Friday, October 23, 2009

Is Gambling a Sin?

This article in First Things was like a slap in the face. I've not thought much about the dangers of gambling, even though there's a huge riverboat casino just 15 miles away.

So, is gambling sinful?

A 1996 CTCR document lists these dangers of gambling:
1. Gambling encourages the sins of greed and covetousness.
2. Gambling promotes mismanagement of possessions entrusted to us by God.
3. Gambling undermines absolute reliance on God for His provision.
4. Gambling works at cross purposes with a commitment to productive work.
5. Gambling is a potentially addictive behavior.
6. Gambling threatens the welfare of our neighbor and militates against the common good.

The first point is the best. While not inherently sinful, gambling is often (usually) done from sinful motives. The desire to have more money is greed. Malcontent with what's yours and the desire for more is covetousness. Those are explicitly sinful. So is being a poor steward of the money God has given you.

Maura Casey's article in First Things really opened my eyes to how addictive gambling is and how the gambling industry preys on people. So, what should the church's response be? How do we minister to those trapped in this addiction?

1 comment:

JS said...

A pastor once told me "gambling is robbery by mutual consent."

I've had people ask me if gambling is o.k. if its done for recreation. Their argument is that if they go see a cruddy movie, they've wasted that money as well. Gambling is sin, no doubt. But perhaps our view of "entertainment" needs reworking as well.