There are almost an endless number of ways to view gambling and playing casino games through a religious lens. As with many topics in religion, there is no such thing as one absolute religious opinion on gambling and whether or not God says we may do it or not – it’s all a matter of interpretation and opinion. Here are a few prominent religions and how each of these belief systems view the practise of casino gambling and playing the pokies.
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Christianity on real money pokies
If you read up on what different organisations and religious figures think about gambling, you will find a vast mix of different things, but there does seem to be one main idea resonating through religious thoughts on gambling.
For Christian writers discussing whether playing pokies machines is a sin or not the most popular chain of thought is that, no the bible does not explicitly say pokies, casino card games or other forms of gambling are directly a sin – but they are set on identifying why these activities are sinful using broader quotes.
For example, one Christian writer said that although gambling wasn’t specifically identified as a sin, gambling as we know it today wasn’t existent in Jesus’ time and many of the behaviours that are associated with gambling activities fall right into the list of sinful categories.
Other Christian bloggers on the Internet seem to take the standpoint that Christians shouldn’t live in extravagance, so it might be okay to spend a little money gambling, but they advise that you don’t spend too much at the casino tables or on the pokies because this is too extravagant not to be sinful.
In conclusion, for Christians it seems playing pokies, and more broadly gambling, is not explicitly forbidden but it’s certainly discouraged, especially if you’re looking to play with lots of money. However, as said before, there is a huge array of different Christian opinions on the matter.
Scientology’s stance on slot machines
Scientology seems to take a firmer hand on things. Scientology discourages all activities that prevent you from spiritual advancement, and according to the Scientology Church virtually all addictive activities fall under this category. Scientology has a particular focus on drug addiction but it also dissuades against gambling with the thinking that it could distract you from improving upon yourself.
Buddhism also does not condone gambling, even though it mightn’t explicitly forbid it. One of the main principles in Buddhism is the ‘Middle Way’ which discourages you from any form of extremism. Therefore, serious gambling would be frowned upon if you were a Buddhist, however perhaps casually playing the pokies would be considered okay.
In Buddhist scriptures, Buddha noted that there were six different sins associated with gambling. So it’s safe to say Buddhism doesn’t view playing on the pokies favourably.
Islam is yet another religion that doesn’t condone pokies playing. In fact, in the Quran it says it’s forbidden to bet on the outcome or profit on the outcome of a chess game. Having said that, it is not forbidden in Islam for competing players in a sport to back themselves. In an archery tournament, it wouldn’t be frowned upon for competing players to place bets with other archers, saying that they will win.
According to the Quran, this is because it improves a warrior’s capability. Technically though Islam forbids gambling games even if there isn’t a wager placed on them. So, playing pokies for free would still be a prohibited activity.