Many Christians choose to abstain from gambling for “religious” reasons. But what does the bible say about gambling?
Interestingly enough the bible does not specifically condemn gambling, betting, or the lottery. However there are several passages in the bible warning against the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10 and Hebrews 13.5) and “get rich quick” schemes (Proverbs 13:11; 23:5, and Ecclesiastes 5:10) both of which apply to gambling, betting, and the lottery.
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” -Matthew 6:24
So without expressly forbidding gambling, betting, or the lottery why are some Christians so adamant that this behavior is a sin? According to Pastor Roger Barrier in his column “Ask Roger,” people have to decide for themselves what their personal convictions lead them to believe. If buying a lottery ticket breaks your conscience, then it is a sin. Others have made claims regarding stewardship of the poor and how playing the lottery is not a wise use of money.
While there are several arguments for why Christians shouldn’t gamble, there are arguments for the opposite position among Christians as well. Catholics apply certain conditions on gambling to ensure that it isn’t illicit, therefore not a sin. Then there are more wild claims of people who have prayed about their financial issues, been “led” to buy a lottery ticket, and won. Or those who feel like gambling is a sin, but play anyway because of all the good they can do with the winnings.
In my personal experience, I’ve met people who are very religious who will gamble and others who won’t. I currently work with a person who would not participate in a fun game of poker bowling among coworkers for a small $2 bet, claiming the moral “high ground” of gambling being a sin. However, with the Powerball now climbing to $1.4 billion, is playing and has been for the last couple of drawings because its “just so much money” and “Jesus would understand.”
The hypocrisy of the religious never ceases to amaze me. While gambling, betting, and the lottery are a gray area for the religious because they are not expressly forbidden in the bible, some still choose to flaunt a fictitious moral high ground through refusing to partake in such activities. Unless the jackpot is “high enough” of course. And when you win, don’t forget Jesus’ 10%…that shit IS in the bible, so your ass better do it.