Is gambling acceptable for Christians? part 2

Last month here on the blog, Chris asked whether or not Christians can gamble in good conscience. Not addictive gambling, but “casual” gambling—the occasional lottery ticket, friendly wagers, and the like. Many of you offered some great comments on the topic.

Well, at the Pyromanacs blog, Phil Johnson is posting an exhaustive and thoughtful series of essays arguing that gambling is not appropriate for Christians (link goes to the opening post in the series). His posts, and the very lively comments that follow them, approach the issue from a lot of angles that hadn’t even occurred to me. Whether or not you agree with Johnson’s conclusion, it will prompt you to think through all of the spiritual and ethical issues surrounding gambling, and that seems a healthy mental exercise.

13 Responses to “Is gambling acceptable for Christians? part 2”

  • Chris says:

    “lively” is an understatement! It’s an interesting conversation going on there, well worth checking out.

  • Mike says:

    Spirited yes. Lots of heat, but not much light. Shared ignorance, using and abusing Bible passages to prooftext an unwinnable arguement. For every argument against there is an equally compelling counter for.

    In the final analysis, it comes to a condemation of the excesses, whether that’s drinking, gambling at cards or stocks, or 5,000 calories a day. Whether I put $50 a month in the stock market, on the card table, or into the cash register at Starbucks, it’s still cash not in the plate at church.

    In short, there is no definitive Biblical prohibition against gambling. No matter how much you want there to be.

    • Michael says:

      I’ve heard responses like this a million times – “the excesses.” This is not what Jesus was about. Jesus came in black & white with no gray areas. Either you are or you’re not, hot or cold, for Him or against Him. What you should stop and ask yourself is why am I involved in this other stuff anyway? Why don’t I fully put God first and serve Him the way Jesus did (in flesh) and so showed us how to do so. After all a Christ-ian is a Christ follower and we are to strive to be like Christ. Point blank — Are you just a little homosexual? (Read 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 {effiminate means homosexual]) So why would you want to be just a little bit of a drunkard, or an idolitar, or reviler, etc… or even a gambler? Would Jesus be there with you gambling by your side, or would he have walked in with you and went to try to save somebody’s soul and leave with them as they GIVE THEIR LIFE TO HIM?

  • John Taylor says:

    Although there is no Biblical mandate against gambling, it all boils down to where your heart is. Is it with the things and practices of this world–living for riches and money, or is your heart with the Kingdom–not of this world, where the main principle and law, is that of love–living to help and serve others, as was so beautifully demonstrated by the King of the Real Kingdom when He left it all to be one with us and serve us.

  • Is it towards life or death, trusting God or chance? What would Jesus do could you see him gambling? The Romans did but Jesus didnt.

  • Edwin says:

    Gambling itself is not a sin, but what make a difference is your mind. If you put gambling ahead of Kingdom of God, then it really is against God’s word. Gambling is not necessarily always concerning about money. By definition it means wagering something in value on an event of uncertain outcome. In short word, wagering anything valuables in a game of chance.

    Whether you realize it or not, everyday we always gamble. Whenever we do something where the outcome is not 100% sure, that means we playing the game of chance(gamble). For example myself, I used to be a courier. I was given an industrial area where a lot of big trucks wandering around. One day, I was looking at notice board in my depot one of my colleague(courier driver also) had died because of accident. He had been working there for 15 years, he was a very experience driver, yet he died on the road.
    This come to my realization that I can die anytime on the road, while working in industrial area just make it worse.
    This is what I wager during my job: My own life and body. And there is a chance where I can win or lose that wager. Although in this case I can increase my chance of winning by increasing my awareness and driving safely. But remember, I will still have a chance to get an accident. It won’t be 100% safe, EVER.

    And we do this all the time, driving to work(accident), going on the bus(bomb), riding in a plane(kaboom), swimming on the beach(shark), walking home(mugged), eating pork(heart attack), drinking coke(diabetes), russian roulette(die!), and many more.

    Conclusion is, it all boils down to where your heart is =). This is my attitude towards gambling especially money. I do gamble sometimes, but I’m fine when I’m not gambling. Even if i don’t gamble in 1 month, 1 year, or 10 years, I’m fine with it. But, when I’m in holiday, in vegas, have free time, have extra money that i can lose, why not? Just have fun. If I win, good, if i lose, so what? My mind is not attached to casino,if God call me in the middle of roulette spin, I will go.

    Sometimes whatever we should do is not only black & white. Sometimes it is just colorless. This is where our brain step in to think and looking at perspective. e.g. there was no car in Jesus’ time nor when bible was written. How do you justify driving a chunk of materials created by scientific methods? Jesus was walking and riding donkey, no car.

  • June says:

    I agree that gambling is basically just ‘taking a chance’..but Edwin, your job and a lotto scratch off do not compare…God actually INSTRUCTS us to WORK..therefore, we work in FAITH…and God blesses the work of our hands, and the word says “if you dont work , you dont eat” so this is not chance…this is a guarantee…The Bible also says, ‘whatever is not of FAITH is of SIN”…so I believe that by doing as God has instructed you and onthers of us, going to work, we are acting in faith and will be blessed no matter what happens around us..but if we are scratching of tickets and going to the casino’s this is NOT something that God has instructed us to do, therefore THAT is the chance we are taking…and God’s hand won’t be on that, whether you actually win or not…Can you honestly say you are acting in Faith by playing the lotto or going to the casino? No, so then it’s sin… and it’s hope, but not the kind that God condone’s…but a worldy type of hope or wishful thinking that we are told not to do….

  • Raul says:

    For the love of money is the root of all evil. Hense what do gamblers do? Try to get rich quick and in the process, loose all that’s dear to them. Seek the kingdom of God FIRST and everything else shall be added unto you. Isn’t the Lord your provider, why wager what the Lord has already bless you with. Does greed come nto play because you have a little more left over. Give it charity where they can feed hungry children or better yet buy shoes for those kids that don’t have any. Where your heart is, is where your treasure is also. World evangelism is also option give to those who have scrificed everything to spread the gospel all over the world.

    • winter says:

      I feel as if I’m an exception to what you said. I feel gambling is ok because i don’t see it as a matter of greed, but rather a matter of entertainment. I enjoy table games, roulette especially for some reason. I don’t play to win I play to play. And most of the time I lose, but I had fun doing it.

      • Follow the money my brother. There are two ways you could gamble.
        1. You place bets at a gambling facility and you win some or you lose some or both. When you lose money where does it go? To what uses is it put? When you win money where does it come from? Are your winnings someone else’s misfortunes? When you win are you filled with the Spirit and praising God for your blessings?
        2. You gamble with a private group. If you win, whose money are you taking home? Did that person need that money to pay bills? If you lose, what could you have done with the money that might have been better for God and your fellow men? If you lost money but it is no big deal it was only recreational could you have felt better by giving the money to Haiti relief through your church missions?
        I am not picking on anyone. I am only asking some questions. I did not even use scriptures to prove my point but let me say there is really only one scripture that applies here. Do you love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul and do you love your neighbor as yourself?

  • Alexis says:

    Shultz… the Spirit in me agrees with your questions.

    The other night a group of us from church got together to hang out, and it was there that a friend told us to bring a roll of quarters. The money was for gambling. My husband and I didn’t bring any quarters, just ourselves :) But later that night my husband and I had an argument because I rolled once… I didn’t think there was a problem.

    But time and prayer showed me that something is not right in gambling. Even though it was in “fun”, where was our head at during that game? I know that if we took a roll of quarters, that would have been a roll we would have needed!

    What Im getting at is this: Our focus has become rather “limp”. Paul exsorts us to pray and stay watchful. It does all boil down to the scripture, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul”
    The Spirit within you should resunate what the Truth is, so get God’s Word into you!!

  • Mark says:

    The question is, should Christians gamble? Well, what is a “Christian”?

    We can get into semantics and bring up all sorts of things about what it means to be “Christ-like”, yet the word Christ, itself, means to be anointed. And as the book of Acts teaches, before they were called Christians, they were disciples, which basically means student. But what does this have to do with gambling?

    Well, if a church pastor or minister tells their congregation to pay their tithes and that they will be blessed because of their tithing. Isn’t this the same as a gambling? Not to undermind the act of tithing, but the context in which tithing is preached does have the same premise as gambling.

    The truth about tithing is, however, that it is not a payment or suppose to be uttered as such. Tithing is a gift. An act of kindness and of faith. And tithing doesn’t always require the use of money. For whatsoever you are able to lose, you are also able to tithe. This includes clothing that have not been worn or not used, to food that is wasted, to every thing that you put aside and discard, including time. If you tithe what you lose, you will always have what you keep and nothing will go to waste. This is how you continue to be blessed.

    Yet, as far as the exercise of gambling is concern, Christians should not consider spiritual things with ungodly intentions. Christ taught us that we should render the things of God unto God and premit the things of man unto man. So, the question now becomes, are you gambling your spirit or are you gambling your money? Which of these do you understand to have true value? Then render that which you are able to save and lose that which you are able to give away. For the question, in itself, is a gamble.

    • tommy b says:

      I am a card player.this is a skill golf is if you play well you get PAID. for the record i love god,and have accepted Jesus as my lord and savior.and im still human and i am growing in faith and understanding. i don’t play house games at the casino nor do i like them or desire them strictly cards not for chance,for competition and make money,sense of accomplishment from winning i enjoy the ride down and win or lose i enjoy the ride home god loves me no matter what.
      peace to all who read this and may the god of your understanding be as good to you as the god of my understanding has been to me.
      Tommy B. Leo minster,mass