Is It a Sin to Play the Lottery: A Look at Three Major Religions

Play the lottery

The question of whether the lottery is a sin or not is one that many religious folk, such as myself, would probably rather not even find out. What you don’t know won’t hurt you right? But as religious people, it is our duty to understand whether our lotto addictions are affecting our relationships with our master.

Here’s a look at three major religions and their view on playing the lottery:

Should Christians Play the Lottery?

Unfortunately – or maybe fortunately if you’re a Christian and lotto addict – the Bible doesn’t state anything that directly relates to playing the lottery being a sin. While there are multiple passages that point to the pursuit of money as a sin, there is nothing that absolutely declares playing the lottery as a sin.

Playing the lottery, however, can be a sin from certain perspectives. The Bible has a few passages that relate directly to the pursuit of gaining money ‘quickly’ and without work. Proverbs 13:11 says, ‘Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gains little by little will increase it.’

In this passage we see more of a warning than anything else. Ironically, this actually falls in line with many lottery stories of the past where lottery winners had it all and lost it in a flash.

1 Timothy: 6:10 says that, ‘For the love of money is the root of all evils.’ It goes on to say that the craving of money has driven many people away from the faith.

From this perspective, it’s really more about what the lottery does to a person beyond the actual payment of one or two bucks for a shot at millions. If it is consistently a way for you to satisfy your craving for more and more money, then yes, it can and probably should be considered a sin for you to play the lottery. But, on the other hand, if playing the lottery means nothing more to you than a little entertainment a couple of times a week, then it’s safe to say that you’re in the clear.

Should Muslims Play the Lottery?

The Islamic religion, unlike Christianity, is extremely clear about the views of the religion towards playing the lottery. Islam clearly states that gambling is haram. By the way, if you’re confused about what haram means it simply means sinful.

Islam clearly states that any form of gambling is a major sin and should be avoided.

Surat Ma’idah 5:90,91 says, “O who you believe! Intoxicants and gambling and idols and (lottery by) arrows are an abomination of Satan’s work, so avoid them so that you may get salvation. Satan’s only desire is to create among you enmity and hatred by means of intoxicants and gambling and stop you from praying and remembering Allah. Will you not then stop?”

There’s really not much to say here. Playing the lottery is plain and simply a major sin within the Islamic religion. Even selling lottery tickets or owning a storefront that participates in any type of gambling opportunities is also considered a major sin.

Should People of the Jewish Faith Play the Lottery?

Judaism is fairly vague about whether playing the lottery is a sin or not. There is a view within Judiasm that winning the lottery is similar to committing theft, being that the winner is taking money from the people who lost. The Jewish tradition has always been about working hard to gain opportunity and wealth as opposed to being lucky.

Judaism is similar to Christianity in the fact that the question of whether playing the lottery is a sin or not comes down to one’s perspective on the issue. There are ways that you can spin different things and passages to make playing the lottery acceptable, but at the same time there are ways to spin it in the opposite direction.

This once again comes down to what it leads to. If it turns into an obsession, then you’re pushing sin. If, however, you’re completely in control of the habit and it’s nothing more than simple entertainment, then you’re in the clear.

It seems that the main focus here is where playing the lottery can lead you. If playing the lottery is something that you control and you play sparingly then there is nothing to say that it’s simply a little entertainment similar to buying a movie or going to a concert. If, however, you’re addicted to the lottery and the pursuit of money that comes with it, then you may be leading yourself on a path towards sin and away from the faith associated with your religion.

As for Muslims, it seems like it is pretty clear that they are to stay far, far away from the lottery!

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