Rather, "Chapter 24 - Are you being willfully ignorant again?"
Imagine hearing this advertisement on the radio one day:
"Hello. My name is Jesus, and I am God. I am the all-powerful creator of the universe. I created everything that you see before you -- the galaxies and stars in the heavens; the oceans, the mountains and the plains of earth; the sun and the moon and the skies; along with every living thing on the planet. I created you personally, and I gave you your unique soul. I created everything!
Mr. Brain, would you actually be convinced by this sort of medium of communication? If you actually heard this radio message, would you (or even any Christians) actually believe it was Jesus coming over the radio waves?
Everything of value on earth I created. I buried thousands of tons of gold in mines around the planet. I placed billions of gallons of oil under the sands in the Middle East. I created the millions of carets of diamonds being mined in South Africa.
And I will answer your prayers. Pray to me for anything and I will hear and answer your prayers. I say it in dozens of places in the Bible, but I like the way I say it in Mark 11:24 the best: "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Anything you need -- money, love, happiness, you name it -- I am here to provide it for you. If you're just tuning in to this refutation, please check my earlier responses to this sort of argumentation.
Now, there is just one thing I need in return. I need your money. See, if anyone actually was convinced beforehand, they wouldn't be anymore. I need lots of your money. The Bible specifies that you send me ten percent of your gross income, but think of that as a starting point. Feel free to give more! When they pass the offering plate at church, be sure to give generously!
Because even though I created the universe and everything in it, and even though I will give you everything you ask for in prayer, I can't give a cent to any church, ever.
So, please give generously at your place of worship today! I thank you for your support!"
Why don't the ministers and deacons of the church gather together every Sunday morning and pray for Jesus to deposit $1,000,000 in gold bars in the offering plate? Why doesn't Jesus answer their prayers? Why do they have to beg for money from mere mortals when there is an immortal, all-powerful God who should provide anything they ask for?
Because, aside from the fact that prayer simply doesn't work like that, money really isn't the point of tithing. The point is for humans to make a sacrifice of what they have and dedicate it to the Lord. The point is for us to show to God that he is worth more to us than our money, seeing as he said to us that "no one can serve two masters." If God merely gave everyone the money so no one would have to tithe, that would not only go against Biblical commandments to tithe, but also would defeat the purpose of it altogether.
Plus, how would the deacons and ministers explain all of this extra money to people who keep an eye on church spending? I feel like the explanation "God did it" wouldn't satisfy many outside observers. And why would any one church need that much money anyway? A million dollars every week? Within a few years, they'd have more money than many corporations. And then, you'd likely accuse them of all sorts of financial misdeeds. And doesn't Jesus talk more about money (usually negatively) than anything else in his entire ministry, based on whats recorded in Scripture?
The reason why Jesus needs lots of your money every Sunday morning should be obvious to you at this point. Jesus doesn't need a cent of my money. Churches do, though. Churches need money to run the air conditioning, keep the electricity on, pay the staff and pastors, feed people at their events, put on events in the first place, donate to missions and other charitable endeavors, etc. This is basic economics, Mr. Brain. Christians don't operate by different economic rules than other people.
If you're really trying to make an argument for the non-existence of God by saying "Well, God doesn't put $1,000,000 in our offering plates every Sunday, so he must not actually exist," then you need to seriously rethink your education.
© P-Dunn's Apologetics 2009. All rights reserved.