Sentence Sermons (Christian Inspiration) #110 --- Gambling
Quotations on Gambling (Set No. 2)
Gambling makes its appeal in the form of a dare to the adventurous, and even to the courageous in man. It is an appeal to that instinct out of which has been born pioneers, discoverers and heroes. The justification of any risk or adventure must be found in the motive or cause for which it is made. Certainly all risk and adventure is not wrong. To banish this human instinct from men would be to stop all progress in the world.
But the appeal to risk in a mere game too often disguises the lure to the sacrifice of obligations to others, and the betrayal of sacred trusts. It has too often concealed a feverish desire simply to win. A desire which takes its gains from friends, which jeopardizes well-laid plans for the future on the turn of a card, stakes the support of the family upon the chance of a color, or throws honor upon the table on the call of a number.
I am convinced, too, that the appeal of artificial intoxication to nine-tenths of those who indulge in it, is primarily an appeal to "let go." Throw off for the moment all sense of responsibility. In many it is the effort to recover the spirit and impulses of youth. Of course, the appeal is false because the emotions and ecstasies are the results of artificial stimulation, and seen afterwards in the light of sober reality, they were only the senile stimulations of the natural exuberance of youth. And could men see clearly the danger of losing even temporarily their sense of responsibility–responsibility for clear thinking and sacred obligations–they would not yield to the indulgence.
—M. Ashby Jones, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Oct. 3, 1943.
One of the commandments which is being transgressed more and more, especially in our country, is the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal." We are not thinking of coarse transgressions of this commandment, of robbery, larceny, fliching, embezzlement and the like--but of another form, considered by some men and even some churches as harmless; a form of stealing which has become so commonplace that some have become hardened to it, some have become indifferent and many others confused.
That form of theft is gambling, gaming, lotteries, games of chance. We are aware of the fact that many countries have legalized gambling. We know also that every such country is poor, desperately poor. The argument that people will gamble anyway--that the evil can't be eradicated, and that for this reason the government may as well make it legitimate and collect a revenue in taxes--just is not true. Experience proves that where people deliberately flout the laws of God, also the commandment, "Thou Shalt Not Steal," they must pay the penalty.
There are three ways to get the property of another person--buy it, accept it as a gift or steal it. Buying and selling are rational acts and understood. The giving and accepting of property is likewise understood. Not so with stealing. The willful conversion of the property of another, whether by stealth or violence, is condemned and punished.
Even gambling for big stakes is considered wrong by the average person. The law will not enforce contracts of chance; it leaves the parties in their original positions. Aleatory contracts are void in law, but because some churchmen maintain that a little gambling is not wrong, some people believe it, and others are confused.
To argue that a little gambling is not wrong is as illogical as to argue that a little idolatry is not wrong or a little adultery is not wrong. Such is not the construction of the commandments of our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount. The underlying sin of all forms of gambling is cupidity, covetousness, desiring to get the neighbor's property for nothing.
One form of stealing, though, is condoned, one exception is allowed by many--gambling. Here the social mind is confused, and the ethical and legal status of the act of gambling varies widely from culture to culture, and even within a cultural group. Here in America the act of gambling is considered to be both ethical and unethical, both legal and illegal.
To appreciate that gambling is but another form of theft, let us look at it briefly from the angle of intention and outcome. In theft the basic intention is to take property--not to purchase or accept as a gift. In gambling (aside from compulsive or narcotic gambling) the basic motive is to take property. Therefore, from the standpoint of intention, stealing and gambling are out of the same cloth.
When the act of theft has been successful, the property of one person is in the possession of another. When the act of gambling has been consummated, property has changed hands. Both gambling and stealing are concerned with property and its transfer. The one may yield a modicum of pleasure or excitement, but basically they are the same.
We see, therefore, that gambling is just another form of stealing. Stealing is perpetuated or permitted under the form of gambling because the social mind is ambivalent concerning the ethical and legal status of this act.
Why, then, is gambling not considered a form of theft, since it implements the same motive and achieves the same results? There are many reasons. We shall mention a few. The one is the element of consent. It obscured the real reason of the act. In all other forms of theft the element of consent is lacking. One party to the act is the aggressor, the other the reluctant victim.
Not so in gambling. Here the two parties to the act mutually consent to participate in the act. It changes the form, or structure, of the act, without altering in any way either intention or outcome.
Another factor is the element of chance. In stealing, it's true, the thief takes a chance, but the chance relates to the hazard the aggressor assumes in executing the act. In gambling the element of chance is basic to the structure and dynamics of the act. The result is that the gambler thinks: "The fault it mine." That does not make it right.
A third reason why society does not identify gambling with theft is that the act of gambling has many forms. In some the relationship of gambling is face to face; in other forms the relationships are annonymous and impersonal.
The latter forms are highly favored by syndicates for harvesting the small change of the masses. In poker we have a classical form. In bingo a form so badly deformed and compressed that many jurists have ruled it entertainment only. No wonder people are confused. But the commandments stands: "Thou Shalt Not Steal."
The final punch. Some people try to justify certain gambling because the profits go to the church. On the basis of such reasoning I would be justified in breaking into and entering a home or an office and stealing as long as I gave the proceeds to the church or some good cause. It all amounts to the same thing, stealing. God says, "Thou Shalt Not Steal."
—W.A. Gerdes, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Aug. 17, 1957.
Gambling unsettles the characters and lives of men. The essential idea of gambling is to get something for nothing on the chance falling of the cards or dice (except as one may be so skilled that the element of chance is eliminated altogether, and then there is absolute thievery). Who needs to witness the game to know how closely its every feature is watched. There may be studied effort to keep from showing excitement, but excitement is nevertheless in the blood. There may be experienced gamblers whose pulse beats calmly. But how is it with the novice? races, his blood burns. If he is a winner, so much the worse for him. If a loser, he wonders why he didn't stop before; he thinks how it might have been different. He thinks how old foggyish are the old ways of getting money. He wants to make money fast--to make in a single night more than he can make in his legitimate calling in a week or month. There is nothing more demoralizing to habits of industry and economy than this. If there was nothing more to charge against the evil of gambling that alone is sufficient to condemn it. No man can afford to put himself under its demoralizing influences, its feverish excitement.
Gambling is the purposed robbing of one's fellows. It is the intent to get something that belongs to another without the giving of an equivalent in return. The merchant gives you an equivalent for your money; the farmer gives the products of his toil for your money; the mechanic the result of his skill and labor. The gambler alone purposes to get your money for nothing. Some may say that he runs the risk of losing what he has. That is true, but so does the thief who runs his hand in your pocket or the burglar who breaks into your house. They run the risk of losing even their lives. Wherein is the difference between the gambler and the thief? The end in view is the getting of something for nothing. It maybe that he doesn't succeed; it may be that he loses--but the desire, the aim, is the same. But the man who succeeds, who habitually succeeds, who plays with unexperienced victims, letting him have success for a little while in order to achieve a more complete, a greater victory in the end--no man more richly deserves to have the brand of thief and robber placed upon him than this man.
Gambling is a nightly destroyer of man's happiness. There is none too much of it in this world. But here are men gambling: money heaped upon the table, possibly representing the hard-earned wages of weeks, possibly the proceeds of household goods pawned or sold, of clothes pawned, of the things which wife and children need for their sustenance; and here it is, staked on the hazard of cards or dice. How important is it to him who loses. Is it any wonder that he rises from the table with haggard face and staggers out? What need we wonder that it ends again and again in death?
Gambling destroys the nobler and more generous impulses of man. Dependent for gains upon the losses of others, studying to bring about those losses, one who engages in it cannot help but become hardened, calloused, with reference to others. ...
I should have known better, but I once expressed surprise that gamblers should get any satisfaction out of their gains, knowing of the misery of those who lost. One who knew better replied that such thoughts did not trouble the gamblers--that they got used to it. ...
Gambling is naturally associated with all other of the various vices. They go hand in hand with it. Drunkenness is the natural outcome of the excitement of the game. There may be gamblers who have a natural aversion for drink or who abstain, knowing it is necessary to keep a steady nerve and a clear brain; but they are the exceptions. The gambling house and the drinking house almost invariably are together; they go hand in hand. It may be said that there are gamblers free from the social evil. There may be, but it is nevertheless the fact that gambling houses and bawdy houses belong together.
—J.L. Robertson, Galveston Daily News, Galveston, Texas, March 7, 1898.
William E. Biederwolf said, "Gambling bears the same relation to robbery that dueling does to murder. One man will meet another in a dark alley and take his life at the end of a pistol, and you call it murder; two men will meet each other in an alley and agree to shoot each other until one or both fall dead, and you can that dueling. But the only difference is that in the first case there is one murderer, and in the second case there are two. One man will meet another in a dark alley and take his money at the end of a pistol, and you call that robbery; two men will meet each other round a table and agree to take each other's money with dice or cards, and you call that gambling. The only difference is that in the first case there's one robbery, and in the second case there are two."
The Bible denounces the sin of getting money by sinful means. "Woe unto him that buildeth his by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbor's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work." (Jeremiah 22:13.) Gambling takes a man's wages and gives no service or equal value in goods.
The Bible further states, "Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his." (Habbakkuk 2:6.) If a man gives service or buys something with goods or money, he has a right to the article possessed; but in gambling, when a person wins, he "increaseth that which is not his."
Unless it is a gift, something gotten by other means than working for it or giving something for it is essentially stealing. The Bible says, "Let him that stole steal no more; But rather let him labour, working with His hands." (Ephesians 4:28.)
Gambling is based on idleness. ...
The fruits of gambling are: (1) Home wreckers. ... (2) Personal shame. Every habitual gambler, like the habitual drinker, never intended to be so, but it just got the best of him. Francis Bacon said, "A gamester, the greater master he is in his art, the worse man is he." (3) Loss of decency and jobs; prison and suicide. ...
Our nation was built by honesty, hard work, saving and free enterprise, not by cheating, depending on luck and getting rich quickly at someone else's loss. The early puritan and pilgrim fathers who colonized America on these principles attacked gambling. May we keep our land so!
—Cleveland Smith, The Daily Iberian, New Iberia, La., Dec. 1, 1956.
Gambling is the risking of something more or less valuable in the hope of winning more than you hazard. The instruments of gaming may differ, but the principle is the same. ...
Whatever you expect to get from your neighbor without offering an equivalent, in money, or time, or skill, is either the product of theft or gaming. ...
This sin works ruin, first, by providing an unhealthful stimulant. Excitement is pleasurable. ...
The gambler may be eaten up by the gambler's passion, yet you only discover it by the greed in hardness of his features, the nervous restlessness, the threadbare coat, and the embarrassed business.
The infernal spell is on him. A giant is aroused within; and though you bind him with cables, they would part like thread, and though you fasten him seven times around with chains, they would snap like rusted wire; and though you piled up in his path heaven-high Bibles, tracts and sermons, and on the top should set the cross of the Son of God, over them all the gambler would leap like a roe over the rocks, on his way to perdition. ...
Again, this sin works ruin by killing industry. A man used to reaping scores or hundreds of dollars from the gaming table will not be content with slow work. ... You never knew a confirmed gambler who was industrious. The men given to this vice spend their time, not actively employed, in the game, in idleness, or intoxication, or sleep, or in corrupting new victims. ...
Furthermore, sin is the source of dishonesty. The game of hazard is often a cheat. ...
Notice also the effect of this crime upon domestic happiness. It has sent its ruthless ploughshare through hundreds of families, until the wife sat in rags, and the sons grew up to the same infamous practices, or took a short cut to destruction across the murderer's scaffold. Home has lost all charms for the gambler. How tame are the children's caresses, and a wife's devotion to the gambler! How drearily the fire burns on the domestic hearth! There must be louder laughter, and something to win and something to lose; an excitement to drive the heart faster, fillip the blood and fire the imagination. No home, however bright, can keep back the gamester. The sweet call of love bounds back from his iron soul, and all endearments are consumed in the fire of his passion. The family Bible will go after all other treasures are lost, and if his crown in heaven were put into his hand he would cry: "Here goes; one more game, my boys. On this one throw I stake my crown of heaven." ...
Beware of the first beginnings! This road is a downgrade, and every instant increases the momentum. Launch not upon this treacherous set.
—Thomas DeWitt Talmage, The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky., April 4, 1898.
Chance is another name for superstition; the arch enemy of progress. It is ignorant and arrogant, cowardly and boastful. Its changing moods vary with its imaginary hopes and fears. Where chance rules, there is blood and horror, poverty and dismay, fear of the unknown and an “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” Advancement stops. If blind chance rules, what can man do? Belief in chance is the foster-mother of every dark age.
There is no chance! Law is the order of the universe. All events are threaded upon law. ... The law of cause and effect rules in human life. Does not human experience testify that thrift increases prosperity; that morality induces health; that prayer brings comfort; that trust in God gives assurance of happiness? Has any man yet failed to win strength from faith? Does not courage come from light which ever comes from the recognition of law?
The gospel of Jesus Christ is one of purpose and obedience to law. The plan of salvation is an orderly program laid out for the earth life of God’s children. Men are upon the earth not by chance but in conformity to the divine plan. Thus comes courage to live and to act. A universe of chance is horrible to the mind opened to the meaning of life. We may not understand every turn and twist of life–material or spiritual–but we know that the law of laws, the gospel, will bring order out of apparent confusion, and will lead man into joy and exaltation hereafter–if law is obeyed. The builders may make many a side step, take many an unnecessary step; idle away many a moment, be delayed by many a change in weather or human temper, but in the end, sooner or later, the architect’s plan and the builder’s purpose will stand realized, a product of law and order. The courage of eternity rests upon such faith.
Chance is hell; law is heaven!
—John A. Widtsoe, Millennial Star, Liverpool, England, April 25, 1929.
The gambler, to whichever class he may belong, cannot conscientiously repeat the portion of the Lord's prayer which says, "Give us our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11), for he is taking the bread out of the mouths of his brothers. He is enriching himself by the impoverishment of somebody else. How can he pray, "give us," when he is planning and conniving to take the bread from his brother?
When we pray, "give us," we should think of those who are in want, who are willing and anxious to work but cannot find employment; think of those who are suffering from famine or shipwreck and realize that we are all children of a common father and united together in the bonds of a common brotherhood.
—R.E. Williams, The Register and Leader, Des Moines, Iowa, May 23, 1910.
Gambling is like all other vices that I know, in that it is based on natural instincts. It is because these instincts have been turned from their right use and true end that they are evil. ... The man who is seeking for excitement in gambling will most certainly find it, but the excitement will overwhelm and ruin him morally and physically. ... The first evil about gambling is the moral weakness and physical strain which it entails. The second is that when the passion for gambling has taken hold of a man, it never leaves him. It is there. It is a stain that cannot be shaken off, and it weakens the moral fiber. It is more than mere transgression of the law. The third evil is that it is pure selfishness. ...
To stop this evil, ... we can begin to take an active, healthy object in life. There is the great salvation for men. Not merely trying to break this sin or that sin, this habit or that habit; but by trying to develop an active, healthy interest in life, to take the place of those habits. Life is not merely keeping from sin, but doing good. ... Fill your heart with some good and high purpose, some noble object that will employ your efforts. You may call it religious or philanthropic, or what you will; but in order to get evil out of your life, you have got to put something good in. ... Fill your heart and your life with things that are noble and uplifting, that can be of service to your fellowmen, and you will have the strength and power to fight the devil in you and around you and outside of you.
—Charles L. Wells, The Daily Picayune, New Orleans, La., April 20, 1903.
The waste of money is but one of the tragedies attached to gambling. For multitudes of people, gambling has a narcotic effect which leads them ever deeper into the degrading habit of seeking something for nothing. The compulsive gambler is as sick a personality as the compulsive drinker. Moreover, there is an unquestionable link between gambling and crime. ... A Brooklyn grand jury declared, "Gambling is the heartbeat of organized crime both on a local and national scale."
Is gambling too big and too vicious for us to fight with any hope of success? By no means! Here are some things you can do.
Refrain from participation in gambling. Reject the temptation to acquire something without paying for it. Get your excitement from some less dangerous and more constructive source. Throw every bit of your weight of influence against the extension of legalized gambling. ...
Gambling produces nothing for our economy and adds nothing valuable to our society. Refuse to go along with the crowd if they catch this something-for-nothing fever. Really, gambling is not so much getting something for nothing as it is getting nothing for something. It deserves no place in our way of life.
As we seek to gain insight into this matter of gambling, let us heed the warning given by Jesus Christ, "Take heed, and beware of covetousness."
—Foy Valentine, The Beam, Fort Worth, Texas, September 1964.
The rise of the gambling spirit indicates a basic break in public morale. There is a lack of confidence in the orderly processes of life and a lack of willingness to work for them. Too many people are scheming to get by instead of struggling to get ahead. Looking for the short cuts to fortune, they fail to build the straight and narrow ways that lead to life.
The most insidious feature of the gambling spirit is its progressive demoralization of character. It is like a habit-forming drug. Each effort to get something for nothing leaves the person looking for another chance. When we count on chance in lieu of law and labor, we undermine our healthy attitudes toward our work, our fellowmen and our God.
If we are to curb this growing propensity for gambling, we must do more than pass laws against lotteries and padlock the places of commercialized gambling. We must get our thinking back to the basic laws of compensation. It may seem like a counsel of perfection to say that the solid satisfactions must be shown to come from the creation of values rather than from the winning of profits. Yet such is the teaching of the Hebrew law and the Christian gospels. And there is not much hope of checking our acquisitive instincts unless we cultivate our creative desires and powers.
—Ralph W. Sockman, New York Times, New York, N.Y., June 6, 1938.
The auxiliaries of the devil's carnival on earth are gambling, drunkenness and licentiousness. There is a tripartite relation existing between them, and the man who pays his devoirs at the altar of either buys his ticket of admission at the devil's booth and passes out upon the devil's highway. This thoroughfare is not a difficult one to find; it seems to have alluring attractions for all, both young and old. This highway is reached through the card-room, the wine-room and through earth's vanity fare. At these devil's booths he who seeks entrance is surrounded with the brilliancy of electricity, with flowers in profusion, with glittering promises of long life, happiness and prosperity. These are the portals looking into which the end cannot be seen from the beginning. Everything seems to wear regalia of brilliancy and bewitchingness. The unsuspected are allured, coaxed, persuaded, urged and finally entrapped and ensnared. Few enter upon the highway of their own choice from natural or inherited depravity, but a great majority are innocent victims who, were it not for the fact that ... by law these various booths of the devil [were permitted] to be erected and maintained by authority of law in almost every city throughout the world, would have never become entrapped and ensnared.
—John W. Springer, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Dec. 10, 1894.
The essence of gambling is to get something without giving value in return. Is that working with God? Jesus worked. Paul labored, likewise all of the disciples. And they labored with God--constructive for human betterment.
As so in work do men find themselves, and only so, do they enjoy the real blessings of life. Contentment comes through the joy of creating and expressing one's self in some sort of work. Anything that I am ashamed to stamp my name upon degrades me and robs society. ... Discontent arises from idleness, yes, from poor work, unuseful labor, gambling and unearned privilege.
—R.E. Smith, The Shreveport Times, Shreveport, La., Oct. 21, 1929.
Gambling is motivated by greed for gain. It encourages selfishness and contributes to a growing callousness toward the interests of others. Gambling produces absolutely no economic value for society, and those who do win do so at the expense of others. ...
The compulsive gambler is a slave. His gambling may have started as fun. It may have been like a cobweb at first, but now it binds him like a cable. ... Anytime gambling is legalized it is encouraged. This, in turn, produces more and more compulsive gamblers. Gambling has always produced human wreckage with which society must deal. ...
Let us remember that gambling is a parasite upon society. It takes from that which others have produced. It creates no new wealth; it is in no sense productive. Let us remember that gambling establishes a whole new set of values. In place of service, legal order, and worth it embraces selfishness, chance, and luck. To legalize gambling is almost like legalizing irresponsibility.
—C.W. Scudder, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, March 3, 1965.
The expensive thing in life is not righteousness; it is sin. The prodigal son started away from home with money and without character. This is a bad combination. Many men are damning their souls hoarding up money and their sons are going to damn their souls spending it. The average man, who starts life with character and without money will wind up with both; and the man who starts out without character and with the money will end with neither.
—Charles C. Selecman, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Feb. 5, 1923.
"Thou shalt not steal." (Exodus 20: 15.) Gambling is essentially stealing. Gambling really comes under the eighth law of the Decalogue. At the bottom gambling is stealing. It may be stealing by mutual consent. But it is stealing all the same. A lucky gambler is morally a thief. That is an ugly word, but it is a true word. If theft means taking what is another's without rendering him a satisfactory equivalent, then it makes no difference from the moral point of view whether one takes it by force or by exploiting another's recklessness or simplicity.
—Henry Alford Porter, Christian Index, Atlanta, Ga., Oct. 30, 1924.
Gambling is a deep-seated passion in the human heart, and as old as humanity itself. No cult is more ancient than the worship of the great god of Chance. ...
The important question is the bad effects of gambling on social and industrial life. As to its effect on industrial life experts agree that gambling saps the spirit of industry and leads to a growth of petty dishonesties. ... An increase in gambling inevitably results in an increase of dishonesty. ... If people are not impressed by the argument that gambling is an evil thing because it sometimes means getting something for nothing, perhaps they might be reached by the face that gambling usually means getting nothing for something, and that something may be the most valuable possession a person has--honor and character.
As to the effects of gambling on personal and social relations, it coarsens our social life and deadens our finer sensibilities. ... Gambling undoubtedly tends to deaden the sensibilities to the finer quality of personal relations, and given a free rein it tends to social disintegration. ...
The gambling, or better, the risk-taking spirit is something not to be repressed but to be redeemed. Repression is no good. The fighting spirit is not to be repressed but elevated from war to contending for human welfare. The fiery temper is not to be repressed but directed to worthy ends. So with the gambling spirit. There is nothing wrong about a willingness to take chances, to make risky ventures. It all depends on how it is directed. It may be transformed into faith, a faith ... that "bets one's life" there is a God and a Christ who can save, a faith that will burn its boats behind it and take risks and endure hardships for the welfare of others. That is the spirit Jesus had in mind when He said, "He that would save his life shall lose it, but he that would lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall find it." (Mark 8:35.)
—Henry Alford Porter, Christian Index, Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 31, 1936.
Gambling is morally wrong. Covetousness is the motor which propels the entire gambling enterprise, and the victimizing of the weak by the strong has been the inevitable result. Gambling is morally wrong because it is personally and socially destructive, because it undermines the vital doctrine of work, because it perverts family life, because it often leads to other evils, because it tends to become addictive, and because it provides the payroll for a fantastic and sinister underworld which is a cancer in the body of our nation. ...
Let us reject gambling as contrary to the spirit of the Bible. It contradicts the law of love for God and neighbor. It contradicts the primacy of the spiritual and enthrones the material. It undermines the biblical doctrines of stewardship and honest work. It destroys worship of the God and Creator of us all and substitutes the worship of fate, chance and luck.
—Ross Coggins, quoted in The Louisiana Methodist, Little Rock, Ark., Sept. 24, 1964.
All gambling is a sin in the sight of God and is condemned in the revealed Word of God. ... How can a young man be soberminded if engaged in gambling?
How can any man who gambles be honest? How can he face the judgment? How can a city be a clean, Christian city, if it legalizes and encourages a dishonest and villainous scheme which demoralizes and ruins men? These are questions we must answer. ...
If the devil ever had a hand in anything in the world, he certainly has in this God-daring, God-denying business of bringing these abominable establishments of infamy for the purpose of entrapping and damning our young men and boys. ...
How very inconsistent for our lawmakers to enact immoral laws and to license places of vice and crime, and then punish their victims for violation of law! Men are sent to the penitentiary for stealing when they have been the very institutions which are operated by the laws of the city. ...
What audacious inconsistency! What can we expect with the enactment of such unrighteous laws?
—A.R. Holderby, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., March 17, 1902.
Gambling is a sin; it's a moral issue. It's not just a social issue; it's a moral issue. Whenever you covet somebody else's dollar, then you are a sinner. If you covet another man's dollar and when you put yours down to win in these slot machines and these other things you do, you are not trying to serve God. You are trying to serve self. You are trying to get something that you don't have to work for. You are trying to get something that's given to you free, and that's the attitude of the sinner to have his own way. ... Have you stopped and studied what God's word says about gambling? Do you let the Holy Ghost guide and lead you? Do you pray and say, "Lord, is it all right for me to back these things up? Is it all right for me to endorse these things?" Well, certainly not, according to God's word. You have a guide to go by and that's the word of God.
—J.B. Kimball, The Faith Broadcast, Merryville, La., Dec. 18, 1996.
Gambling activity produces nothing. On the contrary, the effect of indulgence in this form of amusement is to destroy the finer sense of moral discrimination, to cultivate selfishness, idleness, ignorance and thoughtlessness. These are the sources of moral degeneracy, the direct opposite of the qualities that make for character–sympathy, industry, intelligence and thoughtfulness.
—Milton Bennion, Relief Society Magazine, Salt Lake City, Utah, February 1922.
Christians do not seek "luck," but the justice and mercy of God. The "lucky pieces" and other talismans of the habitual gambler speak to the Christian of the paganism and superstition that are so closely connected with the "something for nothing" cult. Christians do not purpose profiting by another's losses or his ignorance. And even in small matters, those who follow Jesus want to set an example that makes it easier and more natural for others to be honest, thrifty, useful in work, fair in sports and home and life and business.
—Beth H. Davis, The Baptist Training Union Magazine, Nashville, Tenn., October 1944.
Gamblers are dissatisfied people. They have failed to build a philosophy of contentment. The gambler owns a restless soul, and his very search for peace destroys his peace, unsettles his character, brings black despair upon his soul. Gambling never satisfies, but always whets his appetite. It is a psychological incitant, which gives no relief. ... He is numbered among the most cruel, merciless men in the world because in his heart burns the gambling fever. This searing fire purges his soul of honor and humanity. When he gains he does so only by a fellowman's loss. ...
Gambling is evil because it feeds upon the evil it grows upon. It always multiplies in a society where gold is god. ...
To love God and our neighbor is to look upward and live outward, but the impulses of gambling are downward and inward.
—A.C. Lawton, Baptist Message, Shreveport, La., March 15, 1945.
Every form of gambling is accompanied with more or less risk to the financial standing and moral character of him who engages in it. It is not honest commerce. It is not clean money. It renders no equivalent for what it takes. The design of all gambling is to enable one person to secure another's property without giving him value for it. One can come lawfully into the possession of what belongs to another in two ways--by gift or by purchase. Gambling is neither. You say there is a mutual agreement between gamblers. I say that makes no difference whatever. No agreement among any number of persons can make cheating and stealing honest and lawful. You may agree all you please, but you cannot make profanity and Sabbath-breaking and adultery and false witness and murder right. The essential character of what is condemned and forbidden by the great God cannot be altered by any voluntary agreement. ...
Men are being carried away by the fascination which attends gambling, and they and their families are being ruined. Better have less money and get it honestly than to have more and get it by a process the courts of some states declare to be gambling. ...
You sometimes find gentlemen of intelligence and culture defending this gambling business. ... It is a startling truth of psychology, and of the word of God, that men often substitute for conscience another voice; not true, but lying. ... Woe, woe to the immortal soul that accepts the suggestions of Satan for the unerring voice of the eternal God. Does the outraged conscience take vengeance by paralyzing their very intelligence? St. Paul shows a deep knowledge of the psychology of willfulness in thus describing the abominable lives of his contemporaries. "Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, he gave them over to a reprobate mind" (Romans 1:28), literally, "to a mind void of judgment."
With this gambling mania so prevalent and growing so rapidly, you cannot too early and too firmly take the right stand. Don't be duped by the perilous glitter of this vice. When the passion gets deeply rooted it can hardly be eradicated. Beware of this witching basilisk. Keep your moral sense against evil in healthy life. Have a bright, true manhood. Away forever with all that looks and leans toward gambling. Learn, as every true man has learned long ago, that integrity and uprightness, honesty, work are the only safe paths to true success.
—J.E. Wray, The Daily Picayune, New Orleans, La., March 27, 1905.
I do not believe that any church is ever justified in permitting or encouraging any form of gambling for any purpose‑‑that to do so is to engage in a practice forbidden by the law of God‑‑that money thus raised is received by the church on a fundamentally wrong principle‑‑that the people in the church and outside the church are encouraged to discount the true basis of stewardship.
‑‑‑Louie D. Newton, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 12, 1936.
Gambling is playing a game of hazard for property. The stake is not, however, the real hazard. The real hazard is man’s usefulness, man’s character.
—Ernest Wray Oneal, Aurora Daily Express, Aurora, Ill., Jan. 21, 1921.
In the Ten Commandments, God strongly prohibits covetousness and dishonesty. You take greed and deception out of gambling and there would be no gambling.
-‑‑Robert S. Magee, Baptist Message, Alexandria, La., May 29, 1986.
In his book, The Rediscovery of Man, Dr. Henry C. Link asks the question how America can delude herself into believing she has social security when the equivalent or more than the equivalent paid for social security of the worker is every hear being lost through gambling.
It is probably fair to say that nothing under heaven decimates the life of a nation so completely as does the gambling spirit. Every country held in the grasp of this vice is a backward country. People who entertain the idea that it is possible to make a country prosperous by licensing gambling and taxing the receipts are indulging in the economic fallacy that it is possible to make a country prosperous by stealing from the many to enrich the few. Herbert Spencer said that gambling is a gain without merit; gain through the loss of another. “This kind of action,” he declared, “is therefore essential anti-social, sears the sympathies, cultivates a hard egotism, and so produces a general deterioration of character.”
The vice is becoming epidemic in many circles, among the poor as well as among the rich. The situation calls for drastic action. It is one of the most dangerous of those enemies boring from within to the destruction of our life as a people. Gambling undermines all that is noblest and purest both in the character of the individual and the character of the nation.
---Earl L. Douglass, The Daily Times, Beaver, Pa., Oct. 31, 1938.
Gambling is a risk of something more or less valuable, in the hope of winning more at a hazard. The interests of gambling may differ, but the principles are the same. The shuffling of cards and dealing them out is not gambling, unless there are stakes put up; while, on the other hand, gambling may be carried on with dice, cards, billiards, or the faro bank or the ten-pin alley. The man who bets on a horse, elections, or battle, who deals in fancy stocks, conducts business upon a false capital, goes into an operation without funds, or depends upon a moment of good luck, is a gambler. And whatever is taken from your neighbor without a corresponding equivalent in time, money, or skill, or product, is a theft, or gambling.
Do not, therefore, associate gambling necessarily with any instrument, the game, or time, or place, or think that the principle demands anything of that character. But what is in view, or the object at stake upon the chances of the game, whether it be a single glass of wine, whether it is played by billiards, faro, roulette, or dependent upon the result of a battle or election, it is gambling. It is a receiving of something which, when not offered gratuitously as a gift, does not return a corresponding equivalent. This sin is no newborn spirit, but a laggard distortion through many centuries. All nations have become addicted to it. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are daily lost and won, and then won and lost, through gambling. The games themselves are no positive sin. In the abstract, a pack of cards are productive of no more evil than a pack of envelopes; but in the use of gambling and these evil games, they become significant and infinite in wretchedness.
Anything that first gratifies by excitement, or excites to a degree having an evil effect on the mind and the body, should be shunned, These, in gambling, with all its phases we have, and their practices, none should follow. Every gaming table is ornamented; on one side sit ecstasy, enthusiasm, frenzy, joy; on the other side sit wretchedness and disappointment. The keepers of the house are generally, fat, rollicking, and sleek. The thorough gambler, in none cases out of ten, not only sweeps off the stakes from before the tremulous player, but we sweeps his soul and his life away, and forever.
In these modern days, in addition to the other forms, gambling has come to be a thoroughly organized, and sometimes legalized, lottery. There are multitudes of people who despise the ordinary lottery, but who have been thoroughly deceived by the same iniquity under a more attractive nomenclature.
---Thomas DeWitt Talmage, The Evening Telegraph, Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 4, 1867.
If it can be shown that gambling violates principles of Scripture, it is not innocent regardless of how entertaining it may be. Fornication is highly entertaining to the whoremonger, but it is never justified! It can be demonstrated that, far from being a social benefactor to society, gambling is a curse upon any nation. It robs the home, feeds crime, and contributes only pittance of the revenue that a sound program of taxation would insure. But even if it provided an abundance of national wealth, it is never right to "do evil that good may abound." (Romans 3:8.)
Occasionally, someone who is inclined to be defensive of gambling will naively ask, "Where does the Bible say, 'Thou shalt not gamble?'" Such a disposition ignores the Scriptural approach to human problems. While the Bible does issue commands, both positive and negative, it is also a volume of principles by which our moral and religious lives are to be directed. The Bible would have to be inconceivably massive to catalog every sin and evil intention that the perverted minds of men have contrived. Accordingly, gambling is a gross violation of fundamental spiritual truths.
Gambling violates the Christian's obligation of faithful stewardship, 1 Peter 4:10. Since all belongs to God, no person has the right to abuse the benevolence of God and foolishly involve himself in risking or gambling away that which belongs to his Maker.
The gambler operates according to the rule which suggests that "might makes right;" if one is thus able to secure his neighbor's possession by means of skill or chance, that is just the loser's tough luck! Such disposition makes havoc of injunctions as "Love thy neighbor as thyself," and "love worketh no ill to his neighbor" (Romans 13:10) even though that neighbor, through weakness, might consent. Biblical morality requires that a man seek not his own, but rather his neighbor's welfare.
Gambling promotes laziness and quenches the desire for honest work. Someone has well said that the Bible promises no loaves to the loafers! God's warning to the ablebodied is: "if any will not work, neither let him eat." (2 Thessalonians 3:10.) The gambler, however, seeks to obtain that which another has worked for, and at no cost to himself.
‑‑‑David Holland, Beauregard Daily News, DeRidder, La., July 9, 1993.
The only gambling tip which amounts to anything is to keep out of the game.
---E.W. “Ed” Howe, Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kan., Jan. 3, 1918.
Gambling is being willing to risk money with the idea of taking someone else's without earning it. Gambling is risking to see who steals from whom.
—Lynn P. Clayton, Baptist Message, Alexandria, La., Jan. 9, 1986.