Gambling and Religion – Is Gambling a Sin?

David

Gambling has become legalized in many countries nowadays and people love spending their time playing their favorite games and enjoying themselves with this fun activity. However, we don’t often think about the moral implications of gambling and what religion has to say about it, which is especially important for religious people. Therefore, let’s look at the five biggest religions in our world today and their standpoints on gambling. 

Christianity and gambling

There are  2.2 billion Christians in the world, and you would think that all of them follow the same rules and teachings. However, Christianity is a complex religion in some ways, and whether gambling is allowed or frowned upon depends mostly on whether you belong to the Orthodox Church, Protestantism, or the Roman Catholic Church. Catholics are the most tolerant when it comes to gambling, so you will often see the Catholic Church using bingo or lottery in order to raise money. However, the Orthodox Church and Protestantism do not have a good relationship with games of chance and that is because it is believed that gambling is the first sign of greed as it involves gaining something at the expense of others.   

Islam and gambling

Islam, the youngest of today’s biggest religions and the second-largest, has a very clear standpoint when it comes to religion. The founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad, condemned every form of gambling. In some sacred texts, gambling is described as Satan’s way of installing hatred, greed, and enmity between people in order to take them away from God. Just like in Christianity, gambling is seen as taking something at the expense of others, which is equal to stealing and can very easily lead to addiction which is detrimental to society and the well-being of people. 

Judaism and gambling

When it comes to gambling and any form of games of chance, Judaism follows the same practices as Islam. Gambling is seen as sinful and similar to stealing. It has the potential to ruin a family and friendships and therefore destroy the core of the society, which should always be protected. However, in some instances gambling can produce something valuable for the whole community, so it is used, for example, to raise money for charity. Since everybody is winning in that situation it is not seen as stealing. What’s more, during Hanukkah, many Jews can be seen playing ‘dreidel’ which is a game that involves some sort of gambling. 

Hinduism and gambling

Generally, Hinduism does not support gambling, but it should be noted that this is not the case with all Hindus. This is because Hinduism does not have a single authoritative scripture and there are different beliefs and teachings among Hindus. The concept of ‘sin’ is very closely connected to ‘karma’, which is the belief that if you do good, good will come back to you. According to this, if you are not living morally, you will have to amend your mistakes in your next life. Therefore, whether gambling is allowed or not depends on which exact group you belong to and how ascetic are the practices you live by.  In some more lenient groups, it is possible to find morality in gambling. 

Buddhism and gambling

Buddhism has the most opposite relationship with gambling than all of the religions we’ve discussed previously. Gambling is seldom used for charity, but recreational gambling is completely allowed. As long as it is done for fun and enjoyment, it does not bring any negative consequences. The only bad form of gambling that is considered a sin is when it turns into addiction, which is something all people should avoid. Addiction destroys the person’s well-being and happiness, as well as his relationship with this community and faith. 

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