Lottery and gambling have in the recent past been accepted under the law and have as well been legalized. In particular, gambling is a way though which one risks his or her property in order to gain something that he or she is uncertain. As a matter of fact, it depends on chance or fortune for one to play in the game and win. It is within the definitions of gambling and lottery as a form of gambling that Christian ethics shed its light. So to speak, the research has provided that lottery and gambling are sins that violate Christian values that are provided in the bible. It is within the paper that recommendations to get rid of this game and make it illegal in order to safeguard the poor in the society from deception and exploitation. Accordingly, the effects of the game in the social sphere, the spiritual realm and the economical sphere have been explored making provision as well as recommendation for Christians to be educated and taught the effects of the game along with the fact that it is a violation of the Christian ethics as well as its values. This is because it is deceptive and exploitative done on the basis of greediness of which God’s law has condemned.
To begin with, Gambling is a situation whereby individuals risk their property in order to get something uncertain. In addition to this, lottery is a form of gambling and is derived from the noun ‘lot’ which was discovered as early as the 15th century. In essence, lottery is gaining lots in which prizes are circulated among those who are purchasing the chance. Actually, everything is based on chance and no guarantee of winning that is given. Notably, gambling and lottery has been legalized in a number of states and the raising of funds has been used for several state functions. Historically, it is believed that gambling has existed in every society. Actually, it was used as a way of distributing property as early as the Roman time but in the fifteenth century it was largely adopted in Europe. The reason for the large scale adoption of lottery in Europe was basically economical. However, in the seventeenth century lotteries became so popular and attractive to many even though it raised a lot of questions among the Protestants.
On the other hand, Christian ethics are the moral standards that guide the day to day living of a Christian. In other words it is the biblical standard of living which is absolute in nature and all God fearing human beings must adhere to. Actually, all Christian ethics are based on love where one has an obligation of treating each other with concern. This paper will explore ethical issues on gambling and lottery. Apart from this, it will also discuss the findings on the educational needs of the church regarding gambling. Finally, it will provide the recommendations and conclusion as per the findings of the research.
This paper will use several reliable sources so as to come up with viable recommendations and conclusion concerning gambling and lottery from a Christianity point of view. For this reason, books and journals will be used as sources of information. Apart from this, reliable and resourceful websites will also be used to source out information. Moreover, the books, journals and websites that will be used will be provided in the reference page.
A lot has been researched about gambling and lottery in the past. According to the united church of Canada council, gambling is not biblical at all. Even though there is no direct touch concerning gambling in the bible, its motives and results are against the Christian ethics. This is because all Christian ethics are based on man’s love to God and man’s love to each other. In their research findings the united church of Canada council found out that all gambling and lottery activities are all led by greed and exploitation (1).
Apart from this, the council also found out that those countries which have legalized lotteries are bringing up irresponsible citizens who will continually avoid paying taxes. In the same line of thought, lotteries have also increased the oppression of the poor whereby many people participate in the game expecting to win but instead they are frustrated. Additionally, the council also found out that many Christians are making a lot of assumptions concerning lottery and gambling and what they need is a clear understanding of the gospel. In addition to this, Robert (2) in his study about gambling for the church of Evangelical Lutheran in America found out that Christians have mixed feelings concerning gambling.
According to his research, Robert (3) says that what Christians fear most is the legalization of gambling in states. In fact, he argues in his findings that every group he talked to admitted that gambling is a problem. In the evaluation of gambling by John Mark Ministries, it was also found out that gambling is not a moral way of earning a living. This is because wealth in form of money should be gained through exchange activities or in form of gifts. In addition to this, the evaluation also brings out clearly that gambling like robbery has been condemned globally even though other states are using it as a way of getting revenue. In the same line of thought, it was also found out that in the contemporary world gambling in the form of lottery is highly accepted as compared to the beginning of the 20th century.
Actually, in John mark’s ministry evaluation it was found out that some states like Australia argue that gambling is the best way to develop their country economically. Even though this is the case in Australia many people still admit that gambling has really frustrated their families. John’s ministries also found out that people waste their working hours gambling. For this reason, addicts in gambling games at some point may be frustrated and turn out to be robbers in order to try and compensate the properties that were lost. It therefore comes out clearly that gambling is an immoral way of earning a living due to the motives behind the practice which are up to making some people rich in expense of the others.
According to John’s ministry evaluation gambling can never be justified as long as greed is part and parcel of the game. Moreover, John’s ministry evaluation concluded that gambling is a sin because it is not an act of love towards ones neighbor as the bible requires all actions to be (4).
A lot has been found about gambling and lottery. First, gambling and lottery depend on chance and many a times people give out property or money in exchange for nothing. Secondly, gambling and lottery are based on greed whereby the shareholders of the lots sell their tickets so expensively and the recipient does not receive a token worth the cash. Thirdly, lotteries have been used by many states as a source of economical revenue which has been used to develop many projects including churches (5). It has also been found out that gambling and lottery are manipulative and exploitative in nature.
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Besides this, it has also been found out that many Protestants really doubted the truth and fairness behind gambling and lottery especially when many states in Europe and America legalized lottery. In fact, many families were found to have been destroyed by the act of gambling and lottery(6). In essence, gambling is addictive and it has made many people quit their jobs in order to spend all the time in lottery activities. In addition to this, gambling was also found to be a reason for the development of some irresponsible behavior like drug abuse and robbery.
In point of fact, those who are addicts of gambling suffer from gambling disorders(7). Outstandingly, the bible does not exactly touch directly on the issue of gambling but the fact of the matter is that gambling contradicts with the biblical standards of living. For this reason, the church today really needs to be taught a lot about gambling and lottery. In other words, the church need to be taught the biblical perception concerning lottery and gambling in order to get the reason as to why it is not biblical to gamble. In fact, it was found out that most Christians do not really understand the meaning and effects of gambling and lottery and that is why they are being involved in this activity. In essence, Christians need to know if gambling and lottery are sins or not.
The fact that gambling and lottery depend on chance risks a lot of property on the fortune that is uncertain. This is really a problem because it has made many people bankrupt and as a consequence they are living in very poor conditions. This is actually disappointing because they could have used their property to do some better investments which can benefit them in future. In fact, the failure to use the God given brain which is meant to help human beings reason in order to develop and make wise decisions will definitely be costly. As a matter of fact, gamblers are a disappointment to God since they are using immoral ways to gain wealth. In the same line of thought, gambling is basically based on greed whereby the owners of the lotteries sell their cards expensively in order to get bigger profits than what they give back to the winners.
The fact of the matter is that gambling and lottery are manipulative and exploitative in nature. It is through this that a good number of gamblers continue to be poor as others grow rich. Morally, greed is a vice which should be avoided by all means. In fact, love which is the basis for Christian living cannot be greedy because greed is so self-centered such that one in a position to treat others as it is required. Actually, it is this selfish idea of greed that will continually make gambling an abomination to Christians since they ought to live a Christ like life which is concerned with doing things out of love.
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Yes, it is true that the money that has been raised in countries using lottery has been used to do constructive work in those nations. This include; infrastructure, schools, hospitals and even churches. Nevertheless, all this developments are being done in expense of other people who have embraced poverty through gambling. The question is even if many schools are built in a state yet other people are poor how will they be helped? The assistance this people can get is minimal because most of them may not be able to pay the tuition fee that is required in school. Apart from this, gambling and lottery has also contributed to the breakage of many families(8) . This is because gamblers spend most of their time in lottery and forget to pay attention to the many needs of the family that are supposed to be attended to with all the concern required.
In fact, gambling does not rob the finances of families only but it also destroys the emotional cohesion that exists among family members. For example, if a husband in the house is involved in lottery games most of his concentration is channeled towards the game. As a result, the game of gambling replaces his social activities which he is supposed to share with his family. Following this, many divorce cases will continually arise in families which are involved in gambling activities. Lottery also makes people liars and the lies are extended to the family affairs in order to get an excuse of being involved in the gambling games.
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Moreover, lottery is very addictive in nature and once an individual begins to gamble it becomes so hard to come out of it. Essentially, those individuals who are so much addicted to gambling may end up developing a gambling disorder which comes up as a result of failing to appropriately make good use of finances (9). Most of the time gambling addiction is facilitated when an individual wins a fortune. This is because once an individual has won a fortune through gambling he/she is tempted to continue with the game.
Unquestionably, the events involved in winning a fortune in gambling does not require a lot of effort and that is why winners tend to misuse these finances . On the other hand, those who lose in the game at times are encouraged by the winners to try their luck since they can still get another chance to win. Following this, individuals end up using a lot of money in hospital bills in the effort of treating these gambling disorders. Along with this, lottery is also a contributing factor to some irresponsible behaviors like fraud, theft and forgery especially at this time when the legalization of lotteries is rising (10). These are immoral behaviors which are only adding to the destruction of an individual’s life rather than adding value to it.
Needless to say, some gamblers may opt to steal in order to get enough funds needed in the gambling games. In this case, it may not be hard for gamblers to rob other people’s properties since they are used to unfair treatment involved in lottery activities. In fact, addicts in gambling can even forge fake money in order to continue with the lottery games. So to speak, it is the mixture of these disorders involved in gambling together with immoral behaviors caused by it that make gamblers to be irresponsible in their daily lives activities. So to articulate, gambling and lottery activities contribute so much to suicidal cases. This is because in most cases when individuals lose in the game of gambling especially if they have paid a lot for the fortune they may be frustrated and end up terminating their own lives.
Principally, what the church needs to be taught is the effects of gambling in the society at large as well as its effects in the church as a community. In particular, Christians need to get well the biblical perspective of gambling and the reason why it should be considered as an immoral behavior. Even though the bible does not point out gambling directly it should be well known to Christians that it is not an act of love. In addition to this, gambling and lottery are acts of deceit which the bible condemns (11).
This is because honesty is a virtue which all Christians should practice in order to avoid deception. Fundamentally, these are some of the natures of gambling that Christians should look at in order to get the reason as to why lottery as a form of gambling is a sin. In fact, the bible condemns those who offer food offerings to the gods of fortune in order to obtain fine luck. Furthermore, the acts of gambling and lottery are against the Christian ethics principles which are meant to demonstrate how God values life. The other thing that makes gambling an unacceptable in Christianity is its direct involvement with activities of materialism where people have a great desire to get what others have with immediate effect. For this reason, people are involved with covetous activities which are against God’s commandments.
Notably, the poor are loved by God and it does not please him when they are maltreated by gambling games (12). Remarkably, even the government lotteries should not be used as a way of raising revenues because they are draining and manipulating citizens rather than protecting them economically as God intended it to be. Apart from this, gambling also makes people to stop working as God commanded man to do since the times of the Garden of Eden. It therefore comes out clearly that lottery and gambling activities are diverting God’s intention concerning work. In fact, the ethic of working in America is really declining at a very high rate due to the involvement of uncertain games. Therefore, anybody who is associated with Christ should avoid by all means any form of gambling. This is because of its violation of Christian ethics concerning work, honesty and stewardship.
In order to address the problems arising from gambling the following recommendations would be applicable. First, the governments which have legalized lotteries should get rid of them and invent other opportunities whereby citizens are allowed to invest their money knowing that there is something in return. For example, governments can give citizens loans which will be used in business activities which can guarantee some profit in return. In such a case, citizens of that economy will pay the loans with interest and therefore both the country and the individual benefit simultaneously.
Secondly, people need to be taught the side effects of gambling which are more severe compared to the benefits which come out of it. Classes concerning gambling should be held in schools in order to save the younger generation from the agony and frustrations involved in lottery. This can be done by government through the ministry of education which is responsible for making the schools syllabus.
Accordingly, people should be encouraged to participate in games which add up to their social life rather than demoralize them. In this case, the government and other well wishers organizations can collaborate so as to support the social activities like tennis, swinging and any other recreational involvements that can occupy people during their free time. However, as the government and other organizations support these activities the individuals should also take charge of their own lives by avoiding gambling activities.
As per the church, the leaders should continue to preach the gospel of truth as they try to let Christians understand how lottery is diminishing the value of the church (13). In fact, what the church should do is to make the teachings about gambling more available to as many people as possible. This can be achieved by printing papers and even creating websites that talk about the evils concerning gambling in order to make people reluctant in indulging themselves in issues concerning gambling.
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From a broader perspective, it can therefore be said that gambling is a vice and all activities including this game should be done away with. This is due to its diverse ill effects in the society. Some of these negative effects include divorce cases, theft, suicide and even pathological disorders. On the other hand, gambling contradicts with Christian ethics which are the Godly standards that God expects them to live.
In fact, the worst part of it is that it is associated with greedy and deceptive activities which are in actuality against the law of God. For this reason, gambling and lottery will continue to be sinful acts since nothing involved in them is based on love. Categorically, these are some of the activities that will continue to widen the gap between the rich and the poor. Finally, lottery activities bring a very lazy generation which does not honor God’s command concerning work.
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