When my son died in October, I found a few thousand dollars from a fundraiser that was given for him by his friends towards the end of his life. He never had a chance to use it, but had hidden it in a small bag in his closet. Nobody knew that it was there, just me. I pondered what to do with this money…it was raised for Joe by people who wanted to make his life just a little easier.
Now, I could really use a new ATV and I had paid for many of his bills in the preceding months. I had paid for half his funeral costs. I had lost my paycheck for over 8 months to care for him. I could easily justify it to myself that this money should really be MY money if I wanted it to be. But I felt that this money was given for a purpose…and that purpose was not to benefit ME).
So I decided to give the money to a woman who had young kids and whose husband had recently been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. She was struggling financially and I knew that it hurt her when she couldn’t provide her kids with the little things that mean so much to children. I gave it to her in a way that made it very clear that the money was not mine and that it was given to her because I thought that Joe would have approved. I was not interested in her gratefulness or obligation; I just wanted to make her life a little more bearable. The gift was not from me, but was from my son, after his death.
As an atheist, I like to put $ where I think it will do the most good. I do not need a god to instruct me to do this. I will help where I can, when I can.
I could be wrong on this, but this tithing thing…isn’t that a throwback to the times when it fell solely on the churches to financially support the elderly, sick, or poor? Do they do that now to a significant extent? It seems to me that the government has taken over many of the costs that the churches used to use the tithing money for… I just get a bad taste in my mouth when I hear about tithing to an institution that has obvious wealth, no taxes, and seems to be using the bulk of their money to further their own agenda.