I’m often asked why, unlike in other religions, Infinitian churches don’t pass a collection plate for church donations. This perplexes people. After all, giving to the church until it hurts to prove your love of the Gods is the most entrenched, hallowed dogma of our faith.
The answer is simple. Passing the plate is outrageously insensitive. It’s an inhuman way to seek church donations.
We’re usually shameless when it comes to seeking funds to honor and appease the Gods. Considering that there are an infinite number of Gods, we have no other choice. Nonetheless, despite rarely being worried about tact when it comes to soliciting church donations on behalf of the Gods, passing the plate is too heartless for even us. And that’s saying a lot.
Thing about what happens when churches openly pass the plate to collect church donations. People who can’t reasonably afford to give anything might be shamed into dropping what, to them, is a considerable sum into the plate. They do this to avoid being looked down upon by their family, friends and neighbors. Doing so, they may retain their standing in the eyes of the judgmental folk within their community. But their family may end up homeless and starving.
And those who do exercise rational restraint may agonize hideously over the ensuing embarrassment when they are witnessed to be not contributing an equal share toward Gods’ works. Nobody wants to see that. It’s too uncomfortable for others to witness. But, in spite of your best efforts, it’s not always possible to keep poor people out of your sight. So it’s better that they not suffer the mortification in the first place.
Infinitiaty Does Church Donations Differently
That’s why Infinitiaty does things differently. We don’t pass the plate. Instead, we charge rapacious fees for religious icons, indulgences and services that Infinitians must buy. Purchases are usually made online, free from the prying eyes of others. Offline purchases can be made at stores located prominently in Infinitian churches.
Parishioners who cannot afford to pay the quoted fees are encouraged to visit their local clergy in private. Together, the parishioner and clergy member determine the maximum the parishioner can afford to pay without starving. Let’s be clear about what I mean by starvation. I’m not referring to simply avoiding severe hunger pangs. Starvation means starvation. It is nothing less than dying due to a lack of adequate food.
The clergy may allow the parishioner to keep enough money to avoid becoming homelessness. However, this is true only in locales with inclement climates. However, it counts as inclement only if exposure to the elements would be deadly.
The parishioner will be expected to pay the agreed amount. Not a penny more. And certainly not a penny less. If the parishioner and clergy member cannot agree on the appropriate amount, the clergy has the final say.
To avoid embarrassment, the parishioner is given a code. He or she can use that code online to make discounted purchases. That way, no one will know about the hardship-related discount except the parishioner. And the clergy member who authorized it. And the church accountants. And the IT department at the Church of Infinitiaty. And, of course, the church’s tithing enforcement officers.
People who receive this discount are poor. They can’t afford computers. They can’t afford Internet connections. At least, they can’t afford them and still meet their religious commitments. That is, after all, what’s most important. Recognizing this, computers directly connected to the Church’s online store are available for free use in every Infinitian church.
You can also find computers in popular public spaces. Just look for kiosks with signs that say, “Buy here now. Or burn in an infinite number of Hells later.”
Suffering Purifies the Soul
The agonies of hunger are to be welcomed as long as they don’t kill you. Dying is to be avoided. It deprives you of the ability to continue your church donations. However, short of death, self-inflicted suffering for the benefit of the Church purifies your soul. It also validates your devotion to the deities, but that’s somewhat beside the point.
The Infinitian way is, thus, much more humane than ways of many other religions. It teaches people to accept their hunger—even to pursue hunger—as a means of bolstering their piety. And Infinitians are not shamed for their poverty. Instead, they can live in dignity if they follow the ways of our religion. True, their names are openly published. But they are publicly castigated only if they refuse to pay the agreed amount for mandatory religious icons, dispensations and services.
Of course, everyone—rich or poor, healthy or ailing—is encouraged to make donations beyond the fees they pay to the Church. But they are allowed to do so anonymously. This generously allows them to maintain their dignity.
For example, to show solidarity with their less fortunate brethren and sistren—or whatever the proper term is for the womenfolk of our religion—people who can afford to pay more than the posted fees without starving are encouraged to donate the full difference to the Church. In private, of course. Keeping with our tradition of venerating the human dignity of true believers, only people who fail to contribute as much as they possibly can will be openly, extensively and brutally humiliated.
Our approach to church donations is but one of the great many ways that Infinitiaty is way more compassionate than other religions.