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I'm Still Tithing


thesadclown
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It seems crazy to me, but my wife (and me since we don't have separate finances) is still giving 10% of our gross income. I haven't brought up the issue with her because she can't handle me not wanting to go to church, never mind preventing her from doing something she feels obligated to do.

 

So, I guess this is my question: Since we have a newborn, my wife goes to the cry room during service, which means that I am the one entrusted with turning in the check for our tithe, can I just not turn it in? I'm guessing many of you will think the dishonesty in this is a bad idea, and I can see that too, but I'd really like to stop this practice since I don't feel we have the money to be doing it anyway. At the very least, I'd like to stop putting in my "share" and let the wife do what she wants with her half (5% of gross).

 

I'd like a more honest approach, but from what I can tell, doing so will only cause me big relational problems and I'll still be paying 10% of my income to the church. That's a lose-lose situation and I don't foresee myself going down that route. I'm having trouble thinking of a different solution outside of the deception vs pay 10% for marital harmony. I've already shown her our budget, hoping she would see the line for tithing on there and figure out that maybe we can do without some of it, but it might as well have been our rent for all she considered it.

 

I'd welcome suggestions if anyone has them. Thanks in advance.

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It sounds like you and your wife could use an improvement in the communications department. If you can't talk honestly about these things with her, how bad will it get when she finds out you're "stealing from god" as she would surely call it?

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I did that for a year after losing my faith. Fortunately, since I was the sole bread winner, when I told my wife that I no longer believed, she was happy to stop tithing right away. I would hope that you could just tell her how you feel and that 5% is what you have decided is fair.

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Tithing isn't even "Christian". It's part of that damned OT "law" that jebus did away with.

 

Or upheld depending upon which NT author you ask.

 

Either way, it was only to go to a levitical priest. Is your pastor a Levite? Didn't think so.

 

Pastors only use that line to maximize profits.

But my wife still does it too, and makes like 75% of our income. I know how bad it sucks. I got her to stop for a while, but she just got a raise and is doing it again. :P

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mcdaddy already beat me to it as I was posting this.

 

Anyway:

Since you're still going to church, which I assume is Bible believing, you're not obligated to give 10% of your income.

You've got several ways to justify not tithing 10%.

Tithing is Old Testament law, which according to New Testament theology (per Paul) is no longer binding.

According to that law, only Levitical priests are allowed to collect tithes.

Christian clergy have no authority to collect tithes as defined in the law of God.

Impersonating a Levitical priest is also a sin.

You're in the clear, your clergy is not.

They're being dishonest if they're claiming you need to tithe 10% to them.

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It sounds like you and your wife could use an improvement in the communications department. If you can't talk honestly about these things with her, how bad will it get when she finds out you're "stealing from god" as she would surely call it?

Yes, we could do with some better communication, but while she is for it in principle, she finds it too unpleasant in practice. Whenever we have discussions that are uncomfortable for her she shuts down and stops talking with me. I think it is because she doesn't know what to do or say and so she just stops. And yes, it would be bad if she caught me, which is why I'm soliciting other ideas.

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Thanks for the suggestions for arguing against the tithe based on the Bible (Centauri and mcdaddy). Unfortunately, my wife has a rather simple approach to her faith, and is more inclined to believe my pastor (who says we should tithe) than consider what theological arguments I could show her. Even if I did prove it to her, she would still probably do it because she feels like it is what she ought to do. I don't think I have a lot of trust capital with her in on this topic, since she will (rightly) say that I'm opposing it because I don't believe in God. When I was still Christian, I think we did have a conversation like this, but she decided to go with the indoctrination she had received from her childhood church and since our current church supports this indoctrination, she has no reason to think otherwise.

 

Edit: Part of the problem is that I even though I made the theological arguments to her, it wasn't that big a deal to me, since Christianity does encourage giving offerings to the church and I was for that (as a Christian) and so what did it matter to me that our particular offering was a certain percentage.

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I did that for a year after losing my faith. Fortunately, since I was the sole bread winner, when I told my wife that I no longer believed, she was happy to stop tithing right away. I would hope that you could just tell her how you feel and that 5% is what you have decided is fair.

I am the "sole bread winner" in our family as well. Unfortunately, my wife hasn't seen the situation (the tithing atheist) the same way yours did. And I am pretty sure I will not be able to tell her how I feel about it and she decides it is fair. She is much more inclined to see it as a godless assault upon her faith. I haven't even gotten her to allow me to stop attending church or even the bible study after service. Of course I could just tell her I'm not doing it any more and stop, but I would rather my wife talk to me and not have to wade through an atmosphere of silent anger every time I go home.

 

Edit: I don't know, maybe I'm being too scared about this and I should just talk to her. Just wish there was some way I could know how the conversation was going to go down before I start it. I've had quite a few negative experiences talking to her about my deconversion and only a few that ended in something approaching what I would call good.

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I did that for a year after losing my faith. Fortunately, since I was the sole bread winner, when I told my wife that I no longer believed, she was happy to stop tithing right away. I would hope that you could just tell her how you feel and that 5% is what you have decided is fair.

I am the "sole bread winner" in our family as well. Unfortunately, my wife hasn't seen the situation (the tithing atheist) the same way yours did. And I am pretty sure I will not be able to tell her how I feel about it and she decides it is fair. She is much more inclined to see it as a godless assault upon her faith. I haven't even gotten her to allow me to stop attending church or even the bible study after service. Of course I could just tell her I'm not doing it any more and stop, but I would rather my wife talk to me and not have to wade through an atmosphere of silent anger every time I go home.

I think it may have to reach a point where you explain how you have felt about this and how hard it has been for you but that you did it for her. Decide what you are still willing to do for her and what you are no longer willing to do. Hopefully she will get over her silence and passive aggression eventually.

 

Have you tried leaving town for a vacation? You both might enjoy a couple of weeks away from the church and environment.

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DONT YOU ROB GOD! Malachi 3:8. thats not your money! thats gods money. you just go to work and slave everyday. lol

 

Im still tithing too. I forget the checkbook on purpose. I would like to bring it up even if we just use her income to do it.

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Don't be deceptive because that tactic will cause far more problems when (not if) your wife finds out.

 

Here's the bottom line with your finances. It's a 50/50 deal. Neither of you control it all to the exclusion of the other. If she wants to give 5 percent away to the church and you can afford it, so be it. But she must understand that she does not have complete control of the money. If she gives 5 percent away, then you have a right in an equal relationship to use 5 percent for whatever purpose you choose. Of course, you must be willing to insist on financial equality for it to work out.

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Though neither of us believe, we still give to World Vision, which is a Christian organization. But they allow kids to practice the local religion that their parents follow. Their primary purpose is to help with food, shelter, and life skills. We also give to doctors without borders and other secular organizations when needed.

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She can give her share where she chooses - and you use yours as you choose. Doctors without Borders is a good charity that is secular and does excellent real work in the real world with that money! Or possibly the charity of ThinkGeek.com or ex-christian.net's network expenses or that urgent need for a 52" 3D TV in TheSadClown's living room.....

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In addition to the other good advice given, maybe you could point out that even some Christian financial advisors say that wives should submit to unbelieving husbands if they don't want to tithe:

 

If the unbelieving spouse is the husband, then the believing wife should submit to his wishes and trust that her submissive attitude will win him to the Lord (1 Pet 3:1-6). Remember it is not the money but the attitude of the heart about which the Lord is most concerned. If wives have made commitments to give and their husbands object to giving, God sees the desire of the wives' hearts to tithe and he will honor that commitment, even though wives honor their husband's wishes. God will bless because of the wife's attitude, not because of giving.

 

http://thegloryland....acts-on-tithing

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Don't be deceptive because that tactic will cause far more problems when (not if) your wife finds out.

 

Here's the bottom line with your finances. It's a 50/50 deal. Neither of you control it all to the exclusion of the other. If she wants to give 5 percent away to the church and you can afford it, so be it. But she must understand that she does not have complete control of the money. If she gives 5 percent away, then you have a right in an equal relationship to use 5 percent for whatever purpose you choose. Of course, you must be willing to insist on financial equality for it to work out.

That sounds rational. Unfortunately, I think she sees it more like she didn't sign up to be married to an atheist husband and so isn't really interested in making compromises on that front. She probably also feels that there are religious obligations that she can't compromise and this too is going to prevent coming to an agreement on the matter. If I try really hard and explain it in a way that sounds completely non-threatening, I can occasionally get her to agree to a general principle of compromise, but it always falls apart when it comes to actually making a move.

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She can give her share where she chooses - and you use yours as you choose. Doctors without Borders is a good charity that is secular and does excellent real work in the real world with that money! Or possibly the charity of ThinkGeek.com or ex-christian.net's network expenses or that urgent need for a 52" 3D TV in TheSadClown's living room.....

I'd be happy using it to plug the hole in our finances. We're sort of leaking money at the moment.

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Don't be deceptive because that tactic will cause far more problems when (not if) your wife finds out.

 

Here's the bottom line with your finances. It's a 50/50 deal. Neither of you control it all to the exclusion of the other. If she wants to give 5 percent away to the church and you can afford it, so be it. But she must understand that she does not have complete control of the money. If she gives 5 percent away, then you have a right in an equal relationship to use 5 percent for whatever purpose you choose. Of course, you must be willing to insist on financial equality for it to work out.

That sounds rational. Unfortunately, I think she sees it more like she didn't sign up to be married to an atheist husband and so isn't really interested in making compromises on that front. She probably also feels that there are religious obligations that she can't compromise and this too is going to prevent coming to an agreement on the matter. If I try really hard and explain it in a way that sounds completely non-threatening, I can occasionally get her to agree to a general principle of compromise, but it always falls apart when it comes to actually making a move.

She is controlling and manipulating you, Sad. It's your call on whether or not you want things to change.

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Don't be deceptive because that tactic will cause far more problems when (not if) your wife finds out.

 

Here's the bottom line with your finances. It's a 50/50 deal. Neither of you control it all to the exclusion of the other. If she wants to give 5 percent away to the church and you can afford it, so be it. But she must understand that she does not have complete control of the money. If she gives 5 percent away, then you have a right in an equal relationship to use 5 percent for whatever purpose you choose. Of course, you must be willing to insist on financial equality for it to work out.

That sounds rational. Unfortunately, I think she sees it more like she didn't sign up to be married to an atheist husband and so isn't really interested in making compromises on that front. She probably also feels that there are religious obligations that she can't compromise and this too is going to prevent coming to an agreement on the matter. If I try really hard and explain it in a way that sounds completely non-threatening, I can occasionally get her to agree to a general principle of compromise, but it always falls apart when it comes to actually making a move.

 

Then she's controlling 100% of your relationship with her rigid approach to what you can believe to be acceptable to her and what you must spend your money on, etc... That can't last. Whether you want it or not, it's going to be something you have to deal with either now or in the future; perhaps after it builds up into a bigger eruption.

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I think you should be honest with her. Money can ruin relationships.

 

If however you plan to take the check and not tell her, I would suggest opening a savings account in your child's name and putting all the money there. If you and your wife are not going to be able to make use of that money, at least let it partially fund your kid's education. The church would never give you that kind of gift. And if your wife finds out, how could she be mad? It's not like you are spending it on strippers.

 

I still say try and work it out honestly though.

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Good luck, TSC. She sounds very rigid, and this doesn't sound like a very promising situation to me. But you're the husband, and if she's at all pretending to be religious, she has to listen to you if you tell her you don't want any of *your* money going to a religion you know is false. If she's earning her own money, good on her, let her spend the surplus wherever she wishes. It's completely unfair of her to demand you spend *your* end of your money where *you* want to spend it. I wonder what else she's doing--or will do--that's unfair to you. I don't think you've done an effective job of communicating with her or of drawing proper boundaries around your rights.

 

Just don't lie. That's going to backfire dramatically. If she's already pissed about you losing your religion, this is just going to add to her "atheists are evil" ammunition box later on, and she sounds like the kind of gal who keeps grudges. I wouldn't want to open that kind of can of worms. Live honestly. And don't neglect your rights here. She doesn't get to ride roughshod over you just because she's upset with you. That's on her. You didn't step on her, did nothing to hurt her, and your decision ultimately has absolutely nothing to do with her. Her reactions to your deconversion AND your tithing, therefore, are her own problem and not yours. Easier said than done, I know. But once you get started refusing to take responsibility for HER reactions to harmless actions, it gets easier as you go along.

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Don't lie. Demand respect as an equal partner, if in fact that's what you are. Don't give in to unreasonable demands just to "keep the peace" in a broken relationship.

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