I have become a recent devotee of Dave Ramsey, mostly because I have learned the financial lessons he teaches through the school of hard knocks at a wise old age of 50 something. He is a born again Christian, unlike me who was raised atheist and is now a new age spiritualist (as in take what you like from any religion and mix!).
He claims the Bible teaches to tithe 10% of your gross income. Tithing is giving to the church for those of you who are not religious. He claims this unselfish giving is in the Bible to teach us about giving.
I am a very generous person, don’t get me wrong. If anything I often give more than I can afford emotionally, physically or financially. I have to fight these issues with strong boundaries and questions on whether I can afford to give as much as I do and as much as people ask me to give.
However, I have been questioning the intent of the Bible’s original purpose and feel that the intent had little to do with learning to give and more to do with helping the weak in an ever populous world when the Bible was written.
In a larger society that was emerging in Biblical times the old and the sick could fall through the cracks, unlike in a small tribe during hunter gatherer times. Even if God really did help write the Bible, he was guiding a new era of humans 2000 plus years ago and hasn’t updated it for current conditions.
In the old days the church provided the sick, poor, unemployed, fatherless children and elderly with the help it needed. The King did not.
These days our taxes and insurance payments go to pay for those same people and we are REQUIRED to pay WAY more than 10% of our pretax income.
Think about it; we pay 15% of our earnings to the elderly in the US for social security right up front. That money is going to you later, sure (maybe), but right now it is going to support the elderly.
That already is way more than the 10% the Bible encourages us to donate.
Then we have about $11,000 a year per person in medical bills. Sure some of that pays for your own prescriptions and check ups, but about half of that goes to pay for the currently sick right this minute.
Then we pay about $1000 a year in car insurance. Most of that goes for injuries to victims of car accidents.
We also pay 25% or so in taxes to state and fed, depending on your income bracket and where you live. A good 17% of your fed income pays for sickly veterans, again the sick. About 1% of our taxes goes to foreign aid; the less fortunate in other countries.
A good portion of your taxes goes to feed the poor, pay their housing and child care, and on and on. WAY over that 10% that the Bible recommends.
Politically I am left of center and don’t begrudge anyone anything. But to say that we need to pay an ADDITIONAL 10% of our income so that the church can dole it out to even more needy the way it sees fit, seems like giving too much to me, especially if you are struggling to pay bills yourself.
I love you Dave Ramsey, but don’t agree with everything you say.