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Although religions are currently fading from view in most developed countries, other countries are experiencing the exact opposite and are quickly transforming into theocracies. But the modern world has many activities and conveniences which are available now that weren’t a big deal when these religions started. Therefore, you may be wondering, just what do different religions think about gambling? Keep reading to find out more.
Christianity is a monotheistic religion in which its followers generally follow the teachings of one God, and his son whom is called Jesus Christ. When Christians have questions about certain aspects of their religion, they reference a book called the Bible which contains the teachings of their God.
Surprisingly, the Christian Bible actually has very little to say about the pastime of gambling. Even though the practice did exist while the book was being written, it must have not been as prevalent of an activity as it is now, because there is almost no mention of it. In the books of the Bible which feature Jesus, he does teach quite a bit about money, and how his followers should use it. He emphasized that money was not the goal in life and that rather one should learn to love their neighbor as their ultimate desire. He did specify that every follower of the church should try to give 10% of what the earn to the church in something known as a tithe. Other than that, it seems followers of the Christian religion are free to gamble as they please.
The only notable exception to this is a certain sect of Christianity known as Methodist, as they believe that gambling fosters greed and leads to addition. They think that it should be illegal. But this is they church elders saying this and not the Bible, keep that in mind.
Islam, which was founded by prophet Muhammad in the 600’s, is currently one of the fastest growing religions in the world. Currently, there are some 1.6 billion of followers of the Islam faith, and they are referred to a Muslims. Muslims, like their Christian counterparts, also have a holy book which is called the Qur’an.
Apparently, gambling was much more of a concern for Muhammad and his prophets, as it is specifically referenced in the Qur’an. The Qur’an outlines a number of good deeds a Muslim must try to do, as well as several bad deeds which must be avoided. And gambling, well, it’s on the bad deed list. Muslims are prohibited from any form of gambling as the Qur’an outlines that gamblers make money which they are not entitled to. Guess this means there won’t be any flashy casinos built in Iraq anytime soon.
Prior to World War II, the continent of Europe was home to just over 9.5 million of the world’s 15.3 million Jews, which although this doesn’t sound impressive, when you consider that the world at the time only held about 2 billion people, well that’s a pretty prominent religion of the time. Especially when you look at the present day, where there are approximately 18 million Jews in a world population of over 7 billion people. The Jewish people have long been persecuted for their religion which is monotheistic like Christianity, but follows the teachings of a holy book known as the Torah, as well as a code of ethics known as the Talmud.
Similar to Christianity, gambling is simply not mentioned in the Torah. This is probably because people simply didn’t have time to gamble while they were trying to work instead on simply surviving in 5000 BCE. However, the Talmud does have a view of gambling, and it isn’t pretty. According to the Talmud, gambling is kind of like sin because you are taking money from someone else without permission. It also states that gambling doesn’t contribute to the community, which good Jews should do. But again, this isn’t the holy book of the Jews, just a moral code of ethics. In the words of a rabbi, gambling is simply “frowned-upon” in the Jewish religion. It’s up to you to decide how you feel from there.
Hinduism is the main religion in the country of India, and is practiced by 80% of the country—which is quite astounding when you realize India holds 1/7th of the world’s population within its borders! Hinduism is a polytheistic religion that focuses on followers doing good deeds in this life, in order to have good karma, or a better life, after they are reincarnated in the next life. Unlike the previous religions listed, there is no one holy text for Hinduism. Rather there is an entire library of texts a Hindu follower can read in order to be a better follower.
Since there is no one book to comment on whether gambling is good or bad, followers are generally left to consider themselves on if they should engage in the practice or not. Because Hinduism focuses heavily on charity, and gambling is considered taking money from others, it is generally considered bad karma to gamble. This means, most Hindus will avoid gambling unless they are doing it for charity of course.
Buddhism is a religion which was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, known as Buddha, sometime between the 4th and 6th centuries BCE. There are an estimated 500 million followers of the Buddhist religion today, most of which reside on the continent of Asia. Buddhism is the unique religion on the list, as there is no god, but its followers do read the teachings of Buddha when they have questions about what is moral.
Buddhism does not openly prohibit gambling. Instead, in one of his teachings, Buddha simply recommends against it, as it could bring suffering upon the individual who is partaking in the gambling. But Buddhism is a religion centering around becoming a better you, so like almost everything else in the religion, whether a Buddhist engages in the practice of gambling is up to them.
Of course, these aren’t the only religions in the world, just the ones which are most prevalent in society. But if you don’t see your religion here, and wonder whether or not it is okay for you to gamble, it’s probably best you speak with a higher up in your religion for further guidance.