Take a guess: What percent of all adults tithe? What percent of all adults give 10% or more of their income to a church or non-profit group?
It’s not a huge amount.
Just 5%, according to the latest research by the Barna Group.
Who gives more to churches and/or non-profits?
Among the most generous segments were evangelicals (24% of whom tithed); conservatives (12%); people who had prayed, read the Bible and attended a church service during the past week (12%); charismatic or Pentecostal Christians (11%); and registered Republicans (10%).
Several groups also stood out as highly unlikely to tithe: people under the age of 25, atheists and agnostics, single adults who have never been married, liberals, and downscale adults. One percent or less of the people in each of those segments tithed in 2007.
You can say whatever you want about the guilt factor or coercion used to take peoples’ money in church. Many church-goers give willingly, and many give beyond their means.
And while the Barna wording reads like an insult to those outside the religious world, the study makes a good point.
Atheists don’t give much money to ally organizations. I know this because I work with a couple of them. It’s always a battle to get people to give relatively small amounts of money (for them) that would make a world of difference for the respective groups.
Sure, the atheists may give to other non-profits (not necessarily “atheist” ones) — though the study still shows they don’t give 10% or more of their income.
I don’t tithe. I don’t feel like I’m able to give up that much income at this point in my life. But I at least send in membership dues to organizations I support (Freedom From Religion Foundation, American Atheists, and the American Civil Liberties Union) and more than that to groups that mean a lot to me (Secular Student Alliance).
Maybe you don’t give to those groups. But in that case, why not give money to groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State or the National Center for Science Education? Those groups, like FFRF, are in the courts fighting for religious freedom and real science education.
There are plenty of groups out there that are worth the $30/year (give or take) membership fees. It’s a few bucks a month for the year. Not much at all in the long run.
No one’s going to force you to “tithe” or give anything at all. It’s your own choice. But at least you know your donations would be going to a non-profit you support. I can’t tell you how proud it makes me to have an ACLU membership card in my wallet.
The reason religion has such a stranglehold in this country is because they have the money, and consequently, the influence.
We can help change that by supporting groups who cherish and fight for our values.
If you’re not giving already, I would be glad to tell you why supporting the secular student movement would be worth your while. But if you support any of the several pro-science and non-religious organizations out there, you’d be helping spread the values of Humanism and critical/rational thinking in a country that’s seriously deprived of both.
If any of you give money to these groups — or a different one entirely — feel free to share that information in the comments.
Which group(s) do you support?
How much do you give to them?
Why do you give?
For the younger people out there who are strapped for cash or in school, is it difficult for you to give?
If you don’t give, is there any reason (other than financial issues)?
(via Dallas Morning News)
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