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Religion: Is gambling a sin?

by Staff Writer
15 Apr 2019 at 08:44hrs | Views
Gambling is a game of chance. It's all about card games, roulette, lotteries, and much more. These games are fun and seemingly harmless. Most believe that there is nothing wrong with gambling as long as it is done legally. But when we talk about religion, is gambling a sin?

The Effects of Gambling

According to Father William Saunders, there are 5 classic rules that gambling follows:
1.    The player should engage in a game with full consent and is knowledgeable of its consequences.

2.    All players should have equal chances of winning.

3.    The game must be played fairly. All possibilities of fraud are forbidden.

4.    The player must be allowed to play freely in the game, but he must also take the risk of losing without hurting others or even himself.

5.    The player should not use gambling as a means of livelihood.

According to a study done by the medical students from Harvard University, 1.29% of the adult population in the US, which is about 2.2 million people, is at risk of being gamblers. From 1999, 37 states in the US and the District of Columbia have been sponsoring lotteries, and 26 of these have already legalized casino gambling. According to the US Department of Commerce, $600 billion is spent on gambling, which is $500 billion more than the $100 billion spent on food.

The kind of addiction that gambling brings has both emotional and spiritual aspects. A gambler's emotions heightened at his wins. He might be depressed at his losses and has a high tendency to gamble again to re-live his winning moment. A spiritual difficulty arises once a person thinks that gambling is the answer to get easy and quick money instead of working hard. A person's emotional and spiritual condition worsens once he starts to incur debt because of his gambling.

Gambling: According to the Bible
There is nothing in the Bible that directly speaks about gambling. However, there are several guides that may be linked to gambling. Also, according to Catechism No. 2404, gambling in itself is not evil in itself. What makes it evil is the principle that comes with it. Gambling's principle is to win at the expense of other people. It is against the Bible's teaching that we should guard ourselves "against all covetousness". (Luke 12:15)

Gaming companies showcase possibilities of winning big jackpot prices but do not say anything about the low chances of winning because these kinds of advertisements entice players to pay to take out huge amounts of money to bet at their casinos. In contrast to the Bible's teaching, gambling increases a person's greed. Being greedy produces dissatisfaction, which makes people discontented with their social and financial standing and eventually brings about anxiety and envy. According to the Bible, "if you love money and wealth, you will never be satisfied with what you have." (Ecclesiastes 5:10) The Bible also reminded that "people who want to be rich fall into all sorts of temptations and traps. They are caught into foolish and harmful desires that drag them down and destroy them." (1 Timothy 6:9) Remember that the root of gambling is greed. Greed is one of the deadliest sins. According to the Bible, everyone is cautioned that "as God's people, don't let it be said that any of you are immoral or greedy." (Ephesians 5:3)

Gambling provokes a person to nurture his love for money, which the Bible says is the root of malignant things. The Bible teaches us that "the love of money causes all kinds of trouble. Some people want money so much that they have given up their faith and cause themselves a lot of pain." (1 Timothy 6:10) The greed for money can easily influence one's way of life. It can control a person's lifestyle, which may cause stress, anxiety, and unfaithfulness to God and his family.

One of the 10 Commandments stated in Book of Exodus says that one should not covet anything that belongs to the other. Moreover, the Bible also encourages to avoid being selfish and to always think of the other person's condition. But, for a gambler, his focus and his desire will always be set on winning, never on losing. From his perspective, his neighbor must lose for him to gain and take profit.

The Bible also warns against acknowledging other gods. In the Old Testament, some Israelites lost their faith in God and began worshipping other gods. According to the Bible, God is displeased with these acts. In gambling, a person tends to worship the god of luck and fortune.

Furthermore, in some countries, the money that the government collects from legalized gambling funds public programs for education, economic developments, housing, and health. Nevertheless, the means of how the money was obtained, which was through gambling, is not changed however it might be used in the end.

Is Gambling a Sin?
Because of the guiding principles found in the Bible, most faithful individuals believe that gambling is sinful. Why?

1. Gambling promotes the following attitudes that are attributed to evil:
  • Greed and discontent
  • Materialism
  • Belief in luck and chance versus reliance on God's blessings
  • Exploitation of resources
  • Laziness instead of working for a livelihood
  • Being lax on conscience for wishing to win at other's expense

2.    Gambling is of no value or worth. According to philosophy, the nature of anything can be identified by what it does and its end result. Internally, gambling produces poor personal practices. Externally, gambling is worse. It is the cause of the following untoward effects:
  • Addiction
  • Crime and poverty
  • Family drift and possible divorce
  • Dishonesty

In Isaiah 65: 11-12, God cautioned his people about being greedy and said, "What will I, the Lord, so if any of you reject me and my holy mountain? What will happen to you for offering food and wine to the gods you call 'good luck' and 'fate'? Your luck will end! I will see to it that you are slaughtered with swords. You refuse to answer when I called out; you paid no attention to my instructions. Instead, you did what I hated, knowing it was wrong."

Millions of people are tempted into giving in to gambling and eventually are enslaved by addiction to this fun and exciting activity. This addiction is observed not only in the US but also in other countries around the world. A famous proverb states that anything that is from greed is not a blessing. (Proverb 20:21) Gambling addicts have caused a huge amount of debts, bankruptcy, joblessness, broken marriages, and destroyed relationships.

What Should a Person Do?
Gambling is very tempting. It is sometimes hard to say no, especially if there is peer pressure or there is a temptation to earn easy money. If you need to be involved in this kind of activity, you should follow certain rules to make sure you will not be addicted to it:

1. Always be an advocate of temperance.  Play the game in moderation and make sure to keep your emotions under control. Some bookmakers offer no deposit bonus deals, which could be a good opportunity for playing without any risk. Choosing to play with no deposit  makes a lot of sense for anyone wanting to keep control over his game..Also, play in line with your financial capability. It's advisable to visit to get affordable betting options.

2. Be just and play fair. Make sure to follow all the rules and remember that everyone has an equal chance of winning. Also, keep in mind that gambling must not hinder a player from doing all his responsibilities to provide for himself and his family. He must also be able to pay all his duties like debts and the like.

3. Make sure to be cautious with getting addicted to gambling because of producing quick and big money. You must not use any money that is allotted for your livelihood and more importantly, those to be used to support your family.

Gambling is harmless and not intrinsically evil, but once a person develops greed and becomes addicted to it, it can be something very destructing to a person's heart and soul. Through the guiding principle of the Bible, a person can prevent the negative effects that gambling has. Remember that "people who want to be rich fall into sorts of temptations and traps. They will be caught by foolish and harmful desires that will drag them down and destroy them." (1 Timothy 6:9)

Source - Byo24news