Our Beggars and Our Tithe Collectors

The result is the accumulation of wealth by "earthly gods of men". And soon, especially as economic situation becomes harsh (which further attract more desperate miracle seekers), they turn it into huge enterprise and their inalienable right to the wealth of their followers and miracle seekers.

Religions fuel empathy and compassion. Loving the neighbours next door and being good to others is one of the preconditions for heavenly rewards and attainment of complete faith..

In exchange for fulfilling these ordinances on earth, devotees  are promised sweet passage to flawless afterlife Garden and fun filled enjoyment in heaven or alternate life after death. Whichever way you look at it, many people give charity to the needy not out of their own volition or compassion but because they desire to reap God's  mercy in return for the favour. Their mentality is such as "I am giving so that I can get multiple rewards on earth or in heaven."

Pastors, Imams, herbalists also contribute deeply into this mentality through multidimensional  angles such as in preaching and prescribing offering, alms or sacrifices as precondition for getting worldly prayers answered. Whether it is giving all to the poor, feeding the villagers by organising a feast, donate your cloth to the needy or putting food at "Orita Meta" etc it is all geared toward activating the principle of reciprocity. This is aside the offerings they are going to offer in church, mosque or shine in form of donation, gift etc to the G(g)ods whether in small letter "g" or the capital.

I believe this act (of giving) was enforced not because the gods are hungry, since they are ones that provide anyway and they don't even need these things. .. The act is to compel us to love each another and to redistribute wealth, yet while showing compassion to those of us who are struggling and remembering that we are, despite our current challenges, still favoured above many. The act was made to enforce humility. And appreciation.

Over the years, however, this has become a cesspool of exploitation and greed. Rather than it bringing compassion, gratitude and sense of duty, it has empowered a selected few above the same ones who badly needed the help. It has nurtured greed among the elites and the privileged few. It has drained humility out of majority of us and replace compassion with pity. People now give out of pity instead of real compassion. Some give just to get poor out of the way. And more disturbing, the beggars have become professional collectors and regarded it as right to be given even when they are richer and more affluent than those collecting. It has turned the concept of compassion in the society upside down

What is more, it has raised a generation of beggars in two extreme classes. The first generation of beggars are the less privileged who are actually challenged and poor or have unenviable background that make life hostile and extremely hard for them. They found a solution to their problems by turning themselves into professional or circumstantial  beggars. Even after making enough money to take care of their needs, they continue to accumulate more and more to a point that some of them become richer than those offering them alms.

The second class belongs to the group I will call custodians of faith. Because they cut across all faiths and I will not want to leave one aside. These group, lavishly preach the need for giving and wrote flowery prose, yet while backing it up with powerful quotations and stories from their holy scribes. The followers believe as they should and for different reasons, they pour their offerings and donation to these gods of men. Trusting them to judiciously distribute the resources according to the dictate of the scripture and the need of gods in exchange for acceptance of their pending prayer and solutions to their personal problems. Even those desperately looking for money are donating money.

The result is the accumulation of wealth by "earthly gods of men". And soon, especially as economic situation becomes harsh (which further attract more desperate miracle seekers), they turn it into huge enterprise and their inalienable right to the wealth of their followers and miracle seekers.

The "earthly gods of men" and the professional beggars share similar traits and attitudes: Both tapped into the need of man to be kind to fellow man and both consider themselves to be entitled to those gifts. They differ however, in their way of operation..the first is foolish and lazy, the second is smart and greedy.

Both want more and more .. The more they receive, the more they crave. The irony is that, both promise the middle group of men more blessings one way of the other while they reap from the desperation of the men in the middle.

The middles want to get richer and go to heaven and hence feel the only way to get it is to please God.. To achieve this, he invested in charity or approaches the scribe for blessings which are not free though they appear to.

Neither of the two are productive. Both the beggars and clergymen are cog in the wheel of our society productivity. They offer miracle and quick alternative to smart work and creative enterprise. They made their givers believe that G(g)od work more quickly through them. They turned their givers into ATM that provide their needs. As these unusual bankers get richer, people become lazier.

There is of course a twist to this. The middle get wiser. Or should I say some of them got wiser and decided to practice compassionate giving without going through the two of them. Above all, religions  are beginning to lose their appeal and everyone including those who still hold religion sacred now have opinion that these collectors are fraud. Funny enough they continue to donate!

What are the implications of these dominate "unconventional bankers" in the society?
Real needy people barely got the help they need in dying times. Kind-hearted people are holding back compassion because they are wary of fake beggars who just use their condition to defraud people. More people are becoming passive about religion. Many no longer practice because the custodians o faith have chosen to denigrate the holy places with greed and moral scandals. It is no longer surprising that people are becoming agnostic or outrightly atheists after watching the frauds in the name of God.

It has been my long time resolution to treat both professional beggars and deceptive clergymen in the same way. I respect their vocation and their right to worship. I recognise that these two men are hurting the real needy and damaging the reputation of the good clergymen who are upright and worth respect. I therefore highlight my attitude toward professional beggars and the cunning clergymen on same way without discrimination. Their right stops when my commonsense is awake.

I remember a day I came across an Imaam who I used to know. He called me and I went to him with perfect respect and honour I would give an elder. Then he launched into prayer  and prayed and prayed and prayed; and I was there on my knee saying amen amen without even hearing what he was saying. When he was through I looked at his face and I was enraged Because of the things I know about him, I silently wonder if God would choose his mouth to hear my supplication. I slide my hand in my pocket as I stood with intend to give some cash. His face brightened and I noticed. Deep inside I was disgusted. . I slowly pull out my hand from the pocket  and with it emerged my ID Card instead of cash. His face changed. I acted as if I didn't notice. I thanked him and I went on my knee in the typical Muslim way and saI'd politely. . I will send someone to you one day. I never get back to him!

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