Is Gambling unbiblical?

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Reformed Covenanter, Nov 9, 2007.

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  1. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    The difference here is that one can investigate the company that issues the stock and find out how it assesses its market, how its competitors assess their market and how the target company plans to set and meet its goals.
    In the same way one can compare the investment philosophies of mutual funds. Gaining knowledge of these things may enable someone to have better "odds" of sucess in the stock market (in a chance ruled universe that doesn't exist) than someone playing a game of calculating "odds" on the fly such as poker, but you won't prove it by me. A skilled poker player knowing the odds might invest some money to make more money for his or her retirement plan and do well at it while somebody who buys into the mutual fund du jour at the wrong time for the wrong reasons might lose his shirt. The moral problem that our hypothetically successful Christian poker player would have is that he is not giving eqivalent value for the money he is receiving and that would burden the conscience.
    On the other hand all investment helps keep a business afloat for at least the short run and the failed Christian investor can take some solace from the fact that his or her dollars have helped keep the wolf from a few doors for a while at least. I don't know whether investment losses are deductible from income for tax purposes down there below 49, or across the pond. If they are not, they should be.
  2. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    John M. Mason (ARP; then PCUSA minister, 1770-1829), has a piece on "lots" that I ran in the volume four Anthology of Presbyterian & Reformed Literature (NP: 1991). It is online in various forms; his whole works are online as well at the website for Dickinson College.
  3. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I should have given the title: Considerations on Lots. It is also online in html here.
  4. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    This is a wonderful article.:up:
  5. tcalbrecht

    tcalbrecht Puritan Board Junior

    The arguments against any form of gambling always seemed a bit talmudic to me. The phrase "wasteful gaming" in the WLC is obviously open to interpretation. Spending $50 a seat to attend a Division I college football game could be taken by some as a form a wasteful gaming. Saying that dropping 50 cents or $5 is a slot machine is always sinful appears to be going beyond what the Bible teaches on the subject.

    People who know without a doubt what constitutes "wasteful gaming" for everyone make me nervous.
  6. Jim Johnston

    Jim Johnston Puritan Board Sophomore

    It is unbiblical according to the Scriptures of II Opinions 3:17
  7. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor


    Nice answer.
  8. 3John2

    3John2 Puritan Board Freshman

    Daniel Negreanu plays Poker & he is a champion & claims to be a christian. I'm sure his church does not mind the $thou$and$ he gives them. Poker is actually more a game of skill than gambling from what I've seen & read. As for roulette I can see the other posters point. say someone bets on an even bet. Like red or black. If a black has not shown up for 7 spins the odds of that black NOT showing up are 170 to 1. Seems like a pretty safe bet. If you wait another spin it's then like 300+ to 1. I mention that because I remember being in Vegas & a young man kept going up to the roulette table about every hour & half or so & would plunk down $20 on a bet. He won all except 1 & he won that one back when he bet again after. He was betting every color than had not shown up on the 8th bet.
    Anyways very interesting discussion. I'm surprised no one mentioned the bingo games at the Catholic churches.
  9. tcalbrecht

    tcalbrecht Puritan Board Junior

    Spins of a roulette wheel or rolling of dice are independent events. The probability of getting a certain number or color is exactly the same from one spin to the next.

    In other words,, the probability of getting black following seven straight spins of red is still 1/2 (discounting the house advantage because of '0' or '00' on the wheel).

    Statistics of random events shows that over a large number of spins the number of red numbers should be roughly equal to the number of black numbers, but that knowledge does not help you with any individual spin or roll.

    Experience is deceiving. The young man in question was just as likely to lose every time given his behavior pattern.
  10. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Please look again at the WLC (8th Commandment being, you shall not steal) which Patrick quote and notice the bolded and underlined:

    Q142: What are the sins forbidden in the eighth commandment?
    A142: The sins forbidden in the eighth commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required,[1] are, theft,[2] robbery,[3] man-stealing,[4] and receiving anything that is stolen;[5] fraudulent dealing,[6] false weights and measures,[7] removing land marks,[8] injustice and unfaithfulness in contracts between man and man,[9] or in matters of trust;[10] oppression,[11] extortion,[12] usury,[13] bribery,[14] vexatious lawsuits,[15] unjust enclosures and depopulations;[16] engrossing commodities to enhance the price;[17] unlawful callings,[18] and all other unjust or sinful ways of taking or withholding from our neighbor what belongs to him, or of enriching ourselves;[19] covetousness;[20] inordinate prizing and affecting worldly goods;[21] distrustful and distracting cares and studies in getting, keeping, and using them;[22] envying at the prosperity of others;[23] as likewise idleness,[24] prodigality, wasteful gaming; and all other ways whereby we do unduly prejudice our own outward estate,[25] and defrauding ourselves of the due use and comfort of that estate which God hath given us.[26]

    1. James 2:15-16; I John 3:17
    2. Eph. 4:28; Psa. 42:10
    3. Psa. 62:10
    4. I Tim. 1:10
    5. Prov. 29:24; Psa. 1:18
    6. I Thess. 4:6
    7. Prov. 11:1; 20:10
    8. Deut. 19:14; Prov. 23:10
    9. Amos 8:5; Psa. 37:21
    10. Luke 16:10-12
    11. Ezek. 22:29; Lev. 25:17
    12. Matt. 23:25; Ezek. 22:12
    13. Psa. 15:5
    14. Job 15:34
    15. I Cor. 6:6-8; Prov. 3:29-30
    16. Isa. 5:8; Micah 2:2
    17. Prov. 11:26
    18. Acts 19:19, 24-25
    19. Job. 20:19; James 5:4; Prov. 21:6
    20. Luke 12:15
    21. I Tim. 6:5; Col. 3:2; Prov. 23:5; Psa. 42:10
    22. Matt. 6:25, 31, 34, Eccl. 5:12
    23. Psa. 37:1, 7; 73:3
    24. II Thess. 3:11; Prov. 18:9
    25. Prov. 21:17; 23:20-21; 28:19
    26. Eccl. 4:8; 6:2; I Tim. 5:8

    You may ask yourself is it possible to gamble, even with little amounts of money and not covet?
  11. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    Well certain methods of investing could be considered gambling, but buying mutual funds is doing something productive with your money. Just because something involves risk doesn't make it gambling.
  12. tcalbrecht

    tcalbrecht Puritan Board Junior

    The honest answer would be “yes, it is possible”. Coveting involves a desire for what belongs to someone else. E.g., it is not coveting to desire a new car. Coveting occurs when I desire my neighbor’s new car.

    Gambling is not inherently covetous. When a person gambles they are not, by definition, desiring their neighbor’s goods. The money in a slot machine is no different from the car on the showroom floor. They are not necessarily out to steal what lawfully belongs to their neighbor.

    The bolded and underlined sections in the WLC answer leaves much open for interpretation, esp. transposed from the 17th century. What is “inordinate prizing”? What is “wasteful gaming”? (Can I spend $50 on college football tickets? Can I buy season tickets for the local professional baseball team?) And I’m afraid the prooftexts do not help with the definition. They speak clearly to excess, as in the case of drunkenness, not to absolute abstinence.

    Gambling appears to be the focus of a modern temperance movement among Christians.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2007
  13. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Isn't the whole point in gambling to desire to win money that isn't yours? Isn't that coveting?
  14. natewood3

    natewood3 Puritan Board Freshman

    This is just a question: Is the desire to win, whether there is money involved or not, considered to be covetous?
  15. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    I would think not. Since I assume by win you mean to win a game or competition. To win at those things is to win something that someone else does not already have. To win the 2008 NFL Super Bowl is to win something that no one else has. To covet is to want something that belongs to someone else that is not yours. At least that is what it seems to be.
  16. tcalbrecht

    tcalbrecht Puritan Board Junior

    Not if I understand how the Bible uses the word. Otherwise you can substitute anything in place of the word "money" and it automatically becomes coveting. The car in the showroom is not mine, ergo, it is coveting to want that car.

    At the base of the word seems to be the idea of desire. In the case of Exodus 20 it indicates a desire for something which cannot be lawfully gained. I must steal my neighbor’s goods or commit adultery with his wife in order to possess them.

    But desire in and of itself is not a bad thing. The Greek word translated "covet" (epithumeo) is also used to express legitimate desire (1 Tim. 3:1). I would agree that if the desire overtakes a person to the point where they lose all self-control, then it is sinful, just as if the desire for drink causes them to become drunk.

    Not all gamblers desire riches, just as not all those who use alcohol desire to be drunk.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2007
  17. Matthias

    Matthias Puritan Board Junior

    There are many people who would argue that spending money in an amusement arcade is just as siunful as gambling :D
  18. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    And those people would be both silly and wrong.:2cents:
  19. Matthias

    Matthias Puritan Board Junior

    Maybe, or maybe they are just concerned about personal Holiness and being seperate from the worlds amusements...who knows :2cents: maybe im jus' bein' silly ;)
  20. Croghanite

    Croghanite Puritan Board Sophomore

    From Andrews post # 25
    I believe the underlined above statement is the core of the issue. Must we render an equivalent value in return for money earned?
    If you believe so, gambling is a sinful act.
  21. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    A very helpful, and well-balanced treatment of casting lots that I read recently is Hugh Martin's commentary on Jonah 1.7 (pp. 123-139 of his commentary).
  22. Bygracealone

    Bygracealone Puritan Board Sophomore

    It would seem nobody gambles under the impression that they're always going to lose 100% of their money 100% of the time, otherwise nobody would do it; there would be no allure. I simply don't think people would be willing to pay money just for the opportunity to lose it.

    However, when it comes spending money at the arcade, the movies, or a sporting event, the person paying the money is paying to receive something.

    And as was stated earlier, investments in the stock market are just that, they're investments; investments in companies. Such investments are in accordance with the sixth commandment in that we're helping our neighbor and hoping for him to prosper (see WLC). If the company is successful, there's a twofold blessing; our neighbor benefits and so do we. If he doesn't, we've still made an effort to help our fellow man/society, which is a good thing. Of course, I realize not everybody invests with this understanding; many people do approach investing like a gambler hoping to hit the big one, but one doesn't have to...

    Just some further musings on the subject.
  23. Hilasmos

    Hilasmos Puritan Board Freshman

    However, isn't life as a hole zero sum. If I invest in Toyota, and they succeed, what happens? It means that the GM plant shuts down in Michigan where I live and thousands of people lose their jobs, take pay cuts, with the final result that we, as a state, have one of the highest unemployment rates in the United States...

    Someone has to lose in reality, there are just lesser or greater degrees of social stigma attached.
  24. GenRev1611

    GenRev1611 Puritan Board Freshman

    This thread seems to have reached it's conclusion. Some have said that gambling is a sin because it's out of covetousness. But when one does it out of common recreation, it seems to be no different from going to the arcade. I for instance have played games and found myself in the top three best scores. It was quite a thrill to place my initials on the board. It rocks to win those things and was there any damage that came out of it? None, whatsoever. The only thing I coveted was to be on the #1 in points. In a gambling situation, it's precisely at that point where you really need to get a grip and ask yourself how much is too much? The thrill of any competition can lead to unrighteous covetousness. Especially when the green stuff rolls in. Weather one is drinking a beer or smoking a cigar, one has to determine his/her own limits. The Law of God illuminated by the Holy Spirit shows us when it's too much. No hedge around the Law can protect us from covetousness. That is simply Pharisaical philosophy.
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