religion - Am I a good Christian?
a fact that religion in general is one of the most fierce
opponent of gambling. It was only a matter of time before
religious groups began attacking online gambling, as well, so to
take a stance against everything gambling. And it remains a
mind-boggling why are religious officials always against
gambling, considering the church-style bingo has been around for
generations and millions of believers visit the casinos every
year to gamble. Are you a bad Christian for going to a casino
and gamble $100 at the dollar-slots? Some religious officials do
believe you will go to Hell for gambling, although nowhere in
the Bible gambling has been explicitly described as sin. So what
exactly is the angle against gambling in religion?
I am by no means an expert in religious
teachings, but there are plenty of pastors who at some point
have attempted to explain why gambling will send you to Hell.
For example, Hershael W. York, Pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church
and Victor and Louise Lester Professor of Christian Preaching at
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary says the following
about gambling: "God’s way is that we should earn what we
get." on his blog article harshly titled "Gambling is a sin"
Pastor York could correct me if I'm wrong, but the way I see
these words is "taking a risk with your money is not considered
earning". So how would Pastor York explain the insurance
business? In its simplicity, an auto insurance is simply a bet
whether you'll get into an accident or not. The insurance agents
don't drive in front of your car, steering other motorists away
from you, no, they simply assess the risk and wager money on it.
Does your homeowners insurance company send people to watch your
house and prevent a possible fire? No, they simply bet that
there will be no fire. Is anyone involved in an insurance
business automatically a sinner? I hope not (although I know
plenty of people who would beg to differ). How about if you find
oil in your back yard (and assume the government doesn't claim
it)? Do you become a sinner automatically because you did not
actually earned the money, but simply got lucky?
And last example - as a retirement plan
you buy stock in a company in which you have never worked.
Thirty years later the value of the stock is 10 times higher.
Are you a sinner? You worked for the money to buy the stock, but
you did nothing to earn the difference, other people worked an
you simply made profit on their hard work, why shouldn't this be
a sin? You just bet that a company would increase in value in
thirty years, simple as that. Some people, including Pastor York
would say that investing is based on win/win scenario, but I say
it's based on lose/lose, as well. If the company loses - you
also lose, so we have two losers and no winners. In most cases
there is nothing you can do to influence to outcome of
investing, rather you "bet" your money that the outcome will be
a win/win and not lose/lose. In a nutshell, investing in most
cases, is a win/lose scenario - you will either win or lose, but
you can not influence to outcome.
"Gambling is motivated by greed."
Not entirely true. State lotteries are a form of gambling
motivated by greed - you buy your Powerball ticket hoping to win
the million-dollar jackpot. But casino gambling is different.
While the aspect of winning while playing blackjack is there, a
big part of the gamblers play for entertainment, some play to
win (not money, but the feeling of victory itself) and
unfortunately some gamblers play to lose. My personal belief is
that most people gamble for the pure enjoyment of feeling
victorious and the financial side of it is just an extra. But
even if we assume that all gambling is motivated by greed, why
the words "In God we trust" on the money? Money is the "business
card" of greed and yet the name of God appears on them. How
about commerce? Commerce is 99% motivated by greed a trader will
by goods for $1 and sell them for $2 in order to turn profit.
And every company wants to make bigger profit, i.e. they are
driven by greed. What makes the greed in gambling different than
the greed in commerce?
And my personal "favorite" at the end -
"Gambling fails to consider innocent families." To which
I say, it's not gambling that fails to consider innocent
families, is the people who take it too far while gambling.
Pastor York says "We might be tempted to think that if a
person gambles away all of his money, then that is his problem
and serves him right. But what of his ten-year-old son who can’t
afford school supplies? What of his wife who has to work to pay
off the credit cards she didn’t even know she had?" If I go
to a casino and spend $100 of my disposable income at the
blackjack table, am I a sinner because the man who sat on my
chair before me lost his lifesaving? It's a sin to leave your
family hungry, but it doesn't matter how you do it. Pastor York
justifies investing as a win/win scenario, but how would he
explain this win/win situation to the thousands of Enron
investors who left their families hungry and without a dime at
an old age?
Pastor York says: "Can you picture
Jesus sitting at a slot machine with a cup full of quarters?"
The point of this article - I cannot imagine Jesus sending me to
Hell if I do.
Article written by Andy Boyd, Editor,