Christians, in an attempt to logically persuade non-believers to believe in God would often default to Pascal’s argument from over 300 years ago which concludes that ‘you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by believing in God; you have everything to lose by not believing.’
We’d like to lend a hand to that argument by using the universal language of the 21st century: MONEY! With a short and extremely simplistic example, we’ll show that given the strict and healthy lifestyle outlined in the bible, there could be financial benefits to becoming a Christian. Be forewarned that our conclusion at the end of this piece didn’t quite serve its purpose but it was still fun to write and we hope you enjoy reading it (even if you were conflicted.)
Once again, let’s use $100k salary as our basis to compare a ‘true’ Christian to an unbeliever. We use $100k salary in the StarvedWallet community as our basis because it’s much easier to dissect (feel free to scale up or down based on your salary.) And please keep in mind that this is a simplistic model with a million other complication possibilities and factors (race, age, gender, location, denomination, etc.) to consider; so I beg thee, hold thy fire and let’s have some interesting conversation around this semi-one sided argument.
First, let’s examine the ‘true’ Christian:
Tithes: $7k – $10k
Tithes should be the FIRST 10% of one’s fruits before Ceaser (the government) gets his. However, some Christians or denominations would argue that it’s 10% of your ‘take home pay’ with taxes and other benefits already deducted. So we’ll allocate a range of $7k to $10k per annum for tithes. Assuming that you do not ‘reap what you sow’ and God does not bless you for being faithful with your tithes as the bible indicates, the $7K-$10k goes in the negative column for the Christian. Statistically speaking, less than 10% of Christians give 10% or more of their income to Christian and charitable causes according to Market Watch so we are overcooking a bit here.
Offerings and Goodwill: $1k – $2.5k
From my experience, a ‘true’ Christian who earns $100k salary would give about $20 – $50 a week as offering and other charitable deeds regardless of attendance records or denomination. This includes Sunday sessions, midweek services and other church related programs throughout the week and season (pastor’s day, thanksgiving, Christmas dinner contributions, building funds, missionary funds, etc.) With 52 Sundays in a year, that’s roughly $1000 to $2,500 annually. For those not entirely sure about how much to give in offering, check out some great advice from Farnoosh Torabi at LearnVest. We could also add other charitable deeds such as giving to the poor, helping those in need, giving your time and other biblical goodwill suggestions, but those would be cancelled out by the fact that a lot ‘non-believers’ also do the same…even the worst of them!
So in a year, ‘true’ Christianity will cost you anywhere from $8k to $12.5k (And for those not at $100K salary, that’s approximately 8% to 13% of your income before taxes.)
Drum roll please….
And now, let’s examine the ‘Non-Christian’:
Tithes & Offerings: $0
Note: There are obviously non-Christian and pretenders who go to church faithfully and even pay tithes and offerings…but we’ll use $0 for the sake of this simplistic model.
Alcohol: $1k – $5K
Christianity does not entirely forbid drinking alcohol (wine is generally acceptable) but it does forbid drinking in excess since your body is the temple of the Lord and must be kept pure and holy. According to Visual Economics, we spend an average of 1% of our income on alcohol or roughly $1K in this case. However, on the extreme side, especially among younger non-believers, that number can get as high as 5% or $5k.
Clubbing: $2k to $10K
It goes without saying that this is something that should never appear on a ‘true’ Christian’s balance sheet. Since we’ve already covered ‘alcohol’ above, this section will mostly account for cover chargers. Business Financial Post estimates that singles spend about 10% of their incomes ‘clubbing’ (probably around 2% for the moderate and non-single clubbers.) So we are looking at a range of $2K to $10k annually which obviously varies based on age, sex, location, etc.
Fornication/Adultery: $1k – $2K
As a Christian, abstinence before marriage prevents you from purchasing condoms and investing in ‘day after’ pills and other methods of contraception….including abortion services in extreme cases (complication is that one can still do all these things and become a ‘true’ Christian on the very last day of the year. Ha!)
2 condoms a day is approximately 700 condoms a year… At $10 for a pack of 5, that’s about $1400/year. And then factoring 1 to 5 ‘Plan B’ pills a year adds an additional $50 to $250 a year (Plan B pills cost about $50 each.)
There are also costs associated with other forms of birth control, STD medication, abortions, etc. We’ll ignore these costs for now since it’s simply asinine to assume that on average “non-Christians” do all these things. There are definitely billions of non-Christians (especially the religious ones) that practice abstinence before marriage and other forms of cautionary behaviors!
We could consider a few other things as well but I believe those are the major things that are easily quantifiable and fair in comparison. So in a year, a non-Christian lifestyle would cost anywhere from $4k to $17K (4% to 18% of your income) with a lot of asterisks!
Now let’s tally:
Christian Lifestyle: $8k to $13k (8% to 13% of income)
Non-Christian: $4k to $17k (4% to 17% of income)
At first glance, it would appear that our hypothesis is not entirely correct. On the lower or rather ‘cleaner’ echelon, a conservative & financially disciplined non-believer would save about 4% more annually than a ‘true’ Christian; in which case, we’d quickly revert back to Pascal’s argument. However, on the upper echelon, the annual cost and risk of being an unbeliever greatly outweighs that of living a Christian lifestyle by 4%. And once you factor in all the intrinsic value of Christianity, Jesus Christ takes the cake! So when in doubt, become a ‘true’ Christian!
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