encouraging the staff.

Any business, including startups with no profit, can do Buy1GIVE1 transaction-based giving - there literally are no barriers to entry and the business controls everything. The contribution amount per transaction starts from just one cent and goes up to thousands of dollars with each business choosing their own level of giving and charity cause project to support depending on their business type and profitability. There is simply no reason not to give this way when the benefits of giving are so numerous. Businesses who are currently giving to a cause can usually convert very quickly and easily to Buy1GIVE1 transaction-based giving while still supporting the same cause providing extra tangible benefits to the business.

When the game is over business -based giving is a present day form of tithing that is practical and possible for anyone, at any place. Now that we realise that it is not about the actual money that we give such as a tenth of the income, but only the fact that we are gifting it that makes the change. When we enter the fraternity of donors we move into a special and fortunate world that only those who give to others are allowed to enter. And unless you start giving today itself, you just may not start doing it and might never will till you start. So begin today.

'We're not here to gift in order 'to take.' We want more to be able to give more.

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