What the Bible says about gamblingcomment (0)
October 28, 2010
By Pastor Gary Fenton
Dawson Memorial Baptist Church, Birmingham
Is gambling morally wrong since it is not specifically mentioned in the Bible?”
There are many specific issues that are not mentioned by name in the Bible, yet we know, in principle, they are morally wrong. The words “computer hacking,” “infringement of copyright” and “prescription drug addiction” are not mentioned by name in the Bible. However, when we look at the overarching biblical principles, we know they are wrong. Gambling is a similar issue.
• Gambling does not promote character; in fact, gambling actually diminishes character. Gambling, by its very nature, is based on chance. Character, however, always involves choice. We work to make a living and to benefit others (see Eph. 2:10 and 1 Pet. 1:13–16).
• Gambling disproportionately impacts the poor. It appeals to desperate people and entices needy people with the promise of reward without labor. To take advantage of the poor and to exploit the needy is strongly condemned in the Bible (see Prov. 22:16, Prov. 31:8–9 and the book of Amos). Also once the state makes gambling a source of income, your political leaders then have a vested interest in promoting gambling. The more money you lose, the more money they have to spend. Legalized gambling inevitably becomes state-encouraged gambling. The more citizens lose, the greater the need they have to gamble thus enabling addiction.
• Gambling violates the Golden Rule in that gambling requires that someone loses. Taking financial risk is not the same as gambling. When you risk capital to start a new company, your potential for success increases if your customer benefits from your product or service. At its best, capitalism is win–win. But in gambling, the more people lose and the more money they lose increases the amount of money you are likely to win. In a gambling economy, the more others fail, the better your chance is to succeed. In a healthy and growing economy, the more others succeed, the more likely you are to benefit and succeed.
• Gambling historically brings corruption, crime and addiction. Gambling has not been good for society. If we are serious about applying the teaching of Jesus regarding “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” it is difficult to imagine that we would endorse legalized gambling. Legalized gambling is legalized losing.
While it is accurate to say you cannot legislate morality, you can legislate behavior which is the very purpose of law. Keeping gambling illegal in our state does not force people to accept our moral values; it does limit the potential damage they can do to themselves, to others and to society in general.