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How much are you willing to Pay for Religion? – Monetarily, Not Symbolically

08 Apr Posted by in Religion | Comments
How much are you willing to Pay for Religion? – Monetarily, Not Symbolically
 
It’s probably blasphemous that I am posting this on Easter, but I’m less likely to be religious in Germany than in the US.

It isn’t just about the language barrier (although I do have a hard enough time remembering all of the Catholic prayers in English let alone trying to learn them in German, which I haven’t even attempted yet).

And it isn’t necessarily about the term “religion” or “religious,” although I do have problems with the stereotypes “religion” conjures.

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I consider myself “spiritual” (I believe in ghosts, don’t I?…kidding, kidding) Not sure I like the “spiritual” imagery any better than “religious.”

Spiritual to me means I believe in a higher entity, but most importantly I believe in treating humans, animals, and our environment right.

I didn’t say I was perfect, and I know I make a lot of mistakes and a lot of jokes, and just like anyone, can lose my temper. But when it comes down to it, my spiritual belief system entails loving people the way they are… Um, or at least trying to love everyone the way they are. Maybe using the word respecting, understanding, realizing that everyone has their own opinion even though I may not always agree.

The main thing is that I don’t believe a religious book that has been translated to and from several languages should be taken literally nor used to justify wars or reasons for hatred. I believe that everyone must make decisions based on what they feel is right for their life at that moment in time. And nobody else can know nor judge what the right choice is, was, or should be.

Please don’t misinterpret my statement about choices to have anything to do with homosexuality; I believe this is a right, from birth and not a choice. And that all adults should be given the same legal rights. Period.

I saw a posting on Facebook that said something to the effect of, “I don’t care who you are, what you look like, or what you believe. If you treat me right, I’ll treat you right.”

Let’s take it a step further… I don’t care how you treat me, I will still treat you right. This doesn’t mean I will let myself be treated like a doormat; I can’t control other people’s actions, but I can control my own.  Or at least I’m supposed to control my own.



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So, the main reason I am less likely to be religious in Germany is the fact that it is a surcharge that costs 8% to 9% of my income tax.

So for the sake of keeping it easy, let’s say I have an annual salary of 100.000€ and my income tax is the highest at 42%. After the 42% is taken out (42.000€), the government calculates 9% of that money (3.780€), and then deducts it from the remaining salary (58.000€ becomes 54.220€) which means I would be paying 315€ per month to the church.

Yikes! Tithes vs. fuel prices? I’d rather pay the fuel prices.

I’m the type of person where if you tell me I have to… or need to do something, I don’t and most times won’t do it. (Not really, I’m a big chicken, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be pissed at the demander while completing whatever it is I have to do).

But if you ask me if I can or will do something, I have absolutely no problem.

Pretty messed up mentality, but kind of makes sense, right? It’s not always what is said, but the way in which it is said.

So telling me I have to give money to the church doesn’t fly by me. In the US, I had no trouble handing over a weekly amount that I deemed worthy in relation to what I made.



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Until a few weeks ago, I still hadn’t officially considered “joining” the church in Germany by government standards because it is so expensive…and well, because of the language I don’t understand what’s going on the last few times I have gone.

Although, come to think of it, most times in the US throughout the Catholic memorized prayers, standing, kneeling, standing, kneeling, sitting…I kind of just go on autopilot anyway. The music is good though.

I know it’s mean to say, but it’s been a long time since I’ve heard a sermon that actually touched me. (Probably not since I was sitting in a Presbyterian Church in high school.)

Now that we are planning Fynn’s baptism, I was basically forced to join the church in Germany.

Apparently the US requires a letter of permission from our local church here, and of course the local church can’t just write a letter if we/I am not an official member.

Gggrrr!

So, a couple weeks ago, I officially joined Germany’s Catholic Church. My only “HA HA” moment was in knowing that I am not working so they can’t garnish… I mean, I don’t have any tithes to give.

Will they garnish Kay’s wages because we are married?… We still aren’t sure of that either, but it sounds like yes, they will. And he isn’t even “in the church.”

And, to top it off, they still pass the offering plates around during mass. Understandably not everyone attending mass is officially registered “in the church,” but for those who are it’s just one more jab at our pocketbooks.

All at once I have these mixed feelings. Well, have had them for awhile.

If I am soooo spiritual, it shouldn’t matter, right? It’s going to a good cause, the church.

Do I honestly feel it is a good cause? I’m still on the fence. If I am giving them money, shouldn’t I be giving it to a cause that believes what I believe?

I’m already going to hell, so all the money in the world can’t buy me out of that one.

But I guess I am made to feel like I am trying to buy my son a place in heaven in paying for his baptism.

This darn Catholic guilt.



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And at what point will I stop being pissed about being forced to give tithes without even so much as a say in how much I want to give?

I really don’t have an official answer on this. Being forced an amount to give isn’t right, but I shouldn’t let that keep me from introducing religion to my son. I have some serious re-evaluating to do here.

I have a sneaking suspicion that there are many Germans who don’t like being forced to pay tithes without a say in how much they would like to give, and as such aren’t “in the church” because of it. This is also probably why the tithes are so high… because only suckers like me are paying.

Well, at least I am not paying…yet.

There are some benefits to being in the church, right? I guess I just need to find out exactly what they are. Maybe I’m missing out on free donuts after mass… um, highly unlikely.



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