Since the dawn of civilization, there have been unique relationships between the world’s various religions and the act of gambling.
While many religions don’t condone the activity, there are those that incorporate it into their spiritual practices.
Religion has long been used as a means to create and keep moral order in society.
In fact, there are plenty of religions that don’t seem to mind if someone gambles socially. But in some faiths, gambling addiction is looked down upon, and there are others that don’t approve of gambling whatsoever.
Here are five interesting facts about religion and gambling.
1 – Gambling Within Christian Beliefs
Throughout the Bible and its many versions, there has only been one known story in which Jesus visibly gets angry. This is when he saw gambling, smuggling, and bribery taking place in the house of God.
Other than this incident, there is not much said about gambling in the Bible, and Early Christianity did not approve of the activity whatsoever.
However, the Bible does talk about greed and how people should be content with what they have.
For centuries, gambling on fights has always been commonplace. People would gamble on humans fighting against other humans, humans against animals, and even animals against animals.
While sports gambling and horse racing wagers are still very much available, religious gambling looks a little bit different.
Until 1950, Lutherans were completely against gambling. Then, they adopted a more liberal view toward what are considered “games of chance.”
When I was growing up, I went to Catholic school. And every few months, the church would actually hold a “Casino Night” fundraiser.
All the parents gathered at the school’s gymnasium to play gambling games like bingo and blackjack in order to raise money. So, it’s safe to say they’ve grown lenient about the policy.
Meanwhile, the Orthodox Church does not condone gambling of any kind. They believe that it not only involves greed but selfishness as well.
They also believe it goes against the idea of helping each other and loving your neighbor as you do yourself.
2 – Hindus Believe Good Karma Is Responsible for Your Gambling Success
Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world. Hinduism also has several deities that attract their own devotees.
While some religions have an attitude of praying only for God’s will, Hinduism has different deities that help you achieve success in different areas of your life.
If you want true love, there is a god for that. If you want to be successful in your business endeavors, there is a god for that. If you want to be a successful gambler, there is a goddess for that.
The goddess of fortune and wealth is known as Lakshmi.
Lakshmi is known to be the wife of the god Vishnu. Vishnu is known as one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful god, in all of Hinduism. So, if you want the big bucks, you have to get in Lakshmi’s good graces.
Many mantras, prayers, and gifts can be offered to a statue of Lakshmi in one’s home or in a temple dedicated to the deity.
In Hinduism, there is also the concept of karma which exists in other religions such as Jainism and Buddhism. Karma and reincarnation are linked in all of these religions. If you have success in this life, it is probably because you did many good deeds in your previous life.
On the other hand, if you continue to lose all of your money at the casino, then perhaps you treated people very badly or even stole from them in your past life.
The concept of karma is very interesting and is often comparable to a bank.
In certain schools of Hinduism, good deeds create good karma points in the bank. Bad deeds create bad karma points in the bank. There is also the concept of burning all karma, both good and bad.
But if you are interested in staying on earth for a few lifetimes and gambling, then you probably don’t want to hear about burning karma, as that will get you out of the cycle of birth and death and back to heaven or nirvana.
Today, gambling is pretty much outlawed in India. However, there are ancient writings that suggest it was a popular pastime for older generations in India.
So, before your next trip to the casino, maybe you could try a few mantras to worship Lakshmi and see if your luck changes. It certainly couldn’t hurt!
3 –Betting on Camel or Horse Races Is Fine, According to Muhammad
Comparatively, Islam is a relatively new religion. It is similar to Christianity in that it contains the belief in only one true God.
Even though Islam is a newer religion, it has the second-most followers of any religion in the entire world. Islam is typically thought of as very strict, and this is surely the case when it comes to gambling.
Islam’s philosophy when it comes to gambling is very black and white. There are sinful activities and lawful activities. There is no in-between. Even games of chance are prohibited.
It is seen as very dishonorable to gain money by taking it from someone else.
However, according to some practitioners, Muhammad was fine with a couple of types of gambling.
He was alright with wagers being made on camel or horse racing, and he also condoned making wagers on arrow shooting. The reason for this is because these activities helped make Muslim armies stronger.
4 – Zuni Native Americans Prayed to Gods of War for Successful Gambling
One of the most well-known groups of Native Americans from New Mexico are the Zuni people. They had a great irrigation system and also domesticated animals like sheep.
The use of kachina dolls is an interesting aspect of Zuni spirituality. These dolls represented specific deities and were thought to have special powers.
As far as gambling is concerned, the eight gods of war were the experts in that area.
These gods of war were thought to be amazing gamblers themselves, so it makes sense that you would pray to them for success with your own gambling endeavors.
Each Zuni god has a different game associated with them.
5 – People in Southern Italy Looked to Purgatory for Gambling Assistance
This is not something that was backed by the church, however, people in Southern Italy have been known to pray to souls in purgatory for success in gambling.
There were also specific saints that were thought to be able to assist you in gambling.
This practice was extremely popular when it came to lottery games.
6 – Buddhism is Extremely Tolerant of Gambling
Buddhism can be seen as more of a philosophy than a religion. The aim of Buddhism is to alleviate suffering and help everyone move toward liberation or enlightenment.
So, there are certain activities that keep you in the web of desire and suffering, and there are those activities that move you away from desire and suffering.
The Buddha warned against addictive gambling, as it could make someone very irresponsible.
Recreation and habitual gambling seem to be fine when it comes to Buddhism. But when it becomes addictive, then it becomes a real problem and a threat toward the aims of Buddhist philosophy.
With so many religions existing throughout history, it is very interesting to look at each one’s view on the act of gambling.
Gambling is exciting but can become habit-forming for some individuals. Most religions usually agree that this addictive gambling is not good for the individual or society as a whole.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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