Thou Shalt Not Gamble (Part 1)
If you do a quick internet search on what the Bible says about gambling, inevitably the first line of the article will read something to the effect of, “The Bible does not specifically forbid gambling.” The logical conclusion is that since the Bible doesn’t expressly forbid it, it must not be wrong. To this strain of logic I would like to point out that the Bible does not forbid you from sticking your face to a hot stove eye. Others would contend that the Bible not only fails to forbid gambling, it fails even to mention it. To them I would say that the Bible also fails to mention car bombs, internet pornography, and walruses. Just because the Bible does not mention something by name does not mean it is ignorant of the subject, that it is by default right, or that the God has nothing to say to the issue in question.
Though the Bible does not use the word “gambling” to speak of a game of chance like a lottery, a slot machine, or a poker night, does not mean it has nothing to say about it. Furthermore, just because the Bible does not expressly forbid it in plain text such as, “Thou shalt not gamble”, does not mean God is not plainly against it. Every expression of gambling whether it be slots, card games for money, betting on sports, bingo, lotteries, or raffles goes against everything the Bible plainly says about honesty, love of neighbor, material stewardship, the way one should trust God for provision, and the proper work ethic. So in the endeavor to point out what the Bible does not plainly say, let us not fail to point a finger at what the Bible plainly does.
1. We should be honest, truthful, and forthright. The gaming industry is careful to paint a veneer that it is all of these things, but it is none of these things. It is full of corruption and greed. The table is “stacked” against you. Statistically gamers rarely win. The house never loses. The gambling industry and their games are full of empty promises and lies. It is the world’s biggest cover up. Instead of searching for what the Bible does not say about gambling, why not search for what it DOES say about honesty, integrity, and truth. (Proverbs 12:22, Proverbs 11:1, Proverbs 20:10, Exodus 20:16, Philippians 4:8, Psalm 15:1-5). If the gambling industry practiced these principles there would be no gambling industry. Casinos CANNOT live out what the Bible says and exist as they are. Hence, because of what the Bible teaches about honesty, it speaks resoundingly against gambling.[i]
2. We should love our neighbor as ourselves. Do you like to lose? When it comes to gambling no one wins without someone losing. Losing a football game is one thing. Becoming a winner at the monetary expense of another is something else entirely. The only thing the gambling industry loves about people is the fact that poor people want to get rich quick and that rich fools are soon parted from their money. The business ethic of love is fair trade. Gambling is not even a fair game much less a fair trade. Instead of searching for what the Bible does not say about gambling, why not search for what it DOES say about love (Romans 13:10, Galatians 5:22, 1 Timothy 1:5, Matthew 19:19, 1 Corinthians 16:14, 1 John 4:21, Leviticus 19:18, 1 Peter 4:8). If the gambling industry practiced these principles there would be no gambling industry. Casinos CANNOT live out what the Bible says and exist as they are. Hence, because of what the Bible teaches about loving your neighbor (your fellow man), it speaks resoundingly against gambling.
3. To be continued. . .
[i] In making this statement I am not writing primarily to the gaming industry. I am not naïve enough to believe it is an industry interested in anything the Bible has to say. In fact, I would contend that they are more intelligent than my primary audience on this subject. The gambling industry wants to quickly dismiss the Bible from any social debate on gambling. They, and the politicians who support them, know that Scripture stands against them. Sadly, I am writing to nominal Christians who gamble and those of any stripe who try to justify gambling from the silence of Scripture, politicians included. The Bible is not silent on the topic.