Tithing has a long history

It can be traced at least back to Babylonia and had been part of Jewish tradition since the Old Testament was written, with plenty of archeological evidence to back up the written history. The Christian and Islamic traditions both adopted the idea and the even the Sikhs have Daswandh/ਦਸਵੰਧ, which is a 10% given to charity. The 10% number is also pretty Lindy - basically all of the cultures who had a form of tithing converged on it. The word “tithe” literally derives from the old English word for 10th. The point is not to hammer home the religious nature of tithing but to emphasize how widespread and long lasting this idea of giving 10% of your income to those who need it is.

While religion-based tithing has declined along with religion itself, the idea of giving to charity is still alive and well. The effective altruism movement has even brought back the idea of tithing in the form of the Give What We Can movement where people pledge to give 10% of their income.


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