Putting the Almighty to the Test: This Church Will Return Your Donations if You’re Not Rewarded by God in 90 Days

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses Sagebrush Community Church’s recent “Tithing Challenge” where they said they’d return your donations if God didn’t reward you in 90 days:

You can read more about the church’s challenge here.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Rain

    It even says right in the form, “I would like to test God’s faithfulness by accepting the 90-Day Tithing Challenge”. So either they have the Bible translation that says “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord”, which says “tempt” instead of “test”, and they don’t know what the hell it means–or–it is a very clever test in and of itself to check and see who will indeed test the Lord, and then they will yell at them and tell them it was a very clever test and that they are sinners who don’t know how the hell to read the Bible. Or–it is a very clever marketing gimmick and they really couldn’t care less what the Bible says. (Very unlikely since they are Christians.)

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, TOWAN

    someone did the math and discovered that 10% of this church group of the faithful’s income for 9 weeks pays for… something. i’m sure it’s a charitable cause like feeding the poor or clothing the needy that they’re planning to use that money for at the end of the 90 days. right?

    • Mario Strada

      Actually, it’s probably for meth and hookers.

  • Mick

    It’s a pride thing. Regardless of what actually happens, members of the flock will reinterpret events until they can say they were rewarded by god. Hardly any will dare say that god did not reward them.

    • Mario Strada

      Or the priest is going to do it for you.

  • paulalovescats

    “and god does not prove himself faithful….” They’ll argue since you’re still breathing and you house hasn’t burned down, he’s been faithful.

  • OooShiny

    APPLICATION: “…my household will contribute to God…

    * Why does heaven-God need earth-cash?
    * What if God blows my money on Candy Crush boosters and can’t pay me back?
    * What if God doesn’t have exact change? Do coke machines take Godcoin?
    * What if I reeeally need God to pay me in untraceable Bitcoin for reasons my lawyer warned me never to discuss until trial?
    * Will God give me a receipt or should I just pray He doesn’t short me?
    * I don’t trust you circus freaks, so why the hell doesn’t God have Direct Deposit?

    One catch may reside in “God’s faithfulness” being the reward. What does that even mean? Is bible-God sneaking around with Buddhists while Christians are asleep?

    Another catch may be with refund contingency on God’s faithfulness “as a result of my obedience to His Word.” With over 33,000 Christian denominations going all Fight-Club-For-Jesus to be his BFF, there is truly no end to biblical interpretation of “obedience to His Word.”

    However, if any refund request is refused, the church will look like dicks. But if any Christian dares claim out loud that God refused to answer texts and had His Facebook on do-not-disturb, then said Christian will be burned at the stake faster than you can say transubstantiation.

    What will be fascinating is when somebody sues someone over this, requiring proof in court that either god exists or that this tax-exempt house of God is running a pyramid scam.

    Saddle-up kids; this is gonna be one spectacular ride.

    • Artor

      Why does God need a spaceship?

  • Neko

    I’ll go with “kind of evil.”

  • OooShiny

    This is not a meme. This is the actual explanation given when children and adults how to interpret god’s secret messages:

    • Timothy McLean

      I heard that back in…either Sunday School or one of my religion classes in elementary school*, I think. Looking back, I’m kinda annoyed that my past self didn’t see that for the BS it was. Not that I blame him–he’s just a kid!

      *Private Lutheran school. Don’t go primate-excrement-mentally-disturbed about that.

      • OooShiny

        What about going all Chiroptera-excrement-mentally-disturbed?

        Can I do that??


  • Greg G.

    I gave money to God nearly 40 years ago. Will they return that?

  • A3Kr0n

    What does “if God doesn’t not prove himself faithful” mean? To me it sounds the same as “We’re writing complete bullshit right now”. So what’s new?

  • Rationalist1

    Is that money back, with interest?

  • Mario Strada

    Cheap and cruel gimmick.

  • The Other Weirdo

    “But are you sure God didn’t reward you?”
    “Well, now that you mention it, my broken finger was set properly at the hospital and I didn’t even die.”
    “Well, then, I can’t refund your money.”

  • Major Nav

    It does not say reward! Only to prove himself faithful. What is the litmus test for god’s faithfulness?

    Oh, yee of little faith…Why not promise 200%?

  • Gordon Duffy

    I have already won the challenge by not donating. If they really wanted to make this a statement of faith they’d offer double your money back (or more).