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Dutchess_III's avatar

Do other religions, other than Christianity, go about begging for money in the name of (insert religion or God here)?

Asked by Dutchess_III (44092points) 1 month ago

Christianity seems to be mostly about begging for money. Are all religions like that?

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9 Answers

Forever_Free's avatar

All institutional systems must contain a mechanism of capital accumulation to sustain themselves.

While I am far from a scholar on this, here are a few to mention.

Islam: Zakat
Islamic communities sustain themselves through Zakat, giving 2.5% (or ¼0) of a Muslim’s total savings and wealth. Unlike tithing, zakat is a tax on the stock (total wealth) rather than the flow (annual income). Zakat only “triggers” above a minimum amount, called nisab. Unlike tithing, it seems like zakat can be directed more generally, rather than to only the religious institution (zakat should be “paid to the poor, the needy, Zakat collectors, those sympathetic to Islam, to free from slavery, for debt relief, in the cause of Allah and to benefit the stranded traveler”). Like tithing, there is variance across sects: “Shias, unlike Sunnis, traditionally regarded zakat as a private and voluntary decision, and they give zakat to imam-sponsored rather than state-sponsored collectors”. And like tithing, there is variance on how nations “legalize” tithing: “in most Muslim-majority countries, zakat contributions are voluntary, while in a handful (Libya, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen), zakat is mandated and collected by the state.”

Buddhism and Hinduism: Dāna
Buddhist and Hindu communities sustain themselves through Dāna, the “practice of cultivating generosity.” This one seems different from tithing and zakat in that it is more about the mindset, and it doesn’t specify amounts (10% or 2.5%). In Hinduism, the giving seems to be directed more locally: “while dāna is typically given to one person or family, Hinduism also discusses charity or giving aimed at public benefit, sometimes called utsarga.” But in Buddhism, dāna is mostly given to monks: “Dāna is a formal religious act is directed specifically to a monastic or spiritually-developed person.” Based on my little understand, dāna seems “less powerful” than tithing and zakat. How do Buddhist and Hindu temples sustain themselves without a more aggressive version of capital accumulation?
Tithes in Judaism:
The tithe is specifically mentioned in the Books of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The tithe system was organized in a seven-year cycle, the seventh-year corresponding to the Shemittah-cycle in which year tithes were broken-off, and in every third and sixth-year of this cycle the Second tithe replaced with the Poor man’s tithe. These tithes were akin to taxes for the people of Israel and were mandatory, not optional giving. This tithe was distributed locally “within thy gates” (Deuteronomy 14:28) to support the Levites and assist the poor. Every year, Bikkurim, Terumah, Ma’aser Rishon and Terumat Ma’aser were separated from the grain, wine and oil (Deuteronomy 14:22). Initially, the commandment to separate tithes from one’s produce only applied when the entire nation of Israel had settled in the Land of Israel.[1] The Returnees from the Babylonian exile who had resettled the country were a Jewish minority, and who, although they were not obligated to tithe their produce, put themselves under a voluntary bind to do so, and which practice became obligatory upon all.[2]
The first record of tithing in the Bible appears in Genesis 14:20, where Abraham gave tithe to Melchizedek.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Dutchess_III “Christianity seems to be mostly about begging for money.”

While I agree that there are certainly some Christian religious figures with an extreme emphasis on donations (who also happen to own private jets), and I do acknowledge there is a very strong tradition in the church with tithings historically through to today, I think your statement is a bit unfair to the entire faith.

Many Christians sincerely believe that everyone who doesn’t believe what they do will burn and suffer in eternal torment after death. They have a moral compulsion to try to “save” as many people from this ghastly fate as they can.

I also think there are some Christian churches that focus on fellowship, community, and try to share their faith through acts of generosity and kindness. Yes money is necessary if they want to pay the mortgage on their church and engage in charitable acts, but it’s less front-and-center than it is in some other churches.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

I don’t really know, but the Pastor over at the mega church needs a new Lear Jet so he can fly to Vegas, uh, I meant so that he fly fourth and pastor unto his flock. Can’t embarrass us with a poor, low class pastor, would you?

kritiper's avatar

Of course. No entity, religious or otherwise, can function without cash.
Back in the olden days of yore, kings and queens ruled and passed judgment, and that is how they got the money for food and stuff. And if they ran out, they went to visit some of their lieges, and supped at their pantries for a spell before possibly moving on to another liege’s pantry.
The clergy would preach the gospel and that is how they got their money for food and stuff.
It was the poor esne who would labor long and hard to support those upper class do-nothing deadbeats.

KNOWITALL's avatar

No more so than animal rescues or any other charities, but that’s just my experience. I never see churches asking for money here personally.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

May be a tad off topic, but I have to say that the only cleric I ever had true respect for, was a guy my dad knew back in the day. This man was a life long Presbyterian Minister, and he had lived in India in 1946 / 1947, as the British Raj was ending and they were arranging for Partition. During the sectarian riots of 1947, as Hindus in India were killing Muslims, and Muslims in Pakistan, were killing Hindus, this pastor arranged for safe houses on both sides of the new border, where families were fed and sheltered until he could make arrangements to smuggle them to safety in their respective areas. He did this himself, largely at is own expense, and at risk of his own life. I recall my dad was in awe of this man, as was I. I will always hold him in the highest regard. Now THAT is a pastor folks. Not these phony ass “Gospel of Prosperity” ass hats that are so common today. He didn’t do it for money, he did because it was the right thing to do.

JLeslie's avatar

Someone has to pay for the building and the salaries for the clergy.

Many Synagogues charge for tickets for a seat at services on Yom Kippur; the holiest day of the year! Atonement, prayers for the dead, it is a very important day for many Jewish people. I always found that offensive to charge money on that day. Most temples in South Florida did away with it about 25 years ago, I hope that is true in other places.

Don’t most religions have membership dues, or tithing, or pass around a basket for donations, or a place for your dollar to light a candle, or gift shops?

Nothing beats the American televangelists though. They are in a class by themselves, and that they are Christians, but I would not group every Christian group together that’s for sure. So many different Christian sects.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

GA @JLeslie Just one more little thing. about that Pastor friend of my dads. Besides being my ideal of a real Christian, despite the fact I’m non religious myself, he was also funny. I remember one Thanksgiving when dad invited him and his family for Thanksgiving dinner. I was out on the porch with dad, and he told me, think I’ll have a small scotch and water while the ladies are getting our supper ready. He told me, now don’t say anything to Ernie (the pastor) he might take a dim view of alcohol, Tim. Then he sighed, and said, I know you’re hungry, but Ernie will want to say a prayer before we eat, and in my experience that can be real long winded. They go on, and on, and on. So just go with it, ok son? Anyway, I think Ernie may have overheard that, but right before dinner, he winked over at me, then says, let us all bow our heads for a moment of prayer please. I looked over at my dad, and he gave me a look, like, Not one word boy. Anyhow, Ernie says, “The Lord knows we’re grateful. Amen, let’s eat!” LMAO One of the funniest things I think I ever saw.

jca2's avatar

If you learn about the Church of Scientology, you learn all about how much the adherents, especially celebrities, give to them.

Any organized religion needs the bricks and mortar – the property, the facilities, the buildings, the electricity, the heat and air conditioning, the maintenance, the landscaping, the cleaning, the toilet paper, and that all costs money. Where is that coming from?

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