Go players and Jesus Christ

Is there Go players who love Jesus Christ as their personal saviour and lord??
I would like to have those as friends and we can team up as well…

2 Likes

May as well link your group too: https://online-go.com/group/1426

1 Like

10 posts were split to a new topic: Discussion about Christianity and stuff

I found this website of an English-speaking teaching/study group of christians baduk players in Korea.
I do not know if they are active, if they play on OGS… Just in case it can help, here is the link.

3 Likes

Didn’t know there is a group for this , I have bible lessons once a week at school

Matthew 6:1-4 (NASB) “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."

We all know that one shouldn’t announce that they tithe, right? But is that really the case? But here’s the rub: is tithing charity? Clearly this passage makes no secret of how God views announcing one’s charitable giving, but I submit to you that tithing is not charity, and therefore not subject to this admonition.

I am not suggesting that, at least in modern times, any are compelled by any force other than their own conscience and an honest reading of the Bible to tithe, so how then can I say it is not charity: being given as it is of our own free will? Well, to whom is the tithe given? To your local church. What does your local church do with it? Well, likely some of it goes to fund missions, though those may be separate offeratories in many churches, much of it goes to paying upkeep on the property whether that be in the form of rent, repaying a loan, or simply replacing a roof of ailing shingles, and some goes to the pastor to support him and his family. Which of these is charity?

Suppose a website existed, hypothetically, which allowed people to play a millennia-old board game with others across the world, along with many other tangential features. Not only that, suppose that it was available to use free of charge, no strings attached, without even requiring an e-mail address unless you wanted to chat. That’s a pretty good deal! Suppose then, that you could optionally pay an arbitrarily large or small amount per month to support this website which was so kind as to provide you with so much value. That wouldn’t be charity, that would be doing business with a service using a pay-what-you-want model.

So why then, when a church provides, free of charge and with no strings attached, community, weekly sermons, and probably at least 2 or 3 Bible study groups to choose from, and we decide to support that service, do we consider it charity as if it is of any account to us that we are paying for a service which we are using? Is it not, rather, that we would be wrong not to pay for a service which we were using and deriving value from?

I have been thinking about this the past few days and am interested if anyone can offer some counterpoints to this line of reasoning. I have been raised to not talk about tithing for this very reason, and it was just in the past few days that I started questioning if that is actually Biblical. If this is too off-topic, feel free to ask a mod to split the thread, but I’d hate to see this thread just be a bunch of Christians saying “Here!” without anything of real substance happening. :smiley:

1 Like

I think focusing on the definition of charity misses the issue. Matthew 6:1-4 is part of a larger sermon offering guidelines for spiritual practice. It says to be careful not to practice righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. Then it gives three examples of spiritual practices to be done in private: giving to the needy, prayer, and fasting. I don’t see any reason why this list should be exhaustive. From verse 1 the overall message is that we shouldn’t practice piety to be seen and recognized by others. Instead, we should practice piety in the privacy of our homes and hearts and with humility. And as I read Matthew 6, this includes giving in any form.

3 Likes

Definitely agree that Jesus is listing examples of how to and not to practice righteousness.

But is giving to your local church truly righteous, or is it only righteous in the same way that not stealing is? In other words, is it something that is just expected as the right thing to do, and it’s no more bragging to acknowledge it than it would be to “brag” that you’ve never committed murder, or is it something “above and beyond” that should be kept between you and God?

This is an interesting discussion. If you do not mind some thoughts on the matter:

We all know that one shouldn’t announce that they tithe, right? But is that really the case?

Well, originally tithing was a form of taxation, so one could say that it is not really a charity indeed, but do we go around announcing that we pay our taxes or fulfill any of our other social obligations? I’d say that most people do not do that, because there is no reason to do so nor any social setting or conversation that goes along the lines “hey, by the way, I paid my taxes this year”. So, on a more practical level I wanted to ask why do you think that announcing such a thing has value and in what context :slight_smile:

What does your local church do with it? Well, likely some of it goes to fund missions

So, they use your tithes for charity. Ergo, even indirectly, some of it is charity in this case.

If you give money to a friend of yours to distribute it to the poor, are you not really the one that is providing the resources for the charity?

much of it goes to paying upkeep on the property whether that be in the form of rent, repaying a loan, or simply replacing a roof of ailing shingles, and some goes to the pastor to support him and his family. Which of these is charity?

Well, all of them can be, depending on the context. There have been crowdfunding cases for people asking for help and charity for all those categories, so it really depends on context.

If the church is actively asking for the money for “services rendered” as you explain later on, then it is not charity because you are indeed estimating the worth of something that is being provided to you (though I have to admit that I find this point of view a bit too materialistic for a church, but that is a matter of personal preference). If the church is explicitly not charging for its services and has a “contribute what you want, whenever you want” then it most definitely is charity

A person that goes into the service (do note that word, it is not a profession, but a service) of being a preacher/priest/pastor is doing so out of his own personal belief that this is his calling and he wants to serve God and His flock. A person like that cannot really have the attitute of “either pay for my services or I am not performing them” and still proclaim to be representing God, can they ? Because if they can, then suddenly they are gatewaying God by the question “can you afford your pastor or not” and I highly doubt that such a thing is in any way shape or form biblical or even acceptable as a practice.

Now, on a whole different level there are the questions “should we tithe at all?” and “how biblical that practice really is?” because it is mostly an Old Testament idea, but maybe that is not the point of this discussion at all, so I will leave it at that, unless it really is on topic. :slight_smile:

2 Likes

That’s a fair point. If it’s an obligation in some sense, why would it even make sense to announce it. On the other hand, it having or not having value is immaterial to it being morally permissible, no? Like, playing Rock-Paper-Scissors could be argued to have very little value, especially to someone like me who doesn’t like that game, but it’s not a good or bad game, inherently.

Those are both very good points. That is probably the weakest link there. I would agree that charity through a middleman is still charity. And I think most churches do at least some of that with tithes. Does the answer change if we ignore those expenses of a church, though? Admittedly, this is changing the goalposts a bit, but I think thought-provoking discussion is worth it.

Yes, I think all good pastors do it first and foremost because they truly believe that that is the way they can best further God’s kingdom (interpret “kingdom” according to taste; that’s a whole other topic :smiley:). Like, helping impart to people God’s Word, both the parts that make us feel good, and the parts that tell us how we should be living our lives, which may not be how we want to live our lives, is not good business. :smiley: I’m glad they do it, but yeah. The good pastors wouldn’t be good pastors anymore if their first goal was money.

I don’t think any churches that I’ve been to refuse service to people who don’t tithe. My original analogy was to a pay-what-you-want-model. You still get the product regardless of whether or not you pay, but church is one of the only places where deciding to pay would be considered charity and not just giving back to content creators. That seems to very closely parallel what happens at a church.

Now that’s a very interesting question which I’ve thought about before but never really looked that deeply into. As I understand it, it started with Jacob making that promise to God, and then became tradition, like a US pres. only serving 2 terms, but come to think of it, there is the passage where Israel wants a king and Samuel, after talking to God (or maybe it was before?) says (paraphrasing) “A king will take a tithe of your production (using Frederick Bastiat’s term here; yes, I know it’s achronological); he will put you to work building elaborate palaces for him; he will send your sons off to die in battle; why oh why would you even think this is a good idea!??”. So I take it that maybe the tithe was continued as a standard support for the Levites? If so, I’d expect to find it explicitly stated so in Leviticus, and I haven’t checked, so it could be there. I know there was at least one time when God asked the people to bring gold and other things to build the temple (or maybe tabernacle), and eventually had to tell the people to stop bringing stuff because they had more than enough. Is this a precedent for a more variable offering “give what God/the Holy Spirit puts in your heart to give”? Or is this a special case where the people of Israel were giving an offering above and beyond the normal? Also, if the tithe was to support the Levites, does that mean that since we do not have a “priestly caste”, so to speak, that that is evidence for tithing not being strictly applicable to today? Or are pastors close enough to the Levites in this context to make it applicable? I believe that in the early church, tithing wasn’t really a thing, but they all gave to other members of the church who needed it. So I guess applying that model today would encourage meeting at members houses (which some churches actually do), and “tithing” directly to the pastor, with all other charity being considered separate, and perhaps more important, to supporting the church?

This last paragraph is a lot of stream of consciousness, I’d be interested in your thoughts.

1 Like

On the other hand, it having or not having value is immaterial to it being morally permissible, no?

I see. :slight_smile: Then I guess the answer is the same with taxes. It is quite right to divulge the information, if you are asked directly about it, but it is not really of much use if you announce it without any very relevant context.

For example, let us suppose that you are having a conversation with some close friends about your expenses and finances and how you all make ends meed. In that context, adding that expense in the conversation is quite relevant, ergo quite right from any standpoint (moral or otherwise). On the other hand if you are at a party and the conversation is about, let us say, buying a car and you go “well, I could have bought a car, but I prefered to give my money to charity/church” that is quite a different story (I think that it is called a humblebrag in current slang?)

I would agree that charity through a middleman is still charity. And I think most churches do at least some of that with tithes. Does the answer change if we ignore those expenses of a church, though? Admittedly, this is changing the goalposts a bit, but I think thought-provoking discussion is worth it.

No, this is a fair question, but it has a fair answer too.
It does not change anything because actual charities operate like that as well. For example, let us take doctors without frontiers. They send groups of doctors in countries that need help, right? Well, don’t those doctors and staff need to stay somewhere, eat something and have some living expenses (even if we suppose that they are total volunteers that are not getting any monetary compensation for their work/services)? Of course they do. So, if, for example, you are a millionaire and you donate 1.000.000 to the charity then:
A) you are still indirectly doing the charity work since you provide the funds and means to the people that will do it directly
B) you automatically assume that part of your money will go to the running expenses of the organisation, since there is always some overhead in any organised endeavor (the only way to have no expenses and your money going 100% to a charity is by giving that money directly to someone in need, but that is not really efficient in the wider scheme of things)

So, I guess in the same way the doctors are doing charity, but still need to sleep and drink and eat and have some living expenses, like any of us, that stands true for the people in churches.

You still get the product regardless of whether or not you pay, but church is one of the only places where deciding to pay would be considered charity and not just giving back to content creators.

Well, your example with OGS and a lot of other things (like the eternal not-really-40-days-trial of winRAR :innocent: ) are quite similar with the church, but it is seen as “giving back to content creators”, because there is no similar obligation like the ones we mentioned earlier about the priests to “serve” anyone.

The people that made OGS and winRAR or so many other free to use things over the internet, did it for a wide variety of different reasons, but in any church the priest/pastor is expected to be there due to the same reason: Their own faith. If I were to take a guess that would be the reason why this impression you mentioned is created, even though the situations are very similar.

Also, if the tithe was to support the Levites, does that mean that since we do not have a “priestly caste”, so to speak, that that is evidence for tithing not being strictly applicable to today?

I think that this is more or less the crux of the matter. As christians we are not really under the old testament rules and the old testament was more-or-less kept to provide historical context to the divinity of Jesus whose teachings we adhere to, instead of old Israelite holy books.

In that regard tithing belongs in the same list as a lot of things in Leviticus. It is there for historical reasons, but not really a part of Jesus’ message at all. To elaborate a bit:

Due to being Greek and some of the US pastors dabbling with the language due to the New Testament I have come accross that part of youtube where pastors make some of their “linguistic points” and, amongst other things, I have heard some allegations about very unsavory practices about tithing, like some church officials calling the church members at their homes and pressuring them to tithe by telling them to “not rob God of his due” or something similar. Tithing being in the Bible or not, I think that such a behaviour is repulsive for any Christian since Jesus was quite famous for not having money in any regard. Indeed at some points (I can find the passage if needed) Jesus was telling people to abandon their riches, donate them to the poor and follow him. And some churches go around demanding money out of their own flock about something in the Old Testament? That doesn’t sound right at all. If we can have a discussion about whether admitting to tithing is moral or not, think of how far down the moral ladder is calling people and demanding for tithes like a moneylender whose loan payment is overdue.

Anyway, to cut this long post short, as I said, every organisation has expenses and a monetary overhead. That is reasonable, so I think that it is very fair for the believers to support and pay the church finances, but that should be done in a New Testament “pay what you can” basis and not in a “this is demanded of you for king and country” Old testament basis.

P.S.
On a slightly different note, just because in the protestant world the churches are very fragmented, that has created a lot of pressure on them to compete not only theologically, but on “who has the largest flock” and consequently “who has the most tithes” and there seems to be quite the underground turf war going on with pastors attacking one another over trivial things or claiming that they will go to hell or are “unsaved” and/or other unsavory stuff. In that “fight to survive” context maybe the agressive push for people to tithe makes much more sense, but it is still seems reprehensible as a practice when compared to the teachings of Jesus.

2 Likes

This is actually making me question if pay-what-you-want products are actually charity too. Maybe I’m overthinking this trying to reduce these things to their fundamental defining characteristics and thereby losing some of the things that make them different. Because I don’t think pay-what-you-want products are charity, but I do think donating to something like the Gideons (for example) is charity, and if that’s charity, I think you make a good case above that so is tithing, and that really starts to make me question if maybe pay-what-you-want products are charity too. But intuition tells me that the last, at least, isn’t. So what’s the defining characteristic that separates them, if it isn’t the payment model?

So if I understand you correctly, you’re saying that the fundamental difference is the reason behind the actions of them to whom you’re donating? It’s 6:15 in the morning, but I’ll think about that one today and see whether or not I can come up with counterexamples. It seems like a reasonable delineation on the surface, but it also feels a bit arbitrary/inelegant. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong, but neither the reverse.

Yeah, my parents avoided churches that did that when we were searching for churches upon first moving, so I only know of their existence due to extrapolation, since one wouldn’t bother to avoid something that didn’t exist.

Makes sense to me. On the other hand, the OT law, while no longer binding, was often derived from moral principles (by God himself, no less, so I assume he didn’t make a mistake on the derivation :smiley:). And those moral principles didn’t change when Jesus died and rose again. So I guess the question then becomes, is tithing a moral question, or a legal practice to fund the Levites? Is there even a way to know for sure, or is that one of those things on which (as CS Lewis put it) “good men may legitimately disagree”? (not that I necessarily disagree with you here, but it’s tough to know which parts and to what extent the OT applies when the answer, to be a smartass, is obviously “some”. :smiley:

This is actually making me question if pay-what-you-want products are actually charity too

Well, they are, but it is a charity towards us in a way, because it provides something useful without the burden of “I cannot afford it” case, that could exclude people from something very useful (winRAR again is the perfect example here).

On a different note, Humblebundle is also a pay-what-you-want PLUS charity concept, so that might help us distinguish what is charity and what is not. For those that do not know, humblebundle has bundles of things that you can buy that contain tiers. 1 dollar tier, 10-15 dollar tier and a highier tier and once you pay that price you get everything in that tier. Now, if you do pay, there are some sliders that say:

  • How much of your money goes to the content creators
  • How much of your money goes to charity
  • How much of your money goes to humblebundle for providing this service

and if memory serves, you can 100% a bar and give everything to charity, for example, and nothing to humblebundle or the creators, or you can split it evenly or whatever you like. So, in order to answer your question:

So what’s the defining characteristic that separates them, if it isn’t the payment model?

The defining characteristic of a charity is whether something is provided back to the person that gives the money or not.
If you give money to the content creators that is not charity, because you recieved their content for your money, ergo you made a payment.
If you give money to humble bundle that is not charity, because you recieved the result of the site’s services, ergo you made a payment.
If you give money to the charity organisations that are sponsored at that moment that IS charity, because you do NOT recieve anything for your money, but your money are paid by you to benefit someone else ergo you made a donation.

So, that is what separates them :slight_smile:

So if I understand you correctly, you’re saying that the fundamental difference is the reason behind the actions of them to whom you’re donating?

More or less, yes. There are a million reasons to create something and put it on for public use (e.g. you want to create a portfolio for your future employment, you feel like open source is the way of the future, you embrace that “free to play/use” is actually a valid and profitable business model, you were bored and created something useful so you share it for free, you might really believe that sharing is caring to name a few), but there is only one theologically valid reason for becoming a priest/pastor: You wish to serve God and His flock.

So, unlike a service or a product that you recieve for free and you might feel oblidged to “give back to the content creator” because you enjoyed and used his product, a priest/pastor has foregone any such feelings of obligation by volunteering to doing the work. This, de facto, makes most people feel that any money given to a church is like donating to charity because it not really money that pays for a service you receive personally, but money that does for a service that is received by your whole community :slight_smile:

I hope I actually wrote that in a better way now, because usually when I try to explain things, I make them more complicated :roll_eyes:

And those moral principles didn’t change when Jesus died and rose again.

Weeeell, Jesus wasn’t really so keen on taxes and revenge and a lot of other things that are in the Old testament, but are totally absent from the New Testament, so that is a bit debateable.

Over here the Old Testament is being read with a grain of salt - or the whole salt package sometimes :stuck_out_tongue: - because we have the approach that I mentioned earlier. That the OT was mostly for historical reference and that NT is the book that our faith stands on. That OT is for Judaism and that NT is for Christianity and thus the paradox of the different values of those two books is solved here easily. Also, we used to have our own ancient religion and we were very creative with it, so historically we understand that a lot of times a king or a leader would try to legitimise his actions by claiming “divine guidance” as an excuse, so we are really not much into believing that the ancient kings in the OT really had a direct communication with God and His will.

In that regard most people here, me included, have no qualms in brushing off a lot of things that the OT seems to demand or indicate, without giving it a lot of thought. (as you can imagine there are not a lot of “the Bible is 100% perfect” people here either and “sola scriptura” movements like the “KJV Only” that abound in the states seem bizzare here. Yes, with God’s blessing our Greco-Roman ancestors compiled the Bible, but that was 1600+ years ago and the idea of bad translations and human tampering along the way is accepted as a “sad, but true” consequence of entrusting a divine message into fallible human hands :slight_smile: )

So, to cut short my rambling again, the answer is simple :

So I guess the question then becomes, is tithing a moral question, or a legal practice to fund the Levites?

No, taxes are not about morals and yes, it was a law for funding a particular caste that does not really exist in our faith.

Think of it that way: If tithing had anything to do about morality and was divinely required even today, then a church that seeks to receive a tithe should provide proof that this is the one and only church (which is, of course, impossible) and everyone else giving tithes to other churches would have automatically made them immoral. :thinking:

Remember: A lot of the things in the Bible assumes ONE God and ONE church and we no longer have one church, so most of those edicts that make such assumptions unfortunately have lost some of their original value.

Just adding to this—a tithe was not originally for that purpose. It’s not even unique to Israel. It was well known throughout the ancient Near East from at least the 14th century B.C., particularly in Mesopotamia. And in the OT, the first reference to a tithe is the one that Abraham vows to the priest-king Melchizedek (Gn 14:20). Jacob also promised a tithe to God at Bethel (Gn 28:18-22).

I should also highlight that the prophet Amos criticized those who pay tithes (Am 4:4) but don’t exercise justice (Am 5:24), a sentiment that Jesus himself shared (Mt 23:23). Now that I think about it, Jesus’s words on this subject mirror his criticisms of those who give, pray, and fast but don’t act with humility.

2 Likes