Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Magic Of Tithing

By David Anttony

History of Tithing

The origins of tithing can be found in the Bible, yet many Christians and non-Christians alike, practice some form of tithing today.

Tithe is conventionally a Christian term that signifies the contribution of one tenth of one's earnings as donation to one's Church as a type of Church giving. However, every other religious system has similar practices within itself. In Islam the word used is 'Zakat'. In the Sikh religion of India the name for it is 'Dasvandh' which again signifies setting apart a tenth of one's earnings for pious acts. It was Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru who started the practice. The sacred texts of Hinduism like the Bhagavadgita and the Upanisads state that 'true alms' is that which is given as a part of one's duty in the right place and at the right time to a worthy individual, from whom nothing is expected 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 where the Church of Denmark members have to pay a church tax, which is different in different municipalities. It is commonly about 1% of a person's taxable income. The situation is similar in Finland where members of state churches have to pay a tax which can be anything between 1% and 2.25% of income and these taxes form a part of the common national taxation system.

But still tithing as a confirmed tradition was established only after Exodus. Tithes were routine in the olden days through much of the Near East and also later in Carthage, Lydia, and Arabia.

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.

Present day Tithing

Despite it's origins in the Bible and ancient Christianity, today it is a special way to give every time you receive. Giving EVERY time you receive is such a powerful form of giving because it allows the giver to experience something incredibly powerful - more on that later.

Let us have a little more of history. Malachi 3:10 is the section of the Bible that Christians hold in importance when they deliberate on tithing. Many Christians do tithe to their church as they feel that they are duty bound to do as per the rules of the Bible. Many Churches have all throughout maintained that their members should tithe to the church to help it conduct its activities. The core of giving is its voluntary nature and its delightful experience, without which it does not get its ideal effect - if in fact you are hoping to create an ideal effect by giving.

Controversy about Tithing

Tithing has often been a contentious topic. The issue whether a Christian should pay tithe is often argued in many Christian congregations.

In an article in Wall Street Journal regarding tithing named 'The Backlash Against Tithing', Suzanne Sataline says, 'As Churches push donations, congregants balk; 'that's not the way God works'.'

Regrettably, the different ideological perspectives, desire to dominate, and a narrow outlook, can lead to a Jekyll and Hyde scenario - the pure goodness of giving being lost in the fog and misinterpretation of religion. In spite of the disputes, tithing is still a fully and marvellously powerful act that any person can do to turn around their lives to face a fuller pathway.

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 powerful?

This is indeed a powerful question because if you just mindlessly follow something without knowing some key background pointers you may be heading in the wrong direction.

If more people who are in the habit of tithing knew exactly why it works when done with the feeling of total giving, then it is likely to make people eager to give even more. And for those who do it intermittently, it could encourage them to give first every time they are in receipt of something.

To analyse the real 'why' of how routine giving leads to more we have to understand something about Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Physics. The laws of these realms vary a lot from that of our own material or Newtonian world.

The movie 'What the Bleep' describes the quantum world through simple examples. The movie segment linked below describes a little about how matter becomes waves and acts like fluids when observed from a quantum physics perspective :

The movie paints the picture of a startling world visible from a quantum space. When a line of electrons is fired through a plate with a cut in it onto a wall - predictably, it would hit the wall straight across the cut in a single line.

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.

Now this is where the quantum experiment gets interesting. With the two slits in place if electrons were fired at the plate we would expect to see two lines to be created on the wall. But guess what - instead a stripped affect appears - an interference pattern is created! This is totally unexpected. Somehow the matter had changed into a wave. You would think that electrons were bouncing off each other creating a wave; so then if you fired the electrons one at a time and then see what happens. The result is the same! This can only happen if the electrons leave as a single particle, splits into a wave of potentials when it hits the plate, passes through both splits and then interferes with itself on the other side of the plate. This is simply amazing - matter behaving like a wave - or solid behaving like a liquid. Maybe the world is different to what we think it is after all!

Despite the apparent 'solidness' of this world that we live in, it would appear that actually we live in a world that is more like a liquid - liquid energy or flux, which behaves like liquids in our physical world. And as we know from simple physics that fluids of a similar nature always come together and those of a dissimilar nature move apart and separate into clear areas of distinction. Oil and water is a simple example of this. Chromatography also shows the effect very graphically when a single substance can separate into its individual substances in clear bands much like how large groups of people split off into smaller groups of similar interest, energy or intention.

The essence of it is that we feel total fulfilment when we give a thing to another. The act of giving, the sense of bliss of it, is the greatest of all gifts. It is wrongly understood that he who is in receipt of the object is the only receiver and people fail to notice that it is the one who gives who is the real recipient. If you're not still convinced, then look at yourself among children and see how fulfilled you become when you give to them whatever their reaction be.

When we appreciate that we are actually giving to ourselves when we give and that we do this because we want to feel satisfied then we have an answer. This answer unlocks the door of cognizance to giving. And when we give again and again the impetus builds up just like a swelling wave that grows larger the more we put in to it with our idea of our bountifulness.

The truth that we feel happy when we gift things alters our power equation fully - we feel good and in that moment we are lovelier to others. Have you ever known a vendor on the street peddling things that we do not want like tissues, which you usually do not buy, but one day you buy and the motive for doing it is just to see that vendor happy and relieved? A similar situation could be seen in relations to buskers playing music at a street corner.

Someone who is joyful exudes a natural attraction that draws others in and in doing so draws in better life experiences. It is simple. They attract to them those who are either wanting to experience that feeling or those who already experience it.

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 if we may turn to quantum physics for our solutions, they are very much there right in front of us. Similar attracts similar - simple. Wherever you look you see this going on. Lions group together with lions, students interact with students, women form groups with women, men makes friends with men, 'poor' likes to be with 'poor' people and 'rich' with 'rich' people. And in the same way - givers prefer the company of givers.

So if you give from a sense of self-reproach then it will only boomerang on you - you will just attract to you like-minded others who have a guilt complex and cannot be contented and delighted. The borderline between remorse and anger is narrow; so people gifting things out of a sense of guilt tend to turn in that direction. Joy is one of the highest of human emotions - and from there one can only turn to love - and that is what all of us are forever searching for.

So when you start giving you are two steps away from love - pretty amazing to think that isn't it. Especially seeing most people are desperately seeking love. Now we know the answer is simple - go get giving! And of course giving money is just a small part of giving - giving in general will create a space of joy for us, no matter how 'small'.

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 share an item with someone - particularly something that we ourselves do not possess in abundance - we are sending a persuasive communication to our own brain that life is trustworthy. When we give something and later analyse the act we are connecting with the trust. The converse of trust is terror. So again, a group of terrified people are not likely to be happy and fine and so no one would find them appealing. On the other hand, a gathering of trustful people would themselves be happy and would attract many others to share their perfection. So finally when we believe the belief gets transformed into happiness and again we are very near to love - the most important thing that all of us are searching for.

So the essence that has been forgotten over the ages is right here today for anyone to connect with simply and easily. My son received a lot of money for Christmas and I asked him what he was going to do with it. He said he was going to save most of it. I asked him how much he was going to give. He had not considered that an option until I shared it with him. What would happen if the first thing we did when we received was to give some away - do you think we would experience more joy

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.

One of the major secrets of transaction based enterprise is that you can partake in the joy of giving so perfectly with all concerned - clients/society - staff - and enterprise. In this scenario customers understand that when they buy something they are also giving though it does not cost them anything other than choosing and shopping with you they feel power of the giving - that is why the traditional CSR - Corporate Social Responsibility, gets transformed into Customer Social Responsibility, with the customer responding perfectly to giving just by appreciating you and have that extra cause, though an elusive one, for preferring to do the shopping with you.

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 commercial transaction, including profitless ventures, can do Buy1GIVE1 transaction-based giving - there are absolutely no prohibition to entering and the business decides most of it. The charity amount per operation starts from just a single cent and rises up to any amount of dollars with each venture choosing his or her own level of donating and giving to help and support completely based upon their business type and productivity. There is absolutely no reason to refuse to donate in this manner when the advantages of giving are so endless. Commercial ventures that are presently giving to a purpose can change very fast and without difficulty to Buy1GIVE1 transaction-based giving while continuing to support the same issue delivering more visible results to their enterprise.

At the end of the day commercialised giving is the current day reincarnation of tithing that is simple and manageable for any person, anywhere. Now that we recognize that it is not about the amount that we give such as a specific percentage, but only about the fact that we are giving that is making all that effect. When we enter the brotherhood of givers we move into a restricted and exclusive world that only those who give can enter. And if you do not begin giving today, you may not 'get' giving and never will till you begin. So get going.

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

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